By John O’Mahony, KillarneyToday.com
WOW. And wow again. What an absolutely incredible personal performance by Michael Healy-Rae.
The charismatic Kerry Independent TD, a larger-than-life personality and an incredibly hard worker, has produced one of the biggest first preference votes in Irish political history.
He bulldozed his way to a quota busting performance with a truly astonishing 20,378 number one votes to breeze past the quota of 13,213 with over 7,000 votes to spare.
And even better for the Kilgarvan political family, his surplus will get his brother, Danny, elected on the second count with the remainder left to fight it out among themselves for the last three seats.
The big question, of course, is how many number one votes would Michael have earned if Danny hadn’t joined him on the ticket? Chances are Returning Officer, Padraig Burke and his staff, would have been faster weighing them that counting them.
John Brassil of Fianna Fail looks poised to take a seat at the first time of asking, outgoing Fine Gael TD Brendan Griffin will return to the Dáil and Martin Ferris of Sinn Fein should have enough in reserve to hold off veteran campaigner and outgoing Diaspora Minister Jimmy Deenihan whose 30-year political career looks to have met a sorry end in the same hall that witnessed the political demise of another former political superpower, John O’Donoghue.
The top ten in the official first count were:
Number of seats: 5
Healy-Rae, Michael (Ind) 20,378
Healy-Rae, Danny (Ind) 9,991
Griffin, Brendan (FG) 9,674
Ferris, Martin (SF) 9,458
Brassil, John (FF) 8,156
Deenihan, Jimmy (FG) 6,489
Spring, Arthur J (Lab) 4,813
Moriarty, Norma (FF) 4,348
O’Gorman, Michael (Ind) 1,236
Fitzgerald, Michael (GP) 1,011