AFTER A GRUELLING COUNT which went into a fourth day, Wicklow finally elected its five deputies within three hours of each other in the early hours of Tuesday. With the wind in their sails nationally it came as no surprise that Fine Gael took a 40 per cent share of the vote locally and returned three TDs, Andrew Doyle, Billy Timmins and 24-year-old Simon Harris.
The candidates took the first, second and third seat respectively which was a major coup for the party, and must surely give leader Enda Kenny pause for thought when he is dishing out senior positions.
Despite a swing to Labour, the Wicklow camp only barely increased their vote from 2007 despite running an additional candidate and between them they polled little more than a quota in the first count with Anne Ferris looking the most likely contender for a seat. There had been speculation that due to in-house fighting Labour were in danger of losing their seat if all three candidates received a first preference vote of around 4,000 each. However, it was not the case as Anne Ferris pulled clear of running mates Conal Kavanagh and Tom Fortune from the get-go. The election was a disaster for Fianna Fáil.
Sinn Féin's John Brady was one of the success stories although he failed to win the final seat losing out to Independent candidate Stephen Donnelly.
Beside Donnelly the only other Independent candidate to break through was Joe Behan but he didn't transfer well until the final few counts before his elimination. Fís Nua, the Green Party and the rest of the Independents failed to make any impact in the hunt for the five seats.