Fate of Fianna Fáil clear from early on
Esther Hayden, Myles Buchanan, Deborah Coleman and Mary Fogarty report on the local candidates’ reactions to General Election 2011 LOUD CHEER GREETS ELIMINATION OF ROCHE
LESS THAN two hours into the tally on Saturday, and it was clear it was the beginning of the end for Fianna Fáil.
Outgoing Minister Dick Roche was faced with losing his seat although presumably he was facing it in the comfort of his own home as he was nowhere to be seen at the count centre on Saturday.
And arriving at the centre shortly after it opened at 10am on Sunday Dick said the election was ‘ as bad as it could get' for Fianna Fáil.
‘ Things are not looking great for Fianna Fáil right across the country, I mean it's been an astonishing election from the point of view of Fianna Fáil.
‘We were expecting a very, very bad hit and this is about as bad as it could get. In Wicklow the result was very disappointing I have to say, very disappointing because it wasn't that we failed to deliver.
‘We delivered big time in this constituency but when the tide is against you the tide is against you and that's it.
‘It was very obvious from day one that the mood of the elec- torate was to punish Fianna Fáil and they did punish Fianna Fáil very strongly.'
He was also very disappointed with his own personal vote having seen his vote go from 10,200 in 2007 to a disappointing 3,891 at the weekend.
‘Ah I was (disappointed) yeah, it was a very disappointing showing. Particularly as during the canvass we had put in an extraordinarily heavy canvass.'
Dick said he had made no decision about the future. ‘I have never been one to make instant decision and I need to sit back and think about where we are. I still have work to do in Europe as vice-president of the European Liberal Democratic Reform party.'
Although disappointed with the Fianna Fáil vote both nationally and in Wicklow, Dick said everyone had to accept some measure of blame.
‘Of course, yes, there is a collective responsibility and it would be an act of cowardice if you didn't accept we all had a role to play in that.
But when you are part of a team there is no point in blaming the captain, everybody has to accept their fair share of the blame but we do have fundamental problem with the way we communicate with the people and that's been showing through and has been frustrating some of us in the political party for the last while and it was shown through, ultimately, in the change of leadership.
‘ There was a discontent there so we all have to accept a role in that. There is no point in blaming one person, you have to just accept that there is a collective responsibility. We all have a role to play and maybe at the end of the day history will be better to us than the contemporary writing but at the end of the day we have to bear responsibility.'
Outgoing minister Dick Roche at the General Election count.