Labour candidate saw the writing on the wall
BUT WOULD NOT HAVE PREDICTED THREE FG SEATS
SHORTLY before he was eliminated Labour’s Conal Kavanagh knew the writing was on the wall.
‘I expect to be eliminated fairly shortly. I am delighted with the support I received but obviously we didn’t get as much support as I expected and we will have to examine the reason why.
‘I think it is partly our strategy but not exclusively so. We have to look at the big shift to Fine Gael within the constituency. Obviously the option of a single party Fine Gael single party Government struck a chord here in Wicklow and Stephen Donnelly is also doing well so that type of economic thinking struck a chord in Wicklow.’
The decision to run three candidates in Wicklow considering the Labour vote in Wicklow was down in 2007 come back to haunt the party faithful in the Garden County.
‘Obviously when we may the decision to run three candidates the political landscape in the polls was different to that seen at the time of the election. Then running three looked like a plausible strategy when we assessed it and now we need to consider securing one and seeing after that. It is something we will have to analyse and hopefully it will be something we can build on.
‘Looking at the numbers for the first preference vote it does look bad that we only secured a quota between us and we will have to consider things.
‘While Wicklow was unusual in that we didn’t increase our vote substantially we are not unique. It also happened in Dublin South.
Conal said he felt he got a good reaction on the doorsbut ‘maybe the late shift in the last week or so’ worked against him.
‘I certainty tried to get to as many doors as I could and I think it is important for people to see a candidate. But the downside to that though is when I visit a location in week one and the resident hasn’t made up their mind I can’t get back to them and in the meantime they may have made up their minds for someone else.’
For many seeing the Kavanagh name back on the ballot paper was a nod to the past as his father, Liam, was a Minister for the Public Service, for Labour, for the Environment and for Tourism, Fisheries and Forestry during the 1980s.
Conal said that it was not only tradition that saw him putting his name forward for election. ‘I wanted to represent the party in a national election. I had never done it before and I was keen to do it. I was consistently asked by members when I was going to give it a go. I wanted to provide a voice for the people of Wicklow and everyone had the opportunity to vote.’
In the run up to the election Wicklow had been a particularly difficult constituency to predict and Conal said ‘ the biggest surprise was Fine Gael going so well. We all knew that Fianna Fail was going to struggle which they did.
‘It was hard to know how Joe Behan was going to go too as he came late to the field and supported the Government quite a lot even though he is an Independent.
‘I would never have predicated three seats for Fine Gael and another like minded (to Fine Gael) Independent.’
Labour’s Conal Kavanagh.