Labour can­di­date saw the writ­ing on the wall


Bray People - - ELECTION 2011 -

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.

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