END OF THE LINE
MAN OF PRINCIPLE BEHAN RETURNS TO ROLE OF PRINCIPAL AFTER DEFEAT
THE EXIT OF Independent TD Joe Behan was, for many, one of the shock results of this election with a lot of people surprised he lost his seat. The Bray man will now return to his old job, principal of St. Fergal’s National School as soon as possible.
It seems Joe suffered a double whammy this election and appears to have been punished on the double by the electorate.
In 2007, he polled exceptionally well pulling in 9,431 first preference votes, taking the second seat in the constituency for Fianna Fáil.
However, he resigned from the party in October 2008 due to the tough measures being introduced in the Emergency Budget, a stance many commended him for.
Last weekend, his vote was more than halved when he polled 4,205 first preference votes. He also found it difficult to pick up transfers particularly in the early stages of the count. He was eliminated after the 14th count following the redistribution of Dick Roche’s vote with a total vote of 4,631.
‘It’s a difficult moment for me, obviously, after 26 years of elections. I have seen a lot of good nights and equally I have seen people have bad nights and you come through it. I am grateful for all who voted came out and supported me and to all my canvassers. I am more disappointed for them really. Obviously I am disappointed overall but I understand why it happened. People interpreted that when I voted for the Budget I aligned myself to Fianna Fáil but that's wasn’t the case.
‘I voted for the Budget because I could see no alternative to getting the money to run the country but I accept the verdict of the people.’
From the early tallies, Joe had indicated he didn’t think he was in the running for a seat, although there was always a chance that with one or two right eliminations and a good transfer rate he could be in the frame for one of the two final seats.
Ultimately, it was not to be and while he didn’t throw in the towel he seemed resigned to losing his seat. Notwithstanding that, however, he remained a constant presence in Shoreline until the end of the count which struck a chord with many, as a handful of other candidates had either not shown or only put in a swift appearance throughout the long and tedious count.
Magnanimous to the end, Joe wished all the five candidates elected ‘every success. I certainly think they have huge challenges and I hope they meet them all’.
With the loss of his seat, Joe will now return to his job as principal of St. Fergal’s National School in Bray. ‘I hope to go back to St. Fergal’s as soon as possible.’
Although he has made several controversial decisions during his term in Leinster House including resigning from Fianna Fáil and voting for Budget 2011, Joe stands by his decision.
‘No, I have no regrets, either in terms of my decision to leave Fianna Fáil or to support the Budget. I acted in the national interest and for the right reasons. I never did it for political reasons but because it was for the good of the country. I think it is the duty of all public representatives to think in the national interest.’