Bray People - - ELECTION 2011 - ES­THER HAY­DEN

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.’

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