Sinn Fein’s Chris gets the highest number of votes for a first time candidate in Election ‘ 16
FIRST time General Election candidate Chris MacManus believes he won’t have to wait too long until he’s out canvassing again.
“I think we’re going to have another General Election before the next locals which are three and a half years away. I’d be very surprised by whatever government comes about that it lasts that long. I’m envisaging there’ll be one inside the next 12 months,” the former Borough Councillor said.
There were raised eyebrows when the party decided to run two candidates, adding MacManus after he had lost out at the party convention in Sligo to Ballinamore councillor Martin Kenny. Nevertheless, MacManus is happy to have got the chance and was always in with an outside chance of taking a seat. The campaign, said MacManus, was most enjoyable.
“There’s too much emphasis now on leafleting and postering. You have to knock on the door, talk to people, give them a chance to size you up to see if you are the right person for the job. Overall, I’m very pleased. I’ve got the highest vote of any first time candidate in this election, I’ve got over 4,500 first preference votes, the second highest vote in Sligo town, polled nearly 30% in south Donegal and outpolled a sitting TD and a senator. Sinn Fein went into this to ensure we took one seat and we did that and we were in the mix for a second. We have put ourselves down as very serious contenders at any subsequent election for being in the mix for two seats.” Pundits, sitting in offices in Dublin, he said barely gave him a mention.
“I’ll tell you at the next election no one will be writing Chris MacManus off,” he said. Nationally, he feels Sinn Fein will play the role of opposition in the new Dail. “We won’t be part of a Fianna Fail or Fine Gael led Government,” he said. “People who voted for us, that’s not what they wanted. They voted for change,” he said. MacManus said he felt voters from the age of 40 downwards were prepared to listen to him, moving away from the traditional voting pattern of one party for life.
“They were ready to listen to you because if you were able to show how you might be able to put a few pound back in their pockets and offer a certain quality of life after they paid their bills they were very much open to listening to your message,” he said.
Fianna Fail candidate Marc MacSharry with his cousin Clr. Tom MacSharry and father Ray MacSharry on Saturday evening. Pic: Carl Brennan.