THE Fianna Fail party whip on Donegal County Council has described the party showing in the Letterkenny-Milford area as a ‘proud day’.
Councillor Ciaran Brogan, who polled 1,676 first preference votes said this election was one of the toughest he had ever fought. The party managed to get almost 5,000 first preferences votes (28 per cent ) with their four candidates.
“I was in an area where there were seven candidates within a radius of five miles,” he said.
“This was always going to be a test for Fianna Fail but we’ve got three seats, including first time candidate, James ‘Pat’ McDaid who did tremendously well and polled almost 1,300 first preferences,
“We need new blood in the party like James ‘Pat’. It was a tough, but clean, fair campaign. John Watson came into the race a bit late and did not have the same support on the ground and with the abolition of the town council he was up against some very good candidates with a strong track record,” Cllr Brogan added.
Cllr Brogan said with 5,000 first preferences between their four candidates and another two ‘like minded’ Independents in the area the base for Fianna Fail in Letterkenny-Milford was very strong going ahead to the next Dail elections.
“Irrespective of how the election finishes up there is a huge disconnect between the government and people on the ground and the issues they face like cuts to medical cards,”
“The government has to sit up and take notice. It is evident Fine Gael and Labour have bore the brunt of people’s anger. From our point of view we had four candidates who polled almost 5,000 votes or 28 per cent of the vote here,”
“However if you factor in that Michael McBride who ran for Fianna Fail five years ago and John O’Donnell are both from the Fianna Fail gene pool it augers well for the future,” he added.
Fianna Fail Director of Elections, Deputy Charlie McConalogue said the
overall the party was heartened by the fact they were set to take six seats in North-East Donegal.
“We’re set for three seats in both Inishowen and Letterkenny-Milford. We found people more than willing to come out and work for us despite the poor showing across the country in the 2011 general election,”
“We topped the poll in both Inishowen and Letterkenny-Milford and Martin McDermott got over 2,000 first preferences in his first election in Inishowen,”
“Communities feel the government hasn’t been listening to them and they have made their point in the votes. People are struggling to get by due to the cuts such as the reduction in medical cards,” Deputy McConalogue added.