Aftermath of an extraordinary Election

It’s a horrible wet, cold, wild, wintry Monday morning but miserable and all as it is, coming after an amazing weekend in so many ways, it cannot take away the feeling that something extraordinary has happened in this little country of ours since last Friday evening.

  The result of the election and the total massacre of the government parties is of course the biggest news, and with all the big-name losses, out here in Creggs and Glinsk, we are delighted with the re-election of local man, Michael Fitzmaurice.

  Sometimes the biggest danger to a candidate is being a red-hot racing certainty, but thankfully there was no complacency in the Fitzmaurice camp and the work put in by himself and his army of canvassers made sure he was successfully returned.

  As someone who was occasionally on the receiving end, when he lined out at full-back for the Glinsk footballers, I can vouch there was no way he was ever going to lose and I offer him my heartiest congratulations and whatever shape the government takes, we are assured of having top class representation from our own parishioner.

  On a personal level, I think the biggest compliment I can pay Fitz is that despite a meteoric rise in political life it hasn’t changed him at all and he’s the very same today as he was long before he became a national figure.

  Before I leave the local election results, I must also congratulate Denis Naughten on a fabulous first-count victory, which, as with Fitzmaurice, was well forecasted, but which also had to be delivered – and of course Eugene Murphy, who after a lifetime in politics and after many ups and downs, finally made it to the Holy Grail –  well done to them all and please God we’ll all see the benefit of a stable government, hard as it may be to achieve.

  On the national front it is a remarkable feat by the Healy-Raes, Michael and Danny, to carry on the work started by their father, Jackie, nineteen years ago and get the pair of them elected to the new Dáil. Michael with more than twenty thousand first preferences, getting the highest total in the entire country and in the process they helped to knock two big political hitters, Jimmy Deenihan and Arthur Spring, right out of the picture.

  As I looked at the great vote that some candidates got, my mind (and heart) was drawn to those that didn’t fare so well and it must be so disheartening to turn up at a count and find that your supporters have deserted you in droves and that your vote is almost an embarrassment.

  As far as l can see, almost twenty candidates all over the country got less than 100 votes, with the lowest being 22, received by a candidate in Galway West out of a total poll of almost 65,000.  

  In Dublin Central, another Independent candidate got 27 votes out of almost 24,000 cast. It is my opinion that to put yourself out there in front of the electorate requires a great deal of guts, as it’s so easy to sit on the fence. So having got yourself psyched up to do so and getting your name on the ballot paper it must be soul-destroying to hear that type of figure read out after almost a month of pounding the highways and the byways, delivering your message to the electorate.

  Surely all candidates have a launch night, so it’s safe to assume that a lot of those that turned up on the night didn’t actually vote for the person –  I’m making the assumption that more than 22 or 27 attended the respective launches because if there was less than that there, surely the candidates would have seen the writing on the wall and withdrawn from the contest.

  Anyway it’s all over for now – real political commentators seem to think it might be only for a short while – I haven’t a clue really, but it brought a bit of excitement round the place for the last few weeks. I suppose the big hope now is that they can put their differences to one side, if there are any, and get on with the job of running the country, which after all is what they were elected to do.

Upcoming events

On now to local matters and Bina Harris has asked me once again to remind you to give up your sponsorship cards for the Barrie Harris Walk and if there is anyone out there – company or individual – who still wishes to make a private contribution, don’t be shy, all will be most welcome!

  Also my good neighbour, Pat O’Brien, has asked me to tell you about a big fundraising night that’s being held in Dowd’s, Glinsk on Saturday night in aid of the Glinsk Defibrillator Group. The local legend that is DJ Bobby is supplying the music, newly-re-elected TD Michael Fitzmaurice will be conducting an auction, there will be a raffle with prizes galore and certificates will be presented to those who have trained in using the defibrillators. It’s for something that’s essential in every parish, that will save lives so if you can get to Dowd’s this Saturday night and support a great cause.

Mighty performance from Roscommon footballers

There was so much happening in the sporting world over the weekend that you’d need the full paper to cover it all, but pride of place must go to the footballers of Roscommon for the extraordinary performance they produced down in Cork last Sunday.

  To score 4-25 even against Creggs footballers would take a bit of doing, but to do it to a top-rated county team like Cork, on their own patch, borders on the unbelievable, and while it would be dangerous to get too carried away, it certainly augurs well for a competitive Connacht championship and our lads, Galway are also doing okay in Division Two.

  I heard Kevin McStay being interviewed after the match on Sunday and as a former forward, when he said that his team were giving the ball to the right man, in the right place and that there was no sign of selfishness, l thought to myself they are on the right track.

  There is, in my mind, is no greater sin on a football pitch than the selfish player who won’t pass to anyone else even when they are in a better position. It would be a great help to every team, no matter what level they are playing at, to stamp out selfishness and greed and team spirit would be much stronger if such mé féiner (pronounced “may”) behaviour was got rid of.

And finally…

Finally for this week and staying with fundraising, Jimmy Kearney of the super-group, The Lancers, asks me to mention a huge night of music and dancing in the Abbey Hotel, Roscommon on Monday night next (7th March).

  It’s all in aid of the Roscommon Deanery Lourdes Invalid Fund, a charity that’s very close to my heart, and which does wonderful work round this area.

  Frank Nelson, The Lancers, Patsy McCaul, Mark Finn, Ita Trimble, Carmel McLoughlin, Stephanie Feeley, Top Level, and Derek Campbell will be there to provide you with a great night of entertainment.

  Admission is only €10, it all kicks off at 9 pm and I want you all to be there – we might even have an auld dance!