Does year end in a ‘7’? Then stand by for an election!

 

Don’t rule out a General Election in 2017 – after all, we had Dáil elections in 1977, 1987, 1997 and 2007!

  As always, they were interesting elections in Roscommon.

  I don’t really recall the 1977 election, but it was quite a historic one, signalling the emergence as a major political double act of Sean Doherty (RIP) and Terry Leyden, both elected for the first time as TDs that year.

  The other seat went to Joan Burke (RIP) of Fine Gael, who had a superb electoral record.

  1987 was also a significant election in Roscommon with the late Eithne Quinn polling well for the HAC and laying some of the foundations for the breakthrough two years later of Tom Foxe (RIP).

  Sean Doherty, who topped the poll in Roscommon in 1987, was the first TD to be returned to Dáil Eireann in that election. Also elected were Terry Leyden and Liam Naughten (RIP).

  What really made 1987 memorable, indeed notorious, from a Roscommon point of view was the series of recounts required to separate Fine Gael duo Liam Naughten and John Connor. Naughten eventually prevailed by just 18 votes. The count had featured several rows, allegations of votes going missing, even scuffles between rival groups of Fine Gael supporters. That immortal election count is covered in my book ‘Nothing About Sheep Stealing’ in Chapter 7 (‘Smoke and daggers’).

  In 1997, Longford/Roscommon elected Albert Reynolds (RIP), Denis Naughten, Sean Doherty and Louis Belton. It was the last occasion on which Reynolds, Doherty or Belton would be elected. Neither ‘The Doc’ or Albert ran again; Belton contested the 2002 election but lost his seat.

  The 2007 election (Roscommon/South Leitrim) was a historic one for Fine Gael, with the party securing two seats for the first time, through Frank Feighan and Denis Naughten. Michael Finneran of Fianna Fáil took the third seat.

  So, who’s betting against a 2017 poll shortly after Enda steps down?