Success for Castlerea native in Dublin North-East

It may be a little-known fact here in Roscommon, but the recent general election saw a young man with very strong local connections elected to Dail Eireann in a Dublin constituency. Meanwhile a second Dublin-based candidate with Roscommon connections narrowly lost out.    There were celebrations in Castlerea when Terence Flanagan was elected to Dail Eireann by the voters of Dublin North-East. Mr. Flanagan’s father Michael is a native of Cloonchambers who worked as a public servant in the Department of Justice in the capital before his retirement before retiring a number of years ago. His mother is Pauline (nee McLoughlin) of Aughamore, Ballyhaunis.   Terence (31) took a seat for Fine Gael at the expense of outgoing Fianna Fail TD Martin Brady who was defeated. The Roscommon man’s success was also a disappointment for Sinn Fein. Cllr. Larry O’Toole had been expected to take a seat for the party.   The new TD’s success becomes more remarkable when one considers that he engaged in a battle with his party colleague Brody Sweeney. Brody Sweeney is the celebrated founder of the O’Brien’s Sandwich Bar group and was believed to be Fine Gael’s frontrunner in the constituency. In the event Mr. Flanagan polled 4,483 votes and Sweeney took 3,529.   Deputy Flanagan is one of the new Fine Gael TDs that was elected to Dail Eireann in Dublin. A councillor for the Artane area, he lives on the Malahide road. He is a disciple of the deputy leader of Fine Gael Richard Bruton and campaigned for him in the previous two general elections.     Meanwhile locals in Ballinagare and Frenchpark were disappointed at Cllr. Paschal Donohue’s gallant failure to take a seat in Bertie Ahern’s Dublin Central constituency. Cllr. Donohue is a son of the former Caitlin Cunniffe from Ballinagare and was a frequent visitor to that area in his youth. He narrowly missed out on a Dail seat at his first attempt.   The impact of Cllr. Donohue’s energetic campaign had been a source of worry for the other candidates in recent weeks. Labour’s Joe Costello and the independent Tony Gregory felt threatened by the Donohue who was comfortably elected to Dublin City Council in 2004 by the voters of the Cabra-Glasnevin electoral area.   In the recent election, Gregory, Costello, and Fianna Fail’s Cyprian took the marginal seats in the constituency. An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern easily topped the poll with nearly 13,000 votes.    Paschal Donohue took nearly 3,500 votes and surprised many commentators by eclipsing the high-profile Sinn Fein candidate Mary Lou McDonald. She was eliminated on the seventh count but her transfers failed to elevate the Fine Gael candidate above Labour’s Costello and the Taoiseach’s colleague Mr. Brady.