NEWLY-elected Fianna Fáil TD for Cork South West Christopher O’Sullivan said he is ‘still taking in’ his victory following last weekend’s general election count.
After what turned out to be a mammoth count in Clonakilty, which ended in the early hours of Monday morning, the 37-year-old secured the second seat.
The current county mayor – who topped the poll in last year’s local elections – secured 6,262 first preference votes and was elected on the eighth count with 11,262 votes. However, his running mate, outgoing TD Margaret Murphy O’Mahony, lost her seat and was eliminated on the sixth count.
‘We haven’t had a chance yet to celebrate and we’re still taking it in, but I will be having a gathering in the next few weeks to thank everyone who helped me in my campaign,’ a delighted Christopher told The Southern Star.
‘There’s a lot of work to be done in the meantime, like sorting out the constituency office and the back-up and support staff who will have to be chosen carefully.’
Despite being added late to the party ticket, it wasn’t going to deter the Clonakilty man.
‘We hit the ground running despite, being on the back foot when the election was called. A brilliant team was put together in the space of a week because I was added to the ticket about five or six days before the election was called.’
He said that from the outset there was ‘a huge swell of support’ from canvassers and he couldn’t have done it without them.
In 2007, Christopher was co-opted onto the Council following his dad Christy winning a Dáil seat.
‘I think by topping the poll in the locals last year the indication was there that the time was right to go for Dáil Éireann and I’m delighted now it’s come to pass and I will work tirelessly for the people of West Cork,’ added Chris.
Chris remained tight-lipped on whether he had a chance to celebrate with his partner, newly-elected TD Holly Cairns of the Social Democrats. She created the biggest upset by claiming the third seat, thus denying Fine Gael any seat in Cork South West, a constituency that was almost always a sure thing for the party.
‘This campaign for me was about me being elected and getting the opportunity to work for the people of West Cork, and best of luck to Holly and Michael Collins. I look forward to working with them in Dáil Éireann,’ he said.
Meanwhile, two new councillors are set to be co-opted into Cork County Council in the coming weeks to replace the seats vacated by Holly Cairns and Christopher O’Sullivan. Christopher told The Southern Star that the selection process for his Council seat will be decided by party members at a local convention within the next few weeks.
Deputy mayor Cllr Martin Coughlan will take over the county mayor’s role for the next few weeks.
‘At a full Council meeting on February 24th a new mayor will be elected as part of a voting agreement between Fianna Fáil and independent groupings,’ said Cllr O’Sullivan. The role will be shared between them over the next five years.