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Defeated Murphy O’Mahony setting her sights on a seat in the Seanad

February 17th, 2020 10:15 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Outgoing FF TD Margaret Murphy-O'Mahony with Seanad cathaoirleach Denis O'Donovan canvassing in Bantry before the election. But she was nowhere to be seen at the count centre on Sunday. (Photo: Andy Gibson)

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FORMER Fianna Fáil TD for Cork South West, Margaret Murphy O’Mahony, who lost her seat last weekend, said that ‘running two candidates wasn’t a good strategy’ for the party.

Speaking to The Southern Star this week, she said she now plans to run for the Seanad.

‘There was always only one seat for Fianna Fáil in West Cork and running two candidates wasn’t a good strategy. We were never going to win two seats,’ said Margaret.

‘Cork South West is not a stronghold of Fianna Fáil and we only ever won two seats once, in 2002 when Denis O’Donovan and Joe Walsh won two.’

Four years ago, the Bandon-based TD topped the poll with 8,482 first preference votes, but this time around she only managed 4,077 first preference votes.

She also made history by being the first ever female TD to be elected in Cork South West and was also the only female TD in all of the five Cork constituencies to be elected in 2016.

But it wasn’t all bad news for Fianna Fáil in 2020 as the overall party vote in Cork South West was up 3.7% on 2016, proving that the vote management and overall strategy was lacking. Margaret confirmed this week that she is going to run for the Seanad in the next few weeks, and has already started working on it.

‘I wish all three TDs well and I want to thank all my team of supporters and canvassers who worked so hard during this election campaign,’ she said.

Political eyebrows had been raised when the party decided to run two candidates, bringing in county mayor Christopher O’Sullivan at the last minute.

With sitting Fine Gael TD Jim Daly retiring, the party had hoped that a second seat for FF was up for grabs,  while Fine Gael dealt with internal divisions over their candidates.

However, that gamble to field two backfired, resulting in Murphy O’Mahony being the casualty and losing her seat on the sixth count, while the sitting county mayor claimed the constituency’s second seat on the eighth count.

There was also much comment about the fact that the outgoing TD made no appearance at the count centre in Clonakilty on Sunday. ‘I sent my supporters there,’ she told The Southern Star this week.

Incoming TD Christopher O’Sullivan sent his commiserations to Margaret and said it was a difficult time when one loses a seat, as his father Christy went through the same in 2011 when he lost his.

‘What was clear from this election is that a lot of work needs to be done by Fianna Fáil to connect and resonate with young people, as judged by the success of the Sinn Féin vote,’ he added.

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