THE outgoing Labour TD, Michael McCarthy, said he has gone from public life and will not re-emerge through the Seanad.
Although the Dunmanway-based TD ran a good campaign and polled well in his hometown, he could not overcome the national trend against Labour and saw his vote halved from 14.3% in 2011 to 7%.
West Cork was a notoriously predictable constituency in the 1980s and 1990s, up until 2002, when it returned the same three TDs in seven general elections, but it has consistently changed its TDs in every election since then.
In 2002 and 2007, Michael McCarthy made two unsuccessful attempts to take back the traditional Labour seat that was held from 1922 until the retirement of Michael Pat Murphy in 1981.
He was successful in 2011, coming in with an overall vote of 10,754 – 599 votes ahead of Fianna Fáil’s Denis O’Donovan.
In 2002, he went on to take a seat on the Labour panel in the subsequent Seanad election, and, in 2007, he was successfully returned to Seanad Eireann. That, however, is not an option this time, because there are now so many TDs out in the cold after the results last weekend.
‘I don’t know what’s next,’ said 39-year old McCarthy. ‘I have effectively gone from public life and will take a bit of time out to reflect on where the future will take me. I’m also looking forward to spending some time with my family, my wife Nollagh, and my children Odhran, Fionnán, Éadaoin, and Colman.’
On Friday, February 26th, 3,035 people in Cork South West gave Michael McCarthy their first preference vote, which placed him seventh out of the 11 candidates standing in Cork South West.
It was after the second count that Michael McCarthy’s 3,397 votes – of which 246 were non transferable – were distributed.
The lion’s share of his votes – 890 benefited Jim Daly who was, geographically, in the same neighbourhood as the Labour TD – but Michael Collins took the next highest transfer of 446 votes, which widened the gap between him and Fine Gael’s Noel Harrington, a trend that continued with the fourth and fifth count.
Michael McCarthy, who spent some time chatting to supporters at the count centre in Clonakilty, paid tribute to his campaign team for their constant support and said: ‘I have no doubt that the Labour Party will reorganise and re-energise and will become a significant force in political life, including Cork South West, in the near future.’