It was an emotional day for Fianna Fail’s Paschal McEvoy as he became the first Fianna Fail councillor ever to take a seat in the Fine Gael stronghold of Stradbally.
He won the seat over his good friend, Portarlington man Willie Murphy who narrowly missed out.
Fianna Fail have lost their seat in Portarlington, previously held by Ray Cribben, with Sinn Fein’s Aidan Mullins topping the vote in the Portarlington Graiguecullen electoral area. However Fianna Fail sitting councillor Padraig Fleming held onto his seat, almost doubling his votes from 789 first preferences in 2009 to 1246 first preferences in this election.
Cllr Fleming put his success down to working hard in his constituency over the past five years.
“I came second in the Graiguecullen Portarlington area, and I had a very strong campaign thank God. I’m after exceeding my votes big time, I’ve nearly doubled my vote from the last election. I’ve been working hard as best I can with the communities in all the areas. I’m glad that people have given their faith in me to continue working as hard as possible. The issues I faced on the doorsteps included cutbacks pensioners are facing, medical cards and jobs for younger people”.
Cllr Paschal McEvoy said that he was “full of emotion” upon hearing of his election.
“I had a very good campaign, I had very good people working with me. I took seven weeks off work to campaign. It’s unfortunate that I was elected over Willie Murphy, we are the best of friends. He’s a very hard worker. It’s down to six councillors now, but when you enlist you must soldier. I’m ready to rock and roll now”.
Timahoe man Dick Miller missed out on getting re-elected, after losing his seat in the 2009 local elections.
“I thought I went well but obviously not. It’s not local anymore, it doesn’t serve it’s purpose. They should have taken one councillor from each area and kept the areas as they are. I’ve done a lot myself, but it can’t all be done. I had somebody with me in each of the different areas. I’m not at all disappointed, no one is dead, and it’s not the first time I was beaten. That’s the way life is.”
Willie Murphy passed his congratulations to running mate Paschal.
“We are good old friends and he is a great party man. I’m delighted for Paschal and for Fianna Fail. We are great friends, of all the people to be in the fight for a seat with. I wish him the best of luck. I know he will work hard and he is a credit to the people of his area. If I had a few more votes in Portarlington it would have helped alright. Ray Cribben becoming independent didn’t help either”.
Mr Murphy said that a number of local issues came up on the doorsteps when he was out campaigning.
“I closed my shop for the last month, I had 14 weeks of a campaign. The big issues were crime in the area, medical cards, speed ramps, and street lighting. Jobs was also another big one. It was much different from the 2011 general elections. It was also different to 2009, this time there was a lovely flavour for Fianna Fail on the doors. I had a very good exchange with people”.