2002 General Election

2002 saw PDs once off at expense of FG

Shock waves as Fine Gael decimated at polls

Express Reporter

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2002 saw PDs once off at expense of FG

Charlie Flanagan and Tom Parlon

THE 2002 election amounted to a home run for Fianna Fail who swaggered home victoriously with an emphatic win in which they took half the vote in Laois-Offaly.

The political earthquake occurred elsewhere with the apparent decimation of Fine Gael which, at the local level, saw the departure of Charles Flanagan, and an ascendant Tom Parlon making the breakthrough for the Progressive Democrats.

Poll topper Brian Cowen topped the poll with 12,529, leaving him almost 2,000 votes to spare. John Moloney secured the highest Laois vote with 8,093 and took the fourth seat on the sixth count with 10,972. Sean Fleming was elected on the sixth count with 10,453.

Meanwhile, a large swathe of the Fine Gael farmer vote flocked to former IFA leader, Tom Parlon who secured a massive first preference vote of 9,088, placing him second candidate elected on the fifth count with a final vote share of 10,572.

Charles Flanagan’s defeat was the sensation of this election because of the perception his seat was safe. Conventional wisdom entering the campaign was that either John Moloney, Sean Fleming or Olwyn Enright might lose to the PD candidate.

However, Flanagan was squeezed out with a first preference showing of 6,500.

The election was bittersweet for Olwyn Enright who became the constituency’s first woman TD and the only standard bearer carrying a limp Fine Gael baton.

She secured a vote of 8,053 and leapfrogged over Moloney to become the third candidate elected on the sixth count with 11,005 votes.

For Labour it was another election horribilis as their candidate John Dwyer found himself eclipsed by Sinn Fein’s Brian Stanley to the tune of 1,000 votes.

Stanley secured 2,600 votes, whereas Labour limped home with 1,600. Independent candidate Molly Buckley received 1,695.

Independent stalwart Joe McCormack secured 351 first preferences and declared that it was the end of the road for him in elections. Plus ca change!

The first count results were as follows:

Buckley Molly Ind 1,695

Cowen Brian FF 12,529

Dwyer John Lab 1,600

Enright Olwyn FG 8,053

Fettes Chirstopher GP 520

Flanagan Charles FG 6,500

Fleming Sean FF 7,091

Kelly John Ind 236

Killally Gerard FF 4,719

McCormack Joe Ind 351

Moloney John FF 8,093

Parlon Tom PD 9,088

Redmon Michael CSP 142

Stanely Brian SF 2,600

ELECTED: Brian Cownen (ff), 1st count; Tom Parion (PD) 5th count; Olwyn Enright (FG) 6th count; John Moloney (FF) 6th count; Sean Fleming (FF) 6th count.