Veteran politician, Mary O’Rourke said her defeat and Fianna Fail’s wider collapse in the Longford/Westmeath constituency on Saturday evening stemmed largely from an ill-advised vote management strategy.
The long-standing backbencher was in stoic mood after seeing her first preference vote percentage fall to just 5 per cent (3,046 votes) compared to the near 15 per cent (8,215 votes) she secured in 2007.
“It is disappointing yes, but you have to put up with it,” she said surrounded by a horde of journalists. “The electorate are the kings.”
Pressed about the decision to run three candidates in the constituency, Ms O’Rourke agreed it wasn’t wise.
“That’s up to themselves (Fianna Fail),” she sternly replied. “Of course it wasn’t wise but be that as it may they were the deciders of that. I am glad I faced up to the challenge. I wouldn’t have run away because I don’t like to do that.”
The former Minister for Education confessed the day had been a “mixed” one for the Lenihan family with her nephew and outgoing Minister for Finance, Brian holding on to the fourth seat in Dublin while brother and junior minister, Conor lost out in Dublin South West.
Mr Lenihan’s achievement in keeping hold of the fourth and final seat was made all the more astonishing given his high profile role as Finance Minister, making him the only one of Fianna Fail’s TDs in the capital to survive.
“Yes it is disappointing, but we (Lenihan family) are all very proud. I am proud of the fact the people supported me for so long in this constituency and I repaid that trust I think with honour,” she said.
Ms O’ Rourke added her focus was now firmly fixed on spending time with her family, doing some media work and penning a book.
“That’s the way life goes. I have had disappointments in the past but let’s face it no one died, we are all here alive.
“I have my health, a lovely family, and a book to write,” she said, joking that some journalists listening in at Kenagh on Saturday evening “might even be in it.”