Over 30% of Longford voters voted for Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan in last week’s Euro Elections.
Approximate tally figures from the Kenagh count centre show that the Roscommon native secured over 5,200 votes in Longford representing just under one third of the 17,622 tally.
With Mr Flanagan topping the Longford poll in such a conclusive fashion, the remaining candidates were left trailing in his wake.
According to the tallies, Mairead McGuinness picked up 3,157 votes (18% of the vote) in Longford with Matt Carthy picking up 2,134 (12%) and Marian Harkin picking up 1,934 (11%).
These were the four candidates ultimately elected.
Of the remaining candidates, Fianna Fáil’s Thomas Byrne picked up 1,646 votes (9.3%) and his party colleague Pat the Cope Gallagher picked up 982 (6%). Independent Ronan Mullen picked up 837 votes (5%) while Fine Gael’s Jim Higgins polled just 4% of the vote (789) and Labour’s Lorraine Higgins picked up just 474 votes (3%). The Green Party’s Mark Deary picked up 93 votes in Longford and Cordelia Nic Fhearraigh picked up 60 votes. Cavan’s TJ Fay picked up 61 votes as did cannabis campaigner Mark Fitzsimons. Ben Gilroy of Direct Democracy got 143 votes.
Speaking after he was elected, Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan said that Irish people were “sick and tired” of being told what to do by the media.
“If Europe doesn’t like what the Irish people think, then I think we need to go one step further and reconsider our membership of this very, very bad union,” he stated.
“One of the benefits of electing me to Europe is that you will get a compassionate Euroscepticism; nineteen out of the 20 people in my house, and my wife’s house, went to work in London and they were welcomed. If Nigel Farage had his way they wouldn’t be welcome, and I’ll tell you one thing for sure, I’ll have no truck with that man. We need people to be sceptical about Europe who care about the people of Europe.”
Speaking to the Leader this week, Ms Harkin said that she expected her campaign to become tough from the onset, because of the size of the constituency with the incorporation of five new counties.
“If people don’t know you, they will not vote for you - it is as simple as that,” she explained. “It was extraordinarily difficult but I knocked on doors and spoke to people and I will tell you something; I am going back to Europe with a different attitude.”
The Sligo native who has retained her EU seat said that she was humbled by the people she met and the stories she heard - which included small business owners tales of how they desperately tried to struggle on, and ordinary families endeavours to keep going, despite life on the breadline. “This campaign has changed me,” Ms Harkin added. “I knocked on doors and I listened to the people. I now fully understand and there is no doubt in my mind that Irish families and Irish businesses need a break. They simply can’t take any more [austerity].”
Mairead McGuinness said, “It is a real honour, and indeed responsibility, to be elected to the European Parliament, given the important role it plays in the lives of everyone in the community”. She went on to say that she had received “a strong mandate from the people” of the constituency and would work to the best of her ability on behalf of everyone in the community”.
Matt Carthy described his election as a victory for the hundreds of thousands of Sinn Féin activists and members right across the constituency.
“This is a vote against the austerity agenda which has been pursued far too vigorously by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments,” he added.
“I think the people have sent the Government a very strong message. This isn’t about personalities, it’s not about leaders of parties, it’s about policies that are crippling our communities.”