From the moment the Longford/Westmeath By-election boxes opened in Kenagh, Co Longford this morning it was clear that Athlone’s Cllr Gabrielle Mc Fadden (FG) was ahead of the pack.
Although tallies were in full swing by midday with 95% of the boxes opened at the count centre, the sister of the late Deputy Nicky McFadden held 25% of the vote throughout.
Not far behind her, Fianna Fáil’s Aengus O’Rourke was on 19%; Paul Hogan (SF) held on to third position with 15% while Longford’s James Morgan (IND) and Kevin Boxer Moran (IND) held 15% and 12% of the constituency vote respectively.
Aengus O’Rourke was at the count centre before the results of the first count were called.
“It would certainly appear that the seat is now Gab’s to lose,” he said before adding he had engaged in a long campaign and was “delighted” to see results coming to the fore.
Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran also spoke to the Leader earlier. “If this was four seater election, I would be in,” he laughed. “I have been endorsed by this constituency and people want a change, so I will certainly be looking to the General Election in 18 months time.”
The results of the first count are due in the next few minutes.