Longford’s Labour candidate Mae Sexton remains upbeat this week, despite the fact that she failed in her bid to win a seat under the Labour banner in the Longford/Westmeath constituency in last week’s general election.
Her first preference vote of 3,960 was simply not enough for the local councillor and she was subsequently eliminated after the third count.
Sexton dismissed any suggestion that her previous life as a Progressive Democrat TD had affected her chance. Instead she pointed to the fact that 23% of Longford votes went into Westmeath, including 700 to her party colleague Willie Penrose.
“When you have such a small part of the constituency and a limited vote, it is bound to be difficult,” she said. “The fact now that Longford town has no TD, is something that I find very worrying. The town never needed a TD more than it does now and I regret that there is not a strong voice for Longford in Dáil Eireann.”
Sexton went on to say that she would remain committed to Longford, adding that she was not finished with national politics just yet.
“People have told me that I delivered for Longford when I was in Dáil Eireann and unfortunately, things just didn’t pan out for me this time,” she said. “There is no doubt that strategic voting may have secured two TDs in Longford but the fact that so many votes left the county ensured that would not happen.”
Asked if she would consider a seat in Seanad Eireann if the opportunity presented itself to her, Sexton said that she “had not considered” the matter because she was currently monitoring the negotiations that were taking place between Fine Gael and Labour regarding the formation of a coalition government.
“I have not considered that as an option, I have to say, but I do know this much, we need a strong stable government so that this country can get of its knees,” she explained, adding that the renegotiation of the IMF deal and job creation should be placed at the top of the new administration’s agenda.
“People need to have their faith restored. We are where we are and we can’t lose hope just because we no longer have a TD in the county town. I will be working closely with Willie Penrose to ensure that the issues in Longford town are addressed. I want Connolly Barracks back with the people of Longford and I will use whatever influence I can to ensure that. I am very concerned about the situation with St Joseph’s Hospital and I will do everything that I can to ensure that the necessary services there are provided to those who need them. I am also determined to bring investment to Longford and as I said before, I will continue to fight the good fight for Longford.”