The last remaining seat in the Longford/Westmeath constituency was won by 29-year-old local area representative in Co Westmeath, Robert Troy (FF). The postmaster from Ballynacargy whose mother hails from Longford town, comes from a family steeped in politics.
Troy’s mother, Sarah Pearse was born and reared at Park Road, Longford town. Her uncle, Troy’s granduncle, Robert Connolly was an Independent councillor in the county town for 46 years and the newly elected constituency TD has a number of relatives who still reside in and around the town.
Robert Connolly was first elected to Longford District Council in 1934 and remained there until June 1980. During his time in local political life, he also served on Longford County Council. He passed away in 1980.
Count day was by no means plain sailing for Troy who, at times, looked likely to lose out to Cllr Peter Burke (FG). It was only when O’Rourke and Kelly were both eliminated from the race, that the young postmaster began gaining substantially from their transfers.
“It was a difficult day,” Troy said, adding that it was only when he saw the much needed transfers coming his way that he realised he was in with a “fighting chance” to take a seat in the constituency.
“I was hoping that Mary and Peter’s transfers would come my way and they did. I was also delighted with the fact that all through the count I maintained the highest Fianna Fáil vote in the constituency and I was very happy with the 360 first preference Longford votes that I received.”
Troy went on to say that he was both “delighted and honoured” to have been elected as a Fianna Fáil candidate in the constituency .
Troy explained, adding that geographically, he was “best placed” to serve both Co Longford and Co Westmeath. “I’m based in Ballynacargy, which is just on the border of Longford and Westmeath, so geographically I am best placed to help the people of both counties. I intend to work with all the local area representatives in Westmeath and Longford to make our constituency a better place to live in.”
He commiserated with both Kelly and O’Rourke who lost their seats and he paid tribute to Kelly whom he said had been “a strong voice for Longford”. “I would like to commiserate with Peter and Mary,” he said. “They both have been outstanding candidates in this constituency and Peter was a strong voice for Longford. It is sad to see anyone losing their seat.”