Former Olympian Egan set for seat

Kenneth Egan

By Fiachra Ó Cionnaith, Irish Examiner
Olympic hero Kenneth Egan is expected to eventually be elected despite being in a fight with a small group of candidates for one of the final seats in Clondalkin, an electoral area that has seen Sinn Féin support surge to a massive one in every three voters.

With 100% of votes counted in the South Dublin County Council area, it seems likely that Fine Gael candidate Mr Egan will eventually squeeze into one of the final eight seats in the expanded constituency.

However, before he does so the former Olympic silver medalist will face more than a few scares as his election - and that of a number of other candidates - may come despite him not reaching the quota.

One issue that is not up for discussion, however, is that the Clondalkin area - which in 2009 saw Fine Gael take two seats, Labour one, Fianna Fáil one, People before Profit one and Sinn Féin one before later becoming independent - has been dominated by Sinn Féin.

Unofficial results show the party gained the support of one in every three voters in the area, which overall saw voter turnout rise almost 10% to just above 40%.

Eoin Ó Broin is likely to come with 21.34% of the vote - a 2,952 first preference figure that almost doubles the 1,538 needed for election.

His party Sinn Féin party colleague, Jonathan Graham, will also exceed the quota with 16.11% of the vote (2,228 first preferences). The rates mean the party could have taken up to four seats if it ran more candidates, with where their excess votes are transferred to set to make for interesting reading.

Two other candidates will also be elected on the first count, namely Fianna Fáil's Trevor Gilligan (13.94%, 1,928 first preferences) and People before Profit's Gino Kenny (11.49%, 1,590 first preferences).

However, it is likely to be far more of a fight for the final four seats, with Mr Egan, his Fine Gael colleague Emer Higgins and Labour's Breda Bonner all to be within 1% - or 100 votes - of each other after the first count.

Due to the significant gap between their 1,054 to 1,154 expected first preferences, all three are expected to struggle to gain almost 50% of votes to reach the quota.

The final seat is likely to be a three-horse race between Independent Francis Timmins (4.87%, 674 first preferences), the Workers' Party's Lorraine Hennessy (3.09%, 428 first preferences) and Independent Matthew McDonagh (2.57%, 355 first preferences).

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