Micheál Martin: FF had 'a lot of challenges' selecting candidates

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has admitted that his party could have run more candidates in some areas.

It comes as his party looks set to make gains of up to two seats in some constituencies and even set to regain seats previously lost in 2011.

However, Deputy Martin has admitted that the gender quotas placed some restrictions on including 'additional candidates' .

“The gender quota of course places restrictions in terms of add-ons and so on like that towards the end as well,” he said.

“It’s quite interesting, behind the scenes, talking to the constituencies committees, the people who are responsible for selections strategy, they had a lot of challenges across the board to make it all fit.”

Deputy Martin and Michael McGrath were elected in the first Cork South Central count earlier today.

McGrath beat his party leader, topping the poll with 11,795 votes while Martin gathered 11,346.

The next highest vote was Fine Gael's Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney at 7,965, followed by Donnchadh O'Laoighaire of Sinn Fein at 6,986.

Fine Gael's Jerry Buttimer won 6,419 votes and Labour's Ciaran Lynch 2,417. Independent Mick Finn polled 2,378 votes, with the Green's Lorna Bogue on 2,064.

The independents did less well in Cork South Central than in other constituencies nationally with the main parties dominating. Cllr Mick Finn, from Ballyphehane in Cork city, did well with 2,378 votes, coming in just behind sitting Labour TD, Ciaran Lynch who polled 2,417 - mirroring the party's fortunes nationwide.

Fiona Ryan of AAA/PBP won 937 votes while Ciaran Kenneally of Renua came in at 887.

Diarmaid O'Cadhla of the People's Convention polled 869 and Jim O'Connell of AAAPBP 795. Independents Joe Harris, Elizabeth Hourihane and Michael J Mohally won 350, 304 and 170 votes.

Speaking before the first count was announced, Buttimer told reporters at City Hall it would be a struggle to retain his seat, but he had not thrown in the towel yet.

He conceded their recovery message may have hit a few bum notes with those who haven't felt it.

"I feel for my colleagues across the country who have lost their seats today,” he said.

"But I stand up for it [democracy]. So I'll take the slings and the arrows and I'll take the applause and the negatives but today for those who have lost their seats- for their supporters, their families, just think about them.

"We're not out of the woods yet, we're still battling, but I haven't conceded it. It's going to be a long struggle.

“I think the [recovery] message was lost on a lot of people who didn't feel the recovery, the benefit of hindsight's a great thing.

"In this constituency, against the national trend, we're almost winning two seats, and that's a huge positive for me".


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