Election 2020 sees big two become big three

Voting and counting for General Election 2020 is over, but now comes the hard part, the formation of a government from 160 TDs representing a variety of political ideologies. Last weekend’s election sent a shiver through the established order as Sinn Féin joined Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil at the top table, and it’s anyone’s guess what form the new government will take.
In Cork East, the four successful parties in 2016 were victorious again, but there were major shifts, with Sinn Fein’s Pat Buckley, who took the fourth and final seat four years ago, topping the poll by some distance this time round, leaving Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour fighting for the other three seats. There was a lot of uncertainty early on as to who would win a seat, with Seán Sherlock, David Stanton and Kevin O’Keeffe all at risk, depending on who you spoke to, but as day turned to night, Sherlock steadily amassed transfers to keep him ahead of Stanton, while O’Keeffe looked nervously over his shoulder at his running mate James O’Connor. Of these four, one had to lose out, and in the end it was O’Keeffe, while Sherlock had the satisfaction of reaching the quota and being elected, while Stanton and O’Connor were elected without reaching the quota.
In Cork North West, the stranglehold on the three seats by the Fianna Gael/Fianna Fáil duopoly was maintained, but Ciarán McCarthy of the Social Democrats and Becky Kealy of Aontú made a strong showing, and one wonders what would have happened if Sinn Féin had decided to put up a can-didate in the constituency. In the end, though, the trio of Michael Creed (Fine Gael), Aindrias Moynihan (Fianna Fáil) and Michael Moynihan (Fianna Fáil) were returned, with Fine Gael’s John Paul O’Shea not only missing out, but being relegated to fifth place by a transfer surge for Ciarán McCarthy.
In Cork North Central, Thomas Gould (Sinn Féin), Padraig O’Sullivan (Fianna Fáil), Colm Burke (Fine Gael) and Mick Barry (Irish Solidarity – People Before Profit) took the four seats on offer.
For a full rundown of the counts in Cork East and Cork North West, see pages 36-44.