Arise Sligo-North Leitrim! A Geography of Seanad Election 2011 results

Adrian Kavanagh 3rd May 2011

Seanad Election 2011 candidates by constituency

Seanad Election 2011 candidates by constituency

So the final contests of the general elections of 2011 have now come to an end and we can now review the results of the Seanad Election 2011 vocational panel contests. 120 candidates contested these – 17 contesting the five-seat Cultural and Education panel, 19 constesting the seven-seat Administrative panel, 35 (!!!) constesting the nine-seat Industrial and Commerical panel, 28 constesting the eleven-seat Agricultural panel and 21 constesting the eleven-seat Labour panel. 78 of these candidates were nominated by the “outside” Nominating Bodies, while 42 were nominated by Oireachtas members (“inside” sub-panel). 25 of the candiates were female (20.8%), with a higher percentage of females nominated on the “inside” panel (10 – 23.8% of total) than on the “outside” panel (15 – 19.2% of total). As discussed in an earlier post (and as illustrated in the above map), there were a very definite geography to the Seanad Election 2011 candidate nominations with a significant number of candidates hailing from mainly rural areas in the North-West, Midlands and South-East regions. 84 Seanad Election 2011 candidates (68.3%) hailed from rural constituencies, as against a total of just 39 (31.7%) from the urban constituencies (taken here to be the Dublin constituencies, Cork North Central, Cork South Central, Limerick City and Galway West). 39 candidates hailed from Munster constituencies, with 32 coming from Leinster, 27 coming from Connacht-Ulster and 25 coming from Dublin. With ten candidates, Sligo-North Leitrim was easily the constituency with the largest number of Seanad Election 2011 candidates, followed by Laois-Offaly (7) and Carlow-Kilkenny (6).

Votes for Seanad Election 2011 candidates by constituency
Votes for Seanad Election 2011 candidates by constituency

Outside panel candidates won 2,973 votes (55.8% of the total vote) in these constests while inside panel candidates won 2,355 (44.2%).  The higher number of votes won by outside panel candidates reflected, however, the fact that there were more of these (78 candidates, as against 42 inside panel candidates). In terms of the average votes won by candidates, inside panel candidates fared better, winning an average of 56.1 votes as against an average of 38.1 votes being won by outside panel candidates.

The 25 female candidates contesting the election won a total of 1,277 votes (23.0% of the total vote) and females canddiates won an average of 49.1 votes in these contests, faring much better than the male candidates who won an average of 43.2 votes. Dublin based female candidates were the most successful by far, winning 428 votes (52.7% of votes won by candidates from that region). By contrast, female candidates from Connacht-Ulster won 320 votes (20.4% of votes won by candidates from that region), as against 270 (14.2%) votes won by Munster-based female candidates and 209 (19.9%) votes won by Leinster-based female candidates.

There was, not surprisingly, a distinct geographical dimension to the votes cast in these Seanad panel contests with the bulk of these going to candidates from rural constituencies, although some of the Dublin constituencies (Dublin Central, Dublin South East, Dublin South and Dun Laoghaire) fared relatively better than others in this region. Candidates from rural constituencies won 3,797 votes (71.2% of total votes) in the five contests, while urban-based candidates only won 1,533 votes (28.8%). Rural candidates won an average of 45.2 votes in these contests, while urban canddiates proved to be somewhat less successful in attracting votes, winning an average of 39.3 votes. That said, Dublin-based candidates proved to be marginally more successful in attracting votes than those from the Leinster region – Dublin-based candidates winning an average of 32.5 votes against an average of 32.2 votes for those hailing from Leinster constituencies. But both these regions paled in comparison with the other two regions, with candidates from Connacht-Ulster proving to be the most successful in winning votes (with an average of 58.0 per candidate) just ahead of those from the Munster region (with an average of 48.8 per candidate). That said, Munster candidates won the biggest share of the total vote (35.7%), ahead of the 29.4% share won by candidates from Connacht-Ulster, the 19.7% share won by Leinster candidates and the 15.2% won by Dublin candidates. Sligo-North Leitrim was the most successful constituency by far in terms of how well its candidates did in attracting votes – the ten candidates from this constituency winning a total of 454 votes (8.5% of the national total – an amazing haul for a three-seat Dail constituency). The next most successful constituency was Kerry South, whose five candidates – four of whom were successful – proved especially adept in winning votes, winning a total of 313 votes (62.6 votes per canddiates, an even higher average vote than that won by the Sligo-North Leitrim candidates (45.4) in these contests). The next most successful constituencies were Cork North-Central (274), Cyavan-Monaghan (270), Waterford (255), Galway West (251) and Laois-Offaly (214), although the number of votes won by the six Laois-Offaly candidates proved a relatively meagre tally given the number of candidates hailing from this constituency (average of 30.6 votes per candidate).

Seanad Election 2011 seats won by constituency

Seanad Election 2011 seats won by constituency

As the map above shows, Sligo-North Leitrim again dominated the rest of the field when it came to the number of seats won per constituency. Five seats were won by candidates hailing from this constituency (Paschal Mooney, Imelda Henry, Susan O’Keeffe, Michael Comiskey and Marc McSharry), accounting for 11.6% of all the seats in the state and well in excess of the three seats this constituency has for Dail elections. Leitrim deserves special mention – in 2007 there was no Leitrim candidate elected in either the general or the senate election but in 2011 the North Leitrim region alone saw Michael Colreavy (SF) elected to Dail Eireann and Mooney and Comiskey elected to the Seanad. 

The next most successful constituency was Kerry South, with four of the five candidates hailing from this constituency being elected to the Seanad. A number of other constituencies, as the map above shows, were successful in having two candidates elected, including one Dublin constituency – Dublin South East – in addition to Cork North Central, Cyavan-Monaghan, Roscommon-South Leitrim, Clare, Galway West, Tipperary South, Waterford and Wexford. Despite the large number of candidates hailing from these constituencies, only one candidate was elected from both Laois-Offaly and Carlow-Kilkenny, suggesting that seats per constituency levels did not exactly mirror candidate nomination patterns.

Munster proved to be the most successful region in terms of the number of seats won (17), followed closely by Connacht-Ulster (15), with Leinster (6) and Dublin (5) trailing well behind these other two regions.

Outside panel candidates proved to be somewhat more successful, winning 23 seats as against the 20 seats won by inside panel candidates.

Ten female candidates won seats in this election (23.3% of the total number of seats) with female candidates from Dublin proving to be especially successful – the four successful female candidates from this region accounting for 80% of the total number of seats won by Dublin candidates. Four female candidates (two of whom hailed from Sligo) were also elected in the Connacht-Ulster region (26.7% of the total number of seats won by this reigon) while just two seats were won by Munster-based female candidates (11.8% of seats won by Munster candidates) and no female candidate from the Leinster region proved to be successful in these elections.


About Adrian Kavanagh

Lecturer at the Maynooth University Department of Geography. Email:
This entry was posted in Candidates, Constituency information, Election data, Electoral Geography (voting maps), Gender, Seanad election. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Arise Sligo-North Leitrim! A Geography of Seanad Election 2011 results

  1. Pingback: Seanad Elections 2016 – A Final Overview | Irish Elections: Geography, Facts and Analyses

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