Better Luck Next Time Baby…: 2011 General Election candidates with the lowest first preference votes

Adrian Kavanagh, 17th February 2016

Every hurling team cannot be Kilkenny. Every rugby team cannot be New Zealand. Every Eurovision country cannot be Ireland. For every poll-topper, there has to be the candidate at the bottom of the pile. While Enda Kenny, Shane Ross, Gerry Adams, Pearse Doherty, Michael Lowry, Michael Ring, Mick Wallace and Michael Noonan were notching up huge personal votes at the 2011 General Election, other candidates were not faring as well. But, as the experience of Luke Ming Flanagan shows, candidates who struggle to win votes in earlier elections can go on to bigger and better things. And sure, as they always say, you usually have to lose an election before you win one…

This post outlines the candidates who won the smallest numbers of first preference votes at the 2011 election.

Candidate Party Constituency Vote
Peadar O Ceallaigh FN Dublin South-East 18
Benny Cooney IND Dublin Central 25
John Keigher IND Dublin South-East 27
Sean Forkin IND Mayo 29
Liam Johnston FN Dublin Central 48
Matt Larkin IND Limerick City 59
Michael Cox IND Laois-Offaly 60
Robert Glynn IND Louth 61
Thomas Hollywood IND Dublin Central 65
Thomas King IND Galway West 65
John Dalton IND Carlow-Kilkenny 70
Eamonn Zaidan IND Dublin South 71
Gerard Kiersey IND Waterford 73
Kevin Carroll IND Wicklow 74
John Hyland IND Dublin Central 77
Noel Watson IND Dublin South-East 89
Gerard Linehan IND Cork South-Central 90
Sean Kearns IND Roscommon-South Leitrim 91
Finbarr O’Driscoll IND Cork South-Central 92
Fergus O’Rourke IND Cork North-Central 95

In total, 20 candidates (out of 566) fell into the category of candidates who won less than 100 first preference votes at the 2011 General Election (with six of these candidates winning less than 50 first preference votes). All of these were male candidates. Most (or 90%) of these candidates were independents, while Fis Nua accounted for the remaining two candidates/remaining 10%. A significant chunk of these candidates tended to be based in urban constituencies.

The candidate who polled the lowest overall vote in the state at this election was Fis Nua candidate, Peadar O Ceallaigh, who won 18 first preference votes in the Dublin South-East constituency.  He did, however, improve his vote numbers (increasing to 40 first preferences) when he contested the Dublin West by-election in that same year.



About Adrian Kavanagh

Lecturer at the Maynooth University Department of Geography. Email:
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