The local results of last week’s presidential election have given political parties in Donegal a lot to consider.
Still, while the county’s electorate did not follow national trends in their presidential voting, Donegal voters reflected the mood of the country when it came to the referendums: Donegal voters said no to the proposal to give the Oireachtas powers of investigation and supported the proposition to cut judges’ pay by a wide margin.
Sinn Féin emerged the strongest political party in terms of votes cast in the presidential election. Fine Gael’s coalition partner, Labour, overtook them in the Donegal presidential balloting, But worse still from the Fine Gael perspective is the fact that two of the four independent candidates, Seán Gallagher and Dana Rosemary Scallon, both outpolled Fine Gael’s Gay Mitchell in each of the two Donegal constituencies.
Voter turnouts, 48.8 percent in Donegal North-East and 48.4 percent in Donegal South-West, gave an indication that this contest lacked the excitement of the local and general elections. The two count centres, usually scenes of big crowds and high energy, remained very quiet throughout the two-day count.
Still out of 59,650 valid votes, only 680 were spoiled.
One of the most interesting results in Donegal was the performance from the man with his roots in Killygordon, Seán Gallagher. A clear favourite last weekend, opinion turned against him following The Frontline television debate last Monday night on RTÉ One.
But Mr. Gallagher’s huge personal vote in Donegal South-West, where he topped the poll with 9,912 or 32.3 percent in the first count, has prompted speculation that he could be approached to run as an independent candidate in a future general election. It is understood that he secured a large number of votes from the Finn Valley area, a location that has been demanding its own TD over the past number of years.