FIVE years ago Paudie Coffey and John Deasy collected 20,416 first preference votes within the constituency, meaning Fine Gael’s candidates collected 38.1% of votes in Waterford.
This year that percentage has slipped to 28.7%, with the duo leaking 5,566 votes; the second worst loss in the constituency behind only the Labour Party. Ciara Conway’s 2,268 is 3,386 less than 2011, and that’s without taking into account the absence of Seamus Ryan’s 4,638 first preferences.
Where there are winners there are losers, with Fianna Fail’s and Sinn Fein making significant gains in the number of first preference votes received. Butler received over 3,000 more votes than Brendan Kenneally did in the previous general election, roaring home on the first count.
Sinn Fein’s improvement between now and 2011 has been the most substantial. David Cullinane received 9.9% of first preference votes five years ago, and that figure has climber to 18.8% this time around. The party have traditionally struggled to receive transfers from elsewhere but after a voting return of 9,739 during the first count, Cullinane is tantalisingly close to reaching the quota of 10,341 today.