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What next for Fine Gael?

Monday, 2nd December, 2019 11:29am

With the Cork North-Central by-election done and dusted, what does the result will mean for the next general election, likely to take place next May?
Fianna Fáil’s Padraig O’Sullivan, who was the bookies’ strong favourite, was declared elected on Saturday to fill the seat his partymate Billy Keheller vacated when he was elected as an MEP in May.
Fine Gael’s candidate Senator Colm Burke was expected to be the runner up in Friday's by-election, however Sinn Féin Cllr Thomas Gould seems to have upset the apple cart ending up as the runner up behind Fianna Fáil's latest TD.  Senator Burke ended up gaining the third largest number of votes.
Could this result be a sign that Fine Gael will struggle in the next general election as the party was unsuccessful in this and the three other by-elections across the country with Fianna Fáil taking the Wexford seat and Sinn Féin and the Green Party taking seats in Dublin Mid-West and Dublin Fingal?
Commenting on Fine Gael failing to win a seat, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar took to Twitter to say: “Well done to our Fine Gael candidates. Second place in three out of four contests. If same results were repeated in a general election, all four would be elected. By-elections are different though.”
The electorate for Cork North-Central was 85,524, however turnout was low with just over 30 per cent taking to the polls last Friday leaving a quota of 12,784. O’Sullivan was elected on the tenth count without reaching with quota with 11,633 votes while Gould secured 8,044. 
Charlie Keddy (Ind) was eliminated on the first count after only securing 49 votes. Thomas Kiely (Ind) was eliminated on the second count, James Coughlan (WP) and Martin Condon (Ind) on the third and Sinead Halpin (SD) on the fourth. Aontú’s Finian Toomey was eliminated after the fifth count and Cllr Fiona Ryan (Sol) after the sixth vote. 
Green Party Cllr Oliver Moran’s votes were next to be distributed after count seven. Count eight saw Cllr John Maher of Labour eliminated and the ninth count eliminated Senator Colm Burke. 

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