South Tipp puts Michael D. Higgins top of the poll

Aileen Hahesy

Aileen Hahesy

The Presidential election and Referendum results in South Tipperary broadly mirrored the national outcome with Michael D Higgins topping the poll in the presidential poll and the electorate narrowly rejecting the Houses of the Oireachtas Inquiries Referendum but overwhelmingly voting in favour of the judges pay referendum.

A total of 32,618 voted in the Presidential election in South Tipperary, which translates to a 57.94% turnout, slightly above the national turnout of 56.1%.

Michael D Higgins topped the poll in the constituency achieving 11,411 first preference votes (35.36%) just over 400 votes ahead of his nearest rival, the Independent Sean Gallagher, who polled 11,003 first preferences or (34.1%) of the vote.

Local Labour Party public representatives and activists celebrated Mr Higgins poll topping performance in the constituency and Mayor of Clonmel Labour Cllr Darren Ryan congratulated him on his victory and expressed the hope that he will visit Clonmel again over the next year.

“We had the great honour of having him in the Town Hall in Clonmel three weeks ago. It’s great to see that we were with the national trend in South Tipperary. I want to extend my congratulations to him and look forward to welcoming him to the town again,” he told The Nationalist at the South Tipperary count centre at Banna Cluain Meala following the announcement of the First Count shortly after 5.15pm last Friday.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath, who backed Sean Gallagher’s candidacy, was also at the count centre. He said he wasn’t surprised that Gallagher was beaten by Higgins. He knew Gallagher had “blown it” after watching his performance on RTE’s The Frontline the Monday night before the election.

“It was very easy to canvas for him with young people and old people but he got caught trying to ride two horses. If he left Fianna Fail, he should have made a clean break from the party,” said the former Fianna Fail TD.

Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness was in third place securing 4,188 first preferences of 13% of the vote, which reflected the vote he received nationally.

Fine Gael’s Gay Mitchell polled poorly securing 2,517 first preferences or 7.8% of the vote in South Tipperary, which was also in line with his performance nationally in the election.

Independents David Norris, Dana Rosemary Scallon and Mary Davis filled the last three places. Norris received 1415 first preferences (4.38%) while Dana secured 975 first preferences (3.02%), nearly 200 votes ahead of Mary Davis, who secured 761 first preferences or (2.36%) of the constituency vote.

In the referendum polls, the voters of South Tipperary very narrowly rejected the Houses of the Oireachtas Inquiries Referendum by just 879 votes (51). A total ovf 16,195 vote against while 15,316 voted in favour. The turnout was 57.83%. The Judges Remuneration Referendum, however, was carried by an overwhelming majority in the constituency. There were a total of 25,498 (78%) votes in favour and just 6,147 (18.9%) against.