'And I mean that sincerely, folks." Willie O'Dea eologises former running-mate.

Prof Honeydew

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Occasionally, one can be forgiven for doubting the sincerity of eulogies issued by politicians about former colleagues. But surely one could never harbour such thoughts regarding Willie O'Dea's comments following the death of Dr. Richard O'Flaherty, one of his two running-mates in the 1987 General Election..

'Highly respected' Limerick doctor Richard O'Flaherty passes away - Limerick Leader
“He was very upright, he was a very decent, straightforward individual who used to adopt causes occasionally and was very passionate about those causes,” said Deputy O’Dea. “I remember the general election in 1987, it was a time when the PDs were particularly strong and for a political novice he got quite a respectable vote...the timing was wrong, it was the worst time for a second or third string candidate to enter an election,” he added.
Back in 1986, Limerick East Fianna Fail was split down the middle when the PDs were formed under the leadership of Dessie O'Malley who was a sitting TD for the constituency. Rather than bemoaning the situation, O'Dea, the party's other TD, saw it as an opportunity to reorganise the local organisation with a purge Mao Tse-Tung would have been proud of. Going far beyond what Party HQ was looking for, snap cumann meetings were held wherever possible, anyone of suspect loyalties was deported to the gulags and nodding donkeys were installed in their place.

The casualty list contained very few O'Malleyistas as nearly all of them had already defected to the PDs. But it did include most of the independent-minded local supporters who were the backbone of the Party's overwhelming support in the rural part of Limerick East.

A year before the election took place, an early convention was called. Under normal circumstances, it would have been expected that O'Dea would have been nominated to concentrate on the FF vote in the City with one of the Castleconnell Ward Councillors to get out the vote in the County. Eddie Wade, who had a personal vote of his own in the Caherconlish-Ballyneety area was seen as the most likely candidate. With rural cumainn dominating the convention despite having a much smaller population than the City and suburbs, it was expected that an O'Dea/Wade ticket would be selected without any great controversy.

However, a few unusual decisions were taken by the Comhairle Dail Cheanntair before the delegates arrived in the Stella Ballroom. It was decided to have separate votes for City and County candidates and, despite the fact of him getting most of his votes in the City, O'Dea was declared to be a rural candidate. He then proceeded to beat Wade for the single slot available.

Seeing as FF were certain of one seat and had an outside chance of a second, it was assumed that there would be just one candidate for the City area even though that candidate would be decided by the votes of the rural delegates. Whether because of or despite not having any previous electoral exposure (figure out for yourself which one applied), Michael Parkes was expected to be the choice of those who had earlier plumped for O'Dea as the rural nominee. However, when supporters of former TD Micheal Herbert decided to throw their lot behind Parkes, some people thought he might be able to get enough of a vote to have a realistic shot at winning the second seat.

At this point, the convention took another unexpected twist and decided to have two urban candidates. To everyone's surprise, an even more obscure candidate, Richard O'Flaherty, swept the nomination.

Unfortunately, this electoral masterstroke of splitting the non-O'Dea urban vote, which wasn't very great in the first place, between two no-hopers didn't quite work out. O'Dea was elected on the first count with 1,000 votes over the quota of 8,269. O'Flaherty got 2,100, a quarter of a quota, and Parkes got a derisory 1,200, the lowest vote for a Fianna Fail candidate in the entire country. The PDs, meanwhile, picked up a second seat (leaving FF with just one) which they held for another ten years, despite polling way fewer first preferences than Fianna Fail in subsequent elections.

Ungrateful observers could conclude that O'Flaherty served his purpose in making sure that an O'Dea running-mate wasn't elected in three elections, even if it meant the party throwing away a seat they should have won in three very tight national results. But they would say that, wouldn't they?
 


Alan Alda

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Never knew much about his politics, not remotely interested in them ,tbh.
He was simply a brilliant GP.
RIP
 

Felixness

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Ah Willie!! There are many decent Limerick people, but Willie is elected time and time again because he is largely responsible for keeping the workshy in Limerick on benefits and medical cards.
 

automaticforthepeople

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To be fair to Willie, few do humility as well as he does it. Willie is so lucky to inhabit the same body as himself.

[video=youtube;scVQ54LCU14]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scVQ54LCU14[/video]
 

im axeled

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Ah Willie!! There are many decent Limerick people, but Willie is elected time and time again because he is largely responsible for keeping the workshy in Limerick on benefits and medical cards.
oh how to be so so very wrong
 


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