Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/583/7418
'The best fighter that money can't buy'
Joe Higgins, Ireland, elected as a socialist MEP
"Well done Mr Higgins, not bad for a "failed person" as per "Loo Lah Bertie". I think we all know who is the "failed person".
The above is just one of the many comments that have come into the Irish Socialist Party office since Monday. It refers to when the discredited former taoiseach (prime minister) Bertie Ahern referred to Joe Higgins in the Dáil as a "failed person" with a "failed ideology". How things have changed!
Joe Higgins' stunning victory in the Dublin Euro constituency, getting 12.5% of the first preference vote, out-polling Sinn Féin and defeating two sitting MEPs, was the final part in a weekend of drama and great election results for the Socialist Party in Ireland.
As well as Joe winning the Euro seat, in the local elections in Fingal, Clare Daly topped the poll in Swords with 3,192 votes (over 20%) and was re-elected; likewise for Joe himself in Castleknock with 3,787 votes (28%). The party got 2,747 votes (nearly 18%) in the Mulhuddart ward, which easily re-elected Ruth Coppinger.
The party got credible votes in all areas but made important gains, getting Terry Kelleher elected to Balbriggan Town Council and Frank Gallagher elected to the council in Drogheda.
Unfortunately, our councillor Mick Murphy lost out very narrowly in Tallaght Central in South Dublin, by two hundred votes. Tallaght Central was subsumed into a bigger area as a result of the boundary changes implemented last summer. That expansion and the swing to Labour made the election difficult, even though we came very close.
Our councillor Mick Barry in Cork was easily re-elected and topped the poll with 2,096 votes, (26.5%).
The Dublin Euro election was delayed because of a recount. It was clear this battle for the last seat in Dublin was down to a 'battle royale' between Joe Higgins and Eoin Ryan, former Minister - ie the Socialist Party versus Fianna Fáil, the main capitalist party in Ireland and the party of government for twelve years.
Ryan was over 11,000 votes ahead. Sinn Féin's MEP Mary Lou McDonald, who the Socialist Party had pushed into fifth position in the popular vote, was due for elimination and then her votes would be either transferred to Ryan or Higgins or be non-transferable.
Through the distorted mic the returning officer announced that Joe Higgins had got an additional 22,201 votes. People gathered at the count tensed, as that was on the lower side of what we wanted. But when it came out that Ryan got just 5,426, after a few seconds, there was then the realisation that we had indeed done it, that Joe was elected, the first CWI member in the European Parliament. Even though nearly 50% of the votes didn't transfer, the four to one ratio meant we were elected with a good surplus of 5,410 votes.
The local and European elections were a disaster for the governing Fianna Fáil and Green parties, and now the administration is very shaky. We will deal with the political and economic situation in Ireland and what the Socialist Party should do now in future articles, but for now we'll register this historic victory.
Dublin Socialist Party member
In The Socialist 10 June 2009:
Socialist Party election campaign analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party publication
International socialist news and analysis
Youth fight for jobs