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It turns out 'an awful lot of people' have already voted for John McNulty

Even though the Fine Gael candidate has effectively withdrawn from the race.

John McNulty
John McNulty
Image: Fine Gael via Flickr

Updated 12.28pm 

“AN AWFUL LOT of people” from the government benches have already voted for the withdrawn Seanad candidate John McNulty, a government minister has said this morning.

Environment Minister and Labour deputy leader Alan Kelly told reporters that he has formed the view over the last two days that many people on the government side have already voted in the by-election for the vacant Seanad seat and voted for McNulty.

The electorate is made up of every member of the Dáil and Seanad.

On Tuesday, the Fine Gael candidate asked not to be considered in the by-election following controversy over his appointment to a state board six days before he was confirmed as a Seanad candidate.

“I think an awful lot of people from a government perspective have already voted and voted for Mr McNulty,” Kelly told reporters in Tallaght this morning.

“I have formed the opinion over the last 48 hours that many people have already voted.”

Labour Leadership Contests Source: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Many TDs and Senators received their ballot paper on Monday but early indications were that they hadn’t voted by the time McNulty made his withdrawal announcement.

However there is now growing belief around Leinster House that even though he does not wish to be considered McNulty will be backed by coalition TDs and Senators.

Kelly (above) said that he personally has not voted but said that he would “certainly be considering voting for him”. Earlier, Fine Gael senator Colm Burke told RTÉ he had already voted for McNulty before the withdrawal was announced.

In the Dáil this afternoon, Tánaiste Joan Burton would not be drawn on whether she will be instructing her party’s Oireachtas members to support McNulty.

On the McNulty debacle, she said: ”I have not heard anything beyond what I have heard or read in the public media, or heard here in the Dáil.”

Yesterday, two government ministers, Richard Bruton and Ged Nash, would not be drawn on who they are voting for, pointing out it is a secret ballot.

Were McNulty to win the by-election he could then conceivably resign his Seanad seat and the by-election process could be re-run. Alternatively, he could take his seat in the upper house.

There are two other candidates in the race, former TUI president Gerard Craughwell, who is running as an independent, and Sinn Féin councillor Catherine Seeley.

First published 12.07pm

State of the Nation: Noonan to the rescue

Read: ‘This story is unravelling as it gets made up’: Yep, they’re still talking ‘McNulty-gate’ in the Dáil

 

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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