*Cllr Pat Burke (FG) celebrates. Photograph: Joe Buckley

COPIOUS amounts of tea were drank by Cllr Pat Burke (FG) over the past three months but it was all part of the ‘slow quality canvass’ which he swears by.

Success for Cllr Burke in his fourth election was achieved when he took the fourth seat in the Killaloe Municipal District on the sixth and final count, the third time on the bounce that he got elected without reaching the quota.

Speaking shortly after his latest successful run for office, the Whitegate man commented, “My fourth election, four in a row, the Limerick hurlers are going for six Munsters so I went for four in a row and I succeeded so it is great. They all say you will never forget your first election because it is unbelievable and I succeeded fifteen years ago in 2009 when I ran first, I was successful at my first attempt, I’ve been there ever since. It was nerve-wrecking for a while until you get the word from the shrewd observers that are telling you that you will be okay but it is a pity that the tallies were not that accurate in our area”.

Tallies in East Clare were exactly right for Cllr Tony O’Brien (FF) but they were almost 200 off for Cllr Joe Cooney (FG). “It is disappointing that my own box from Whitegate wasn’t tallied, it will show me getting 245 when I actually got my usual 300 plus. My daughter came too late because they hadn’t been notified, 85 papers had been sorted before she had arrived,” he said.

Of his four elections, this was the first whereby Pat faced direct competition directly in his catchment area with Fiona Levie (SD) and Audrey Flynn (GP) both of whom are living in Mountshannon running for office. “Given that I had the two candidates in the parish, Fiona Levie grew up next door to me, she lives in Mountshannon now and Audrey is in Mountshannon. Funnily enough in my four elections, my vote hasn’t varied much off 1,050”.

He gained 241 transfers from Levie following her elimination and 39 from Flynn. “I have to say Fiona Levie did very well for her first time and got votes in every box in bundles of twenties and thirties maybe as opposed to my own area of Whitegate and Mountshannon where she got some obviously but didn’t affect me hugely in my own parish”.

Photograph: Joe Buckley

Burke maintained there is a reason why he has maintained a consistent vote in the region of 1,050. “I don’t do any social media, none whatsoever, my phone is there and people ring me. I do emails obviously, I’m in a few WhatsApp groups but no Facebook, Instagram or anything, it is interesting to hear listening today and other candidates talk about the importance of social media, I’ve never done it, my canvass is different to most people. I’m delighted with my vote in Scariff which was up substantially on previous campaigns, slow quality canvassing, drinking tea in people’s houses.

“Two great men and I shouldn’t single out because I had so many great people helping me but Sean Minogue the hurler from the Feakle Rd a super young fella, everybody knows him and he is a good friend of mine and I got him into politics, his uncle got elected an hour ago in Newcastle West, Liam Galvin, his mother’s brother, he is die-hard Fine Gael like myself so Sean had no problem helping me. The other man who helps me is my farmer friend Pat Hassett. We were canvassing above Clonusker the other day, Pat asked if I had eaten so we went down to Mike Mac’s for the dinner, a few lads came in, I got them a drink and did a bit of canvassing, it took about an hour, Pat wanted a coffee after his dinner, he drank the coffee, we went out to the jeep and Pat said we had to go to a certain house, he identified a number of houses, we went up to a farmhouse and the woman asked if we’d like a cup of tea ‘God knows we would’ said Pat and we sat down”.

On his travels, the former Deputy Mayor of Clare noted how the elderly value the visit of candidates who want their vote. “Four examples of four elderly people, one man is ninety three, the other is ninety one in the East Clare area, both of them said when I arrived ‘God we were wondering what evening you were going to call’, imagine, it is so old fashioned it is unbelievable, they like to be asked for their vote but also the elderly like someone to come in and sit down and not rush away”.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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