*Caimin Jones at the Count Centre in The Falls Hotel. Photograph: John Mangan
Founder of Clare FM and ex RTÉ broadcaster, Caimin Jones believed the 2020 General Election was the most remarkable since 1992.
Prediction: Timmy Dooley (FF), Pat Breen (FG), Cathal Crowe (FF), Michael McNamara (IND)
“First of all, I should refasten my crystal ball gazing skills, I was half right, I also said that Fine Gael would lose a seat which it did but I picked the wrong man. I suspected there was a surge in Sinn Féin support, I never thought at all that an unknown candidate could sweep to the top of the poll as Violet-Anne Wynne did. In my years in Clare, it was most the remarkable election since 1992 when Moosajee Bhamjee turned Clare politics on its head with his election.
“I’m delighted Michael McNamara is returning to the Dáil, his election was a mighty achievement, he started with a huge disadvantage with family bereavements to cope with at the beginning of the campaign, at the same time he had the character and the determination to get down to work. He is a highly intelligent articulate man and I think he will once again be a very good TD for Clare.
“Violet-Anne Wynne’s success was almost entirely to do with brand Sinn Féin, there was a tsunami of support for the party across the country and she was part of that. I’ve been listening to her on a number of broadcasts, she is quietly impressive, she is somebody who I think is intelligent, she speaks well, she has a certain humility which I normally don’t associate with Sinn Féin in the sense that I have heard her saying that she has a lot to learn and she is now beginning that process. Clare hasn’t had a women TD since Síle de Valera, so her election is a welcome move towards gender balance in our Dáil representation.
“Joe Carey is the great survivor, he is someone who plays on a different level from other politicians, he is very good at constituency work, he is a people’s man and looks after what appear to be small but to many people are very important issues in their lives. He gives a good service and I think he was rewarded for that.
“Cathal Crowe’s success was not a surprise at all. He has been a very forthright Mayor for Clare, his focus on the RIC controversy catapulted him into the national headlines. He has a record of achievement, he is a highly intelligent fellow, he is very energetic, he seems to be on fire at the moment, I think he will make a very good TD for Clare”.
“I am sorry and commiserate with Timmy Dooley, he was a hard working TD, an articulate man who represented the county well. He lost his position on the front bench, largely of his own doing, votegate had some impact but it wasn’t the deciding factor, it was an issue throughout the campaign which didn’t go away.
“Similarly for Pat Breen, whatever people may say about him, he was an extremely hard worker, he has a record of achievement in serving the people of the county. Sometimes his presentation didn’t always allow for that to shine through because sometimes like Fine Gael in general seemed to project a disconnect between the realities of people’s lived experience and what people may call the Leinster House and the Departmental bubble.
“There is a huge responsibility facing our four TDs. We do need a stable Government to continue our good economy and more importantly to attempt to solve the huge issues of housing, homelessness, health and the quality of life issues people are so concerned about. To protect what we have and advance towards a better Ireland we must ensure that the politics is kept within the parliamentary system and not taken to the streets, if we don’t respond to the needs of people that is where it will end up and it will make the Irish Water charges protest and other protests seem very small compared to what might happen if the present unhappiness that people feel is not dealt with”.