Kehoe relieved after holding onto his seat

Published 11/03/2016 | 00:00

A relieved Paul Kehoe addressing the crowd at the Wexford count centre after his seat was secured.
A relieved Paul Kehoe addressing the crowd at the Wexford count centre after his seat was secured.
Eddie Nangle from Enniscorthy congratulates Paul Kehoe's wife Brigid after the declaration.

A very relieved Paul Kehoe said that the most important task facing the new Government is bringing stability to the country.

Paul who clung onto his seat following a gruelling count and recount last week said that the whole weekend had been an 'emotional rollercoaster'.

'After reflecting on the whole thing I'm very relieved that it worked out. It was a very tough couple of days, a rollercoaster really. I'm very relieved that it all worked out, not just for myself but for my family, my supporters and the Fine Gael party.

'I'm glad to be going back into Government representing Wexford at national and local level.'

Paul said that he hadn't expected to be fighting it out for the last seat. 'Absolutely I didn't expect to be in the position I was in. Everyone was saying that Paul Kehoe's seat was safe but it absolutely wasn't safe. I needed all the votes, from 1 to 17, to retain it. But at the same time a win is a win. It is tough on the candidate left in the race but there was only going to be one winner and that's politics.

'It was an awful time for my family, friends and supporters. I had a great team who had been out every day since the election was called and it was tough on everyone.'

Paul said that although he and his wife Bridget tried to keep their children away from the drama at the count his 5-year-old daughter Sinead had been quick to pick up on things asking him if he was going to lose his job. After the recount on Monday he delightedly mentioned her in his speech telling her that thankfully he still had his job!

His mother was also delighted and had stayed at the count until 6am on Sunday morning as the Kehoe's faced an anxious wait. However she missed out on the moving tribute that Paul paid to her and his late father immediately after his election.

'She missed the announcement but heard it on the radio. We hadn't expected to end as suddenly as it did so she wasn't there.'

However he said she had been delighted by his speech.

With no indication on what alliances will be formed to create a new government Paul said that his first day back in Dail Eireann on Thursday will be an interesting one. 'Nobody knows yet what Government will be formed. Our first day back is Thursday and the Taoiseach has been meeting with different groups and Independents this week to see if a government can be formed.

'If no government is formed by then it will continue on as it until a deal is reached.'

For the past five years Paul was the Government Chief Whip but said he has no indication if he will receive a Cabinet position under the new government.

'We may wait until a new Government is formed before any talk of jobs. I'm not sure what the make up of it (the Government) will be but I want to see a good Government for the country and the economy, one that will stability. The people don't want another General Election.

'Fine Gael has the largest majority in the Dail and we have to put together a Government, one that will continue on the work of the last Government.'

With just months before a new budget must be costed it is likely that the economy will be front and centre for the new Government.

'People want stability. They don't want to return to the polls. We need stability now. That's what people want. We have to make it work and I'm willing to work to help make things work for the future of the country.

'This is far wider than politics. The eyes of the world are looking in on Ireland. There was huge financial investment in the country and a stable economy is vital for the future.'

Wexford People

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