Election 2020: The low-profile Sinn Féin candidates who have done well

Patricia Ryan during campaign in Kildare South went on holiday but still topped poll

A number of low-profile Sinn Féin candidates who lost out on council seats last year have topped the poll after a historic day for the party.

In Wexford, Johnny Mythen was elected with 19,000 votes, becoming the party’s first TD in the county in 100 years.

Mr Mythen, who lost his council seat just nine months ago, captured 18,717 first-preference votes, or 24.75 per cent of the total. The quota to be deemed elected in the constituency was 12,513. A former ESB worker, Mr Mythen was also a trade-union representative.

Sinn Féin candidate Sorca Clarke, who lost her Westmeath council seat last year when she got 5.8 per cent of the vote, looked set to top the poll in Longford-Westmeath on Sunday night.


The Mullingar-based qualified accountant, who runs a security business in the Midlands with her husband, received 21.1 per cent of the vote, according to tallies, ahead of Fianna Fáil’s sitting TD Robert Troy, who was originally tipped to take the first seat.

In Clare, Violet-Anne Wynne was also set to top the poll in another electoral shock, with tallies giving her 8,700 first-preference votes.

Ms Wynne, a home-help provider and mother of five, ran for the local elections in the west Clare area last May, polling only 4.2 per cent of the vote and 385 votes before an early elimination. She was the last candidate of any party to be selected in Clare in the general election.


Another low-profile candidate who was on course for a victory is Patricia Ryan, the Sinn Féin candidate in Kildare South, who was criticised for taking a holiday during the election campaign.

A party spokesperson had previously explained Ms Ryan received a short holiday as a Christmas gift from her children, “and the dates couldn’t be changed at short notice”. She topped the poll on the first count.

In Meath West, Johnny Guirke was elected on the first count.

The Oldcastle-based councillor polled 12,652 first-preference votes, exceeding the quota of 10,377.

“I did drop the phone in shock when I got word that I was going to top the poll. I knew from the doorsteps that we were going to do well, but I never, ever expected to do this well,” Mr Guirke said.

“It will take a few days to sink in but I’ll be proud to represent my party and the people in the Dáil and try and address the main issues in Meath West which include housing, mental health, childcare costs, the rail line and support for parents with children with disabilities.”

The married father of four has been a Meath county councillor since 2014 and spent 18 years in Boston, where he was a founding member of the Aidan McAnespie GAA club.

There was shock in Tipperary as well, as Sinn Féin’s Martin Browne looked set to secure a seat. He also lost his seat in the local elections last year. The father of four has campaigned on providing access to more social and affordable housing.

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times