THE numbers look good for Dara Calleary in Mayo but the Fianna Fáil candidate isn't celebrating just yet, writes Brian Gillespie.
It's a wait-and-see approach from the Ballina man until he crosses the finishing line, which could be a number of hours away yet.
The outgoing TD – the sole FF candidate elected five years ago – is not contemplating a scenario in which his party goes into government with Fine Gael either. Not yet at any rate.
Could it happen? “I'll answer that when I see the numbers. I don't have a seat yet; it's not guaranteed. We've a long way to go here. I might not be part of that decision,” he answers coyly.
On the subject of what motivated the electorate locally this time around, he's more vehement. “There's no recovery. It's two-tier geographically and it's two-tier socially.” How do you change that? “You change the government,” he answers firmly. “You change the way budgets favour the wealthiest, which the last five have. You try to ensure that people on lower to middle salaries, who are working every God-given hour, get a break – get a break on childcare costs, on mortgage interest relief, on variable mortgages, and I'm very strongly in favour of giving people back USC cuts because that puts money in people's pockets, and then they spend it.”
He concedes it has been a good day nationally for his party: “It shows that people responded to the campaign that we ran in terms of fairness. We ran fantastic candidates like Lisa (Chambers) here in Mayo, young candidates that ran in 2011 against a tsunami, got through the local elections in 2014 and now are in pole position to get elected. That's a whole new generation of people into the parliamentary party.”