TWICE bitten but certainly not twice shy. Even after two electoral defeats within nine months, Fianna Fáil candidate Pauline Flanagan vows that she “absolutely” will be back.
Speaking shortly before her elimination after the third count on Sunday night, she was devastated by the result but still determined to return to the electoral fray in future.
Having received 1,744 first preferences, she said: “Initially, I was very disappointed, but that’s just the way the cookie crumbled for me. I put everything into the campaign, so I feel I can hold my head up high. I absolutely will go again.”
The Portlaoise-based general election candidate lost the ‘Jerry Lodge’ FF seat in the local elections last May, having been co-opted to Laois County Council the previous year. Despite the poor omens of that defeat, she put herself forward and was selected as deputy Seán Fleming’s running mate for the general election.
A lecturer in IT Carlow, she insists that it was not a mistake to contest the general election in view of her local election defeat. She said: “It was definitely not a mistake, because I learned so much from losing that council seat and I wanted to put what I learned into practice during the general election campaign. Even though I lost again, I will keep trying because of all the ordinary people I met, that I feel I would be in a position to help if I were elected. I’m very compassionate and I know I would have the ability to make a difference.”
The 52-year-old described election 2020 as very volatile, with a Sinn Féin surge that would not have been anticipated following the last year’s local elections. She said: “Looking around the country, candidates who did not succeed in getting a county council seat last May are topping the poll now in the general election, just nine months later. I don’t think anyone could have predicted that.”
Already looking ahead to the next political outing, she added: “I fully respect that the electorate has spoken loudly and clearly. Well done to Brian Stanley (SF) and everyone who has succeeded. It just wasn’t my day.”