Source: Irish Times (19 May '00)
The main feature of the results of the May Vice Presidential election was the runaway success of Jack O'Connor, who received 70,722, 66.8% of the vote, the highest ever percentage in the four elections since 1997. The winners of the first three elections got 58%, 50% and 44%, with absolute figures of just off 50,000 each. Carolann's votes were (rounded) 38,000, 21,000, 25,000 and, this time, 16,278. Her precentages were 42%, 21%, 22% and, this time, 15%.
She has dropped from the plateau she maintained after her shock success in 1997, but not by very much. Given that Jack O'Connor was an incredibly strong candidate, with appeal at all levels of the Union that surpassed even that of Des Geraghty when he ran for VP, the 'rest of the field' constituted a race of its own. Here Carolann was a real contender coming second overall and leading a pack which included a Regional Secretary and a potentially strong 'sweeper' who only swept up 6% of the votes.
In the last election (General Secretary in 1998), though her vote and percentage was greater, the running Regional Secretary beat her into second place. Though the slide cannot be dismissed, the second (if much smaller) cohort of SIPTU voting members chose Carolann and what she stands for.
She was the only candidate to stand in more than one of the four contests, and she stood in all four, at, we know, great personal cost to herself. We appreciate it. Well done (as Gay would say) again! Compared to the recent elections in Britain's biggest union, UNISON, where only 11% of the membership voted, it's all very favourable.
Our union's President, Des Geraghty, has said that "all the gains of national wage agreements over the past twelve years were being wiped out by the rapid rise in house prices". (SIPTU Newsline, March 27th, page 6). Des told this to the Oireachtas Committee on the Environment and Local Government Éafter union members had followed his advice and voted for PPF. Before that vote he was telling us that partnership agreements were the best thing since sliced bread and we had never had it so good. Cynical or what?