By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — Health Minister Micheal Martin was the top vote getter in the election, securing 1.6 quotas and a total first-preference vote of 14,764 in his Cork South Central constituency.
He beat junior Education Minister Willie O’Dea into second place. O’Dea got 1.58 quotas and 13,174 votes in his Limerick East constituency.
The others in the top 10 were Foreign Minister Brian Cowen, 12,529 votes, 1.19 quotas in Laois-Offaly; Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, 10,896 votes, 1.6 quotas in Dublin Central; Denis (Dino) Cregan, FF TD, 10,823 votes, 1.21 quotas in Limerick West, and Ned O’Keeffe, former junior Agriculture minister, 10,574 votes, 1.15 quotas in Cork East.
Meanwhile, outgoing Fiine Gael party leader Michael Noonan had 9,451 votes, 1.13 quotas in Limerick East, andFinance Minister Charlie McCreevy had 9,082 votes, 1.1 quotas in Kildare North.
The battle for votes is so competitive that junior Agriculture Minister Eamon O Cuiv, a grandson of former President and Taoiseach Eamon de Valera, changed his name by deed poll and dropped the “O” from his surname.
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This meant that instead of being down the list of 17 names of the candidates on the Galway West ballot paper, he appeared much further up on the basis of his name beginning with “C” instead of “O”.