EVERY election has casualties and this time it was outgoing Fianna Fail TD, Bobby Aylward. It would be hard to find anyone without something bad to say abut this man. He was rewarded for his loyalty to his party by losing his seat. He did not waver in his support for party leader Brian Cowen when it would have been politically expedient to criticise him. Also he did not hide the Fianna Fail logo on his posters and did not have the huge media campaign that his Fianna Fail running mate in Kilkenny city had, John McGuinness. Deputy McGuinness who bucked the trend and became on of the few Fianna Fails TDs to hold his or her seat, should be delighted with his performance but it would seem that t was bobby Aylward who paid the price for the mistakes of the Fianna Fail government over the years and for the banking crisis.
If he had been militant against the leadership he might well have kept his seat. That is not to criticise John McGuiness who did what he had to do to get elected and everyone agrees, whether they would like to or not, there is no harder grafter in Dail Eireann than John McGuinness.
However, Bobby Aylward can have reason to criticise the way her was treated by new leader Michael Martin who decided that Aylward had no chance and decided to back John McGuinness, to come down to Mullinavat for an event on the Wednesday night before the election was far too little too late. Not that you will hear any complaints from Bobby Aylward, It is not in his personality and he does not look back and he was seen out on the tractor on Monday working away on the farm at Knockmoylan, Mullinavat. If ever there was a man with his priorities right it is Bobby Aylward.
Both Bobby Aylward and John McGuinness always voted with the government but it was Aylward and not McGuinness that threatened not to do so on a number of occasions over different issues.
Another major reason for Bobby Aylward losing his seat was the incredible performance of John Paul Phelan who took crucial votes off Aylward all over the south: Mullinavat, Hugginstown, Piltown, Slieverue and Glenmore. This was really the difference between winning and losing.
The Alyward vote did not collpase. It shrank.
Fianna Fail may be on the ropes but all is not lost. Their seems to be an heir apparent in the Aylward clan to carry on their way of rural politicking. Cllr Eamon Aylward proudly flew the Aylward flag on Saturday and Sunday and was among the first to congratulate the winning TDs.
Finally it was great to see Bobby Aylward leave Cillin Hill on Saturday night with his son Bob, both of them in good spirits and heading south but this time without the entourage of hangers on.