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Dublin: 4°C Sunday 5 December 2021

Big FF names tumble in second Seanad election

Former junior ministers Martin Mansergh and Sean Connick both fail in bids to win election to the Administrative panel.

Former junior minister Martin Mansergh secured the support of a mere 9 voters in the Seanad elections.
Former junior minister Martin Mansergh secured the support of a mere 9 voters in the Seanad elections.
Image: Julien Behal/PA Archive

TWO OF FIANNA FÁIL’S big names have failed in their bids to win seats in the Seanad following their bitter general election defeats, as counting in the second of the Seanad’s five vocational panels continues.

Former junior ministers Martin Mansergh, who lost his seat in Tipperary South in February, and former Wexford deputy Seán Connick both failed to gather the support of enough Fianna Fáil councillors, senators and TDs to make it into the Seanad’s Agricultural panel.

Former fisheries minister Connick secured just 25 of the 1,066 votes cast, while Mansergh was dealt a bitter blow with the backing of just nine fellow Fianna Fáilers.

The party seems set to take three (or potentially four) of the panel’s 11 seats, with Donegal’s incumbent senator Brían Ó Domhnaill – one of Micheál Martin’s ten preferred candidates – likely to make it home safely on the basis of transfers from other poorer FF performers. There may not be similar luck for another Martin-backed candidate, outgoing Louth senator James Carroll, who seemed set to fall short of election when counting adjourned last night.

Labour’s James Heffernan topped the poll, and had last night been joined by Fine Gael incumbent Paddy Burke in being returned. Sinn Féin was set to win just its second ever seat, with Trevor Ó Clochartaigh – a defeated candidate in Galway West in the general election – winning 82 votes, not far short of the quota of 88.83 votes.

Burke, who has served as Leas-Cathaoirleach of the last two Seanads, is one of two Fine Gael figures tipped to become the Cathaoirleach of the new Seanad. The name of Deirdre Clune, the former Cork South Central TD who yesterday won election to the Cultural & Educational panel, has also been mentioned as a potential pick.

The 11 seats in the panel are likely to see at least four Fine Gael, three Fianna Fáil, two Labour and one Sinn Féin candidate elected; the final seat will go to either Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil, depending on the reliability of transfers between candidates of those parties.

Counting in the vocational panels will continue in Leinster House this morning, while counting will also begin today to fill the six seats elected by graduates of the National University of Ireland and of the University of Dublin.

Postal voting in those constituencies closes at 11am this morning.

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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