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Ivana Bacik promises to be 'strong, progressive, woman’s voice' as she's elected to the Dáil

Bacik fills the seat left vacant by Fine Gael’s Eoghan Murphy.

Ivana Bacik at the RDS this afternoon.
Ivana Bacik at the RDS this afternoon.
Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

LABOUR’S IVANA BACIK has been officially elected to Dáil Éireann as a TD for Dublin Bay South.

Bacik was elected in the by-election held to fill the seat left vacant by Fine Gael’s Eoghan Murphy, who made the surprise decision in April to resign as a TD.

Murphy’s departure and Bacik’s win ahead of James Geoghegan leaves Fine Gael with no representation in the constituency.

Bacik was elected on the ninth count after topping the poll with 30.2% first preference votes ahead of Geoghegan with 26.2% and then Sinn Féin’s Lynn Boylan on 15.8%.

Speaking to reporters before her election was confirmed but when her victory was clear, the current Senator said that she will provide a “strong, progressive, woman’s voice” in the Dáil.

From early in the by-election campaign, Bacik was seen to having a good chance of taking a seat in the constituency in which she lives. Pundits had pointed out that she has strong name recognition and a distinguished history as a legislator and law lecturer.

This was Bacik’s third attempt at being elected to the Dáil but, as she pointed out to anyone who raised it during the campaign, it was her first chance of running in her home locality.

She tried to run in the constituency in 2011, then called Dublin South East, but Ruairí Quinn and Kevin Humphreys were chosen instead by the party and Bacik was forced to run alongside party leader Eamon Gilmore in Dun Laoghaire where she was not elected.

Geoghegan told reporters after his defeat that he will seek to run for election again, with party leader Leo Varadkar saying he has no doubt Geoghegan will become a TD if he runs in the next general election.

Varadkar also said there wasn’t a question mark over his own ability to lead his party in elections following this result and a disappointing general election last year. 

“If you look back historically, Dublin Bay South, Dublin South East, on some occasions we’ve had two seats, on some occasions we’ve had one. This is a seat we will take back,” he said.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald told reporters that the government “is on borrowed time” and that her party “performed very, very well” despite not taking the seat.

“Bear in mind folks that there was a time and it’s not a long time ago where the idea of Sinn Féin having a seat in Dublin Bay South would have been unthinkable amongst all of you political analysts and commentators,” she said.

Fianna Fáil candidate Deirdre Conroy had a particularly poor day for her party, winning just 4.6% of first preference votes.

The party’s director of elections for the by-election Jim O’Callaghan said the party’s performance was “disappointing” and he cast doubt over whether Micheál Martin should lead the party into the next general election.

When asked if the Taoiseach should lead the party if the general election is held in 2024/25, he replied: “We’ll have to think about that.”

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Martin was not present in Dublin as he was in Cork receiving his second dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.

Speaking to reporters he said “governments rarely win by-elections, they’re not in any way markers for a general election”.

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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