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Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland
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Fianna Fáil has finally won a by-election

Bobby Aylward was elected early this morning.

FIANNA FÁIL’S BOBBY Aylward is the Dáil’s newest TD.

Aylward was deemed elected early this morning in the Carlow-Kilkenny by-election called to fill the seat vacated when Phil Hogan went to Europe.

Aylward had lost his seat in 2011, but will return to Leinster House this week.

It took nine counts for Aylward to see off his Fine Gael counterpart, David Fitzgerald. He had taken 18,713 first preferences, far ahead of Fitzgerald’s 13,744. Sinn Féin’s Kathleen Funchion took 10,806 and Renua Ireland’s Patrick McKee got 6,365.

Labour’s candidate Willie Quinn performed well in his home of Carlow, but failed to make an impact in Kilkenny, taking 4,673 votes.

The result will come as a boon to party leader Micheal Martin.

They had failed to win any of the six by-elections that have taken place since 2011 and Martin had come under pressure to secure victory this time out.

Speaking to the media at Dublin Castle last night, Martin paid tribute to his party’s candidate.

“The Aylwards have a lot of breadth and depth in the constituency. They were well-known, they were well-liked and that word ‘decency’ crops up again. But it was very evident on the canvass trail with Bobby and I think Bobby has done very well,” he said.

Read: Finally: Fianna Fáil looks set to win a by-election

Read: What you need to know about the fierce battle for Phil Hogan’s old seat

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