In or out: What happened to the Fine Gael and Labour ministers?

It’s been a weekend of drama. As the dust settles, who’s left standing for Fine Gael and Labour?

IT’S BEEN A long, dramatic weekend – but as the dust settles from the election, which of our outgoing ministers still has a place in the Dáil this morning.

There have been some surprise defeats in the last two days – but also some surprise seat retentions.

Here’s a run-down of the Fine Gael and Labour ministers and ministers of state who lost out, and those who retained their places in the Oireachtas.


James Reilly, Minister for Children (FG) 

28/2/2016. General Election 2016 - Counting of Vot

The Fine Gael deputy leader and former health minister lost out to Sinn Féin’s Louise O’Reilly in the battle for the fifth seat in Dublin Fingal.

It had been clear from early on Saturday that Reilly would be in difficulty – and in the end, O’Reilly won it convincingly.

Speaking to at the Swords count centre, he said he’d be considering his political future. Asked whether he might be back, he said that he was a big believer in “never saying never”.

Alex White, Minister for Communications (Lab) 

18/2/2016 General Election Campaigns Starts Leah Farrell Leah Farrell

A high-profile loss for Labour, White served as a junior minister and a minister in the last government after being elected to the Dáil in 2011.

After serving as minister of state in the Department of Health, he was elevated to full minister in the 2014 reshuffle, replacing Pat Rabbitte in Communications.

“It’s not a great feeling but that’s the way it goes,” he said after his elimination in Dublin Rathdown on Saturday. Former Fine Gael minister for justice Alan Shatter also lost out in the tightly-contested constituency.

Jimmy Deenihan - Minister of State for Diaspora Affairs

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Deenihan first entered politics in 1983 when he was elected to the Seanad. He was elected to the Dáil in 1987 and retained his seat at each election since – until this weekend.

The two Healy-Rae brothers squeezed out the competition in the Kerry five-seater, where Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and Fine Gael’s Brendan Griffin also claimed victory.

Ged Nash – ‘Super junior minister’ for employment 

The second Labour minister to lose their seat at the weekend – Nash served as super junior minister for business and employment since July 2014.

He came sixth in the five-seater Louth constituency, where Gerry Adams topped the poll.

He was first elected to the Dáil in 2011.

Kevin Humphreys – Junior minister for employment

Promoted from the backbenches to junior minister in the 2014 reshuffle, the Minister of State for Employment, Community and Social Support lost the seat he won in 2011.

Alan Kelly described him as “one of the hardest workers in the Labour Party”.

Ann Phelan – Junior minister, agriculture and transport

Phelan received a huge amount of press ahead of the election – but for the wrong reasons. She walked out of a local radio interview, later claiming she was tired and hungry and fed up of being talked over.

The Carlow-Kilkenny deputy, also elected in 2011, was a junior minister at the departments of agriculture and transport & tourism.

She was eliminated after the eighth count with 5,596 votes – well off the 11,669 quota.

Kathleen Lynch – Junior health minister 

File Photo: The Abandonment of 'Grace by the Irish State. Kathleen Lynch with Taoiseach Enda Kenny Mark Stedman Mark Stedman

A veteran Labour TD, Lynch was first elected to the Dáil under the Democratic Left banner in 1994. She lost her seat in 1997,  but regained it in 2002.

She had served as junior minister at the Department of Health with special responsibility for primary care, mental health and disability since 2011.

Lynch lost out in Cork North Central at the weekend. She joins her brother-in-law Ciaran Lynch, the high-profile Banking Inquiry chairman, in losing a Dáil place.

Tom Hayes – Junior minister, agriculture

The Fine Gael junior minister for food, horticulture and food safety – Hayes lost out to Alan Kelly in Tipperary.

Elected to Tipperary South County Council in 1991, he served as both a councillor and a senator before being elected to the Dáil on his second attempt in 2001.

He had served as a TD for 15 years.

Paudie Coffey – Junior housing minister 

The Fine Gael minister of state lost out in Waterford, where Fianna Fáil topped the poll and Independent Alliance member John Halligan also claimed a seat.

A senator since 2007, Coffey was elected to the Dáil in 2011.


Taoiseach Enda Kenny 

The Fine Gael leader was never in danger of losing his seat in Mayo – in spite of the local furore over his ‘whingers’ remarks last weekend.

Tánaiste Joan Burton 

27/2/2016. General Election 2016 - Counting of Vot

Despite a constituency poll showing she was likely to lose out, the Labour leader survived the battle in Dublin West at the weekend and became the first of the party’s TDs to be returned to the Dáil.

Burton was in a race with AAA-PBP candidate Ruth Coppinger, with just 22 votes separating the pair of incumbents after the third count.

Both women were elected in the fifth count.

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar 

Varadkar topped the poll in the same constituency as Joan Burton, surpassing the quota of 8,391 in the third count.

Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly 

The early tallies looked bleak, but the Labour deputy leader held on to claim a seat in Tipperary yesterday afternoon.

His bizarre victory celebration called to mind US Democrat Howard Dean’s primal scream in 2004 and – wouldn’t you know it – has already become a meme.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan 

The finance minister and former Fine Gael leader saw his first preferences in Limerick City drop from 13,291 in 2011 to 7,294 this time out.

He was elected with the help of Sinn Féin transfers and described the overall result for his party as a “reversal” of what had happened five years ago.

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan 

A constituency colleague of Noonan in Limerick, the Labour minister was elected on the same count as the Fine Gael veteran.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin 

A veteran Labour representative – he was first elected to the Dáil in 1987 – Brendan Howlin was the first TD to be elected in Wexford, after the ninth count.

Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe 

There was a hell of a battle for the last two seats in Dublin Central, with independent Maureen O’Sullivan coming from nowhere to reclaim her seat at the 11th count.

Donohoe was elected at the same count, and his relief was plain to see.

pasc1 Sam Boal Sam Boal

Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton 

The only sure thing in Dublin Bay North, Bruton is the only outgoing TD in the constituency’s crowded field who can be certain of a Dáil place.

He topped the poll in the area, where a recount will get under way today.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald 

One of the first TDs elected in the country on Saturday, her team have since been out slapping ‘thank you’ stickers on her posters around Dublin Mid-West.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan 

Sean Fleming of Fianna Fáil topped the poll in Laois. Flanagan, of Fine Gael, and Sinn Féin’s Brian Stanley claimed the other two available seats.

Minister for Agriculture and Defence Simon Coveney 

Coveney claimed a seat in Cork South Central on Saturday, but his Fine Gael party colleague Jerry Buttimer – the former chairman of the health committee – lost out.

Minister for the Arts Heather Humphreys

Humphreys, of Fine Gael, was the first TD to be elected in her Cavan-Monaghan constituency.

Also back: 

The following ministers of state were all re-elected: Michael Ring (FG), Sean Sherlock (Lab), Damien English (FG), Joe McHugh (FG), Simon Harris (FG), Dara Murphy (FG).

And finally…

3/2/2016 General Election Campaigns Starts Sam Boal Sam Boal

It’s too early to say whether Labour’s Aodhán Ó Ríordáin (above) will be back.

The drugs minister was running in Dublin Bay North and while it looks likely he’ll take a seat it’s very, very competitive.

A recount gets under way later this morning at the RDS.

The fate of Fine Gael junior minister Paul Kehoe also hangs in the balance, as a recount is under way in Wexford.

Read: After voters rejected him, can Enda Kenny survive?

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