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Who could fill Ivana Bacik's seat in the Seanad following her election to the Dáil?

The Labour Senator has been elected the new TD for Dublin Bay South.

Image: Brian Lawless/PA Images

IVANA BACIK HAS been elected the new TD for Dublin Bay South after a comfortable win in today’s by-election saw her beat Fine Gael’s James Geoghegan into second place.

The Labour candidate received 30.3% of first preference votes compared to Geoghegan, who finished with 26.2%.

The win makes Bacik the seventh Labour TD to be elected to the current Dáil.

However, Bacik already holds the position of Senator for Trinity College Dublin, having been elected to the post in April last year. She has also been taking a career break from her role as Reid Professor of Criminal Law, Criminology and Penology at the university.

‘Double-jobbing’

Speaking at a campaign event outside Leinster House on Wednesday, Bacik said that she would only consider giving up her post in the university after the by-election result was known.

Her campaign manager, Labour TD Duncan Smith, insisted Bacik would not be “double-jobbing”.

“For anyone to get involved in politics at any level, a local area rep, a councillor, a senator or a TD, it is usually risky and that is something they take on themselves,” he said.

According to a Trinity College spokesperson, upon being elected to the Dáil, her seat as a Senator is “automatically disqualified”.

By law, the by-election to fill her seat must be held within six months of her relinquishing it. Representatives from the Seanad and Trinity College must decide a date for this to take place.

As of yet, a date is yet to be determined, but with the Dáil due to take its summer recess in the coming weeks, it is likely that it won’t be held until early autumn.

Voting for both university and vocational panels is conducted through postal ballots. Trinity’s Senators are elected by the graduates of the university who hold Irish citizenship.

There have already been two Seanad by-elections this year. 

Two by-elections were held on 21 April to replace Fine Gael’s Michael D’Arcy and Sinn Féin’s Elisha McCallion after both resigned last year. 

Fine Gael’s Maria Byrne won a seat on the Agricultural Panel, while Fianna Fáil’s Gerry Horkan was elected to the Industrial and Commercial Panel.

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Who might replace her?

Bacik was elected in 2020 alongside fellow Trinity graduates David Norris and Lynn Ruane. All three reclaimed their seats from the previous election.

Bacik, who was first elected to the Seanad in 2007, reclaimed her seat on the sixth count with 3,963 votes

Norris, a Senator since 1987, won his seat on the fourth count with 3,768 votes, followed by Ruane on the eighth count with 4,072.

Ten candidates ran altogether, with the likelihood being that some may run again to fill Bacik’s seat.

Former rugby international and Trinity graduate Hugo MacNeil narrowly lost out on a seat last year. He is married to Fine Gael TD Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, and promised to create opportunities for young people with intellectual disabilities and support a properly funded education system if elected.

Tom Clonan was eliminated in the eight count of the vote. A lecturer in Technological University Dublin and columnist for The Journal, Clonan wanted to create opportunities for young people with intellectual disabilities and support a properly funded education system.

Green Party County Councillor William Priestley was eliminated in the sixth count after his third attempt at election to the Seanad, after vying to tackle social policy and climate change if elected.

Other candidates that may run again include Abbas Ali O’Shea, David Byrne, Joseph O’Gorman and Keith Scanlon.

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