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Labour's Willie Penrose has taken the last Dáil seat after an epic count

The marathon count went on all night – here’s who’s left standing this morning…

Updated at 10.15am

LABOUR’S WILLIE PENROSE has been re-elected in Longford-Westmeath. He took the final seat, securing speaking rights for his party in the 32nd Dáil in the process.

It follows an epic recount process in the constituency as outgoing Fine Gael TD James Bannon battled his elimination. The final result was announced shortly before 8.30am this morning after the count went on overnight.


What’s been happening? 

Robert Troy of Fianna Fáil was elected way back on Saturday. The recount was ordered at Bannon’s request after Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran of the Independent Alliance was named in the second seat on Monday night.

That process continued between Tuesday and early this morning, amid speculation that the matter could end up in the courts due to the narrow margins involved.

Penrose has now taken the last seat, with Fine Gael’s Peter Burke also being elected.

Sinn Féin’s Paul Hogan lost out on the final seat.

Bannon lost out by just six votes, and said in a statement distributed to reporters in the centre afterwards that he was taking advice and would make a decision on any further action “in a timely manner”.

Speaking to Morning Ireland, he said it was “shocking” that Co Longford was left without representation in the new Dáil – all of the TDs elected are from the Westmeath part of the constituency.

“Only after I have taken careful advice I will make a decision on whether or not to pursue a legal option,” Bannon said.

The Fine Gael politician, from Legan in Longford, served as a TD from 2007. He was a senator from 2002 to 2007.

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A clearly exhausted Bannon finished his media comments this morning by paying tribute to the returning officer, noting that the marathon process was “tiring, and it drags the adrenaline out of your system”.

Penrose, speaking on the same programme, said there was a “touch of Lazarus” about his political resurrection.

The 59-year-old, who was first elected in the ‘Spring tide’ of 1992, said his securing the party’s seventh seat in the Dáil should serve as a warning to those who had predicted Labour’s demise.

He said Joan Burton had called him very early this morning to congratulate him on his expected victory.

Asked whether he would be available to serve as leader should there be a vacancy in the near future, he ruled himself out categorically.

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About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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