from the jaws of defeat

Incredible - Maureen O'Sullivan has come back from the dead to take the final seat in Dublin Central

The independent TD has retained her seat with a last-gasp charge at the 11th count.

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

INDEPENDENT MAUREEN O’SULLIVAN has come from nowhere to take the final seat in her Dublin Central constituency.

On the 11th count as the clock approached midnight, O’Sullivan finally moved clear of her closest contender, the Social Democrats’ Gary Gannon, to seal her place in Dáil Eireann once more.

O’Sullivan said she had only heard that the scales had moved back in her favour “about twenty minutes ago”.

“I was absolutely surprised, I was feeling disappointed for the gang, not so much for myself, but it’s just amazing,” she said.

It was a good campaign, very positive, we kept our dignity, we were coping with our disappointment and now everything is changed again.

Hugh O'Connell / YouTube

For a long time it had looked like O’Sullivan couldn’t possibly survive, with many of her supporters giving up the ghost.

She joins Mary Lou McDonald, who was elected after the sixth count, and outgoing Fine Gael transport minister Paschal Donohoe in the coming 32nd Dáil.

Donohoe himself likewise was elected on the 11th count, and his relief was plain to see to put it mildly:

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

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

O’Sullivan took over the seat vacated by her political mentor Tony Gregory in 2009, following his death from cancer.

A member of the Dáil technical group, she was re-elected in the general election of 2011.

A splintering of the vote for independents and others in the area meant Christy Burke, the former lord mayor, and Gannon had outperformed O’Sullivan for much of the evening.

Gregory Deal

Tony Gregory was first elected in the February 1982 general election, and gained a national profile as a result of his ‘Gregory Deal’ with Fianna Fáil’s Charlie Haughey which included a massive boost in investment for the north inner city in return for the independent TD’s support for Haughey as Taoiseach.

On taking over the seat seven years ago, O’Sullivan continued her mentor’s work tackling drug addiction, drug crime and homelessness in the area.

Most recently, in the wake of the recent spate of gangland killings in north Dublin she had been campaigning for a Mini-Criminal Assets Bureau to tackle lower level drug dealers.

With Hugh O’Connell and Daragh Brophy

Read: ‘The Greens are back in town’: One and possibly two seats for revitalised party

Read: Renua leader Lucinda Creighton has lost her Dáil seat

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