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FG, FF and Labour share spoils in first of five Seanad elections

Fianna Fáil sources are happy with its vote management, securing two of the five seats in the Cultural & Educational Panel.

THE FIRST MEMBERS of the 24th Seanad have been elected this evening, as counting begins in elections to the five vocational panels of teh Oireachtas’s upper house.

Deirdre Clune earlier became the first member to be elected to the new Seanad, with the defeated Cork South Central TD accruing enough transfers from her lower-ranking Fine Gael colleagues to become the first candidate past the quota of 178 votes.

Labour’s sole candidate John Gilroy topped the poll, securing 157 votes of the 1,065 valid ballots cast, retaining the seat won by party colleague Alex White when he topped the poll in the same panel four years ago.

Former Meath East TD Thomas Byrne came second, the highest-performing of four Fianna Fáil candidates, and has been elected alongside party veteran Labhras Ó Murchú.

The former was the only one of Micheál Martin’s ten ‘preferred’ party candidates, but the other three – which included outgoing senator Ann Ormonde and Galway councillor Seamus Walsh – commanded a substantial share of the party’s backing.

Senior Fianna Fáil sources insisted the party was very pleased with the outcome, however, and were satisfied with the vote management between the candidates that brought home two party candidates out of the five-seat panel.

The final seat went to Ballinasloe Fine Gael councillor Michael Mullins, whose lead over party colleague Cllr John McCartin of Leitrim was unaffected by Ó Murchú’s surplus.

Counting will continue this evening in the mammoth Agricultural panel, where 11 seats are being sought by 28 candidates – including ten from Fianna Fáil, two of them backed by the party leadership, and eight from Fine Gael.

Martin had implored Fianna Fáil’s voters to back ten named candidates in the five panels – many of them younger candidates from areas close to Dublin, where the party has just one surviving TD.

This year’s Seanad elections will be the last ever, under the new government’s plans to abolish the house.

A bluffer’s guide to the Seanad election count >

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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