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Three former TDs elected to the Seanad as counting continues

Sinn Féin’s Fintan Warfield and Fine Gael councillor John McGahon also won a seat.

Staff begin to count votes at the count centre, at the Printworks, Dublin Castle
Staff begin to count votes at the count centre, at the Printworks, Dublin Castle
Image: PA Images

Updated Mar 31st 2020, 12:58 PM

FIANNA FÁIL’S LISA Chambers and Malcolm Byrne have been elected to the Seanad today. 

The former government Chief Whip, Fine Gael’s Sean Kyne, has also been elected. 

Sinn Féin senator Fintan Warfield and Fine Gael county councillor John McGahon have also successfully won seats. 

Chambers, Byrne and Kyne are all former TDs who lost their seats in the general election in February. 

The Seanad election was Byrne’s fifth election in a year, while his party colleague, Chambers also a surprise loss for the party. 

Five seats were up for grabs on the upper chamber’s Cultural and Educational panel.

Green Party candidate Saoirse McHugh and former Fianna Fáil TD Margaret Murphy O’Mahony lost out in the race.

Counting has now been ongoing throughout the afternoon to fill the seats of the Agriculture panel. 

Outgoing Independent Senator Victor Boyhan has topped the poll on the first count

The last Seanad’s Cathaoirleach, Fianna Fáil’s Denis O’Donovan is second, followed by  former MEP Sinn Féin’s Lynn Boylan.

Green Party Senator Pippa Hackett is in fourth place, followed by Fianna Fáil senator Paul Daly, and Sinn Féin Mayo councillor Gerry Murray.

Fine Gael junior finance minister Michael D’Arcy, former Fine Gael TD Pat Deering and and Senator Maria Byrne are trailing behind. 

The five vocational panels compromise 43 of the Seanad’s 60 seats.

There are 118 candidates seeking election to the panels.

In addition to the Cultural and Educational panel, the other four panels are: Agricultural, Labour, Industrial and Commercial, and Administrative.

Votes for each panel had been due to be counted on successive days through the week.

The counts for the two University panels – for six seats, three each from National University of Ireland colleges and Trinity College – will start today.

The final 11 senators to make up the next Seanad will be announced by the Taoiseach of the next government.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is not able to nominate the final 11 senators, putting pressure on politicians for a new government to be formed.

The contest for the Seanad has been heavily impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

Candidates had to stop campaigning early in order to comply with social distancing measures.

Access to the count centre at Dublin Castle yesterday was strictly limited, with even candidates urged not to attend.

With reporting by Press Association

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