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Upper House

Averil Power loses out to Lynn Ruane in battle for Seanad seat

There’ll be plenty of familiar faces in the upper house.

Updated 8.55pm

29/2/2016. General Election 2016 Counting of Votes More count drama... Averil Power at the RDS in February.

AS THE SEANAD election count entered its third day today, there was a nail-biting race emerging in the Trinity College panel (well, nail-biting if you’re into this sort of thing).

Independent senator David Norris was elected in the first count in the early hours of this morning, while current Labour senator Ivana Bacik retained the second seat.

It was almost battle to the end between former students’ union president Lynn Ruane and outgoing independent senator Averil Power for the third and final seat.

At one point, they had just a few votes separating them.

But tonight, Lynn Ruane won the seat ahead of Power and Sean Barrett. She was elected on the 15th count, with 3343 votes. That means all three seats have been filled in the constituency of the University of Dublin.

The battle came just two months after Power’s involvement in another major election battle: the high profile former Fianna Fáil politician lost out on a Dáil seat in Dublin Bay North after a lengthy recount process at the RDS.

Former minister and PDs leader Michael McDowell, outgoing senator Rónán Mullen and Alice Mary Higgins, daughter of President Michael D Higgins, were all elected to the Seanad in the National University of Ireland (NUI) panel.

Away from TCD, there was some consolation for some former TDs who lost their seats in the general election.

Former Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer was elected to the Seanad yesterday, while Labour minister of state Ged Nash was elected this morning.

Former Fine Gael TD Joe O’Reilly is also set to be elected.

So how does it work?

Results from the election are being updated regularly on the Seanad website (but – as you can see from the graphic below – one could be forgiven for finding the whole thing a little confusing).

43 seats are elected through five vocational panels – Administrative, Agricultural, Cultural and Educational, Industrial and Commercial and Labour.

11 seats are nominated by the Taoiseach and the final six seats are elected by graduates of Trinity College and the National University of Ireland (NUI), which is a group of colleges and universities around the country.

At least 24 seats had been filled as of midday today.

Other results 

Fianna Fáil’s Murnane O’Connor and Ned O’Sullivan were elected this morning, but there was disappointment for former Fianna Fáil TD (and former Labour chairman) Colm Keaveney, who lost his bid to become a senator.

Other successful candidates so far include Labour’s Denis Landy, Sinn Fein trio Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, Maire Devine and Paul Gavan and independent Gerard Craughwell.

Grace O’Sullivan, a former Irish surfing champion, became the Green Party’s first senator in the new Seanad.

166 candidates had put themselves forward for the Seanad’s 60 seats.

Then again, they may only be there for a wet week.

- Additional reporting Aoife Barry

Read: Is today’s Seanad election a pointless exercise in futility?

Read: Everything you need to know about one of the most exclusive elections in Ireland

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