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Independent alliance

'It's disappointing': Outgoing minister Shane Ross loses seat in Dublin Rathdown

He said he believed the Independent Alliance had been able to achieve a lot in government without “rocking the boat”.

OUTGOING MINISTER FOR Transport and Sport Shane Ross has lost his seat in the Dublin Rathdown constituency. 

Speaking to RTÉ this evening, he said he expected to be eliminated in the next round, describing the result as “disappointing”. He was eliminated in the fifth count. 

Ross was the first candidate elected to the Dáil in 2016 and led the Independent Alliance into government with Fine Gael. He has had a turbulent time as Minister for Sport, particularly in recent months with the FAI scandal and subsequent financial rescue package.

Ross also came under pressure over funding of the Irish Greyhound Board after an RTÉ Investigates programme revealed poor treatment of dogs in the industry. 

His own party has also seen a number of changes. In 2018, Sean Canney, who had served as Minister of State for the Office of Public Works, left the Independent Alliance, but said he would still support the government.

In January this year, Kevin Boxer Moran announced he was also leaving and would stand as an independent in this election. The day after, Finian McGrath confirmed he would not be standing for re-election and the day after that John Halligan followed suit.

This left Ross as the only member of the Alliance.

He  was a colourful minister, revelling in photo opportunities.

He was still vocal about issues within his constituency, most notably continuing during his time in government to highlight the need to re-open Stepaside garda station. 

But this was not enough, it appears, to keep constituents on side in this election. 

There were early indications today that Ross was at risk, with the final tally in the three-seat constituency putting him at 8.28%.

Earlier, Ross told Newstalk’s Pat Kenny that he was “going to be beaten”.

He said the Independent Alliance had set out to be “radical but responsible” when they went into government with Fine Gael.

“I think we did achieve a fair amount in government while not actually rocking the boat,” he said.

Ross said he believed the “experiment worked” and he was particularly proud of the drink driving legislation he introduced.

He said it had been an “extraordinary battle” to get the legislation through the Dáil.

“We also had failures as all politicians do but all-in-all I think the experiment was good,” he said.

“Now the electorate have said ‘we want someone else, we want something different’.”

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