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  • Northside West

New TDs ready for challenge 

Tuesday, 18th February, 2020 1:00pm
New TDs ready for challenge 

Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald speaking to the media at the RDS. PHOTOs: DARREN KINSELLA

New TDs ready for challenge 

Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald speaking to the media at the RDS. PHOTOs: DARREN KINSELLA

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Aoife O’Brien 

A GREEN Party councillor has become the first candidate from her party to be elected to the Dáil in the Dublin Central constituency. 

Neasa Hourigan, who was elected to Dublin City Council only last May for the first time, took the second seat in the four-seat constituency.

While Fine Gael candidate Paschal Donohoe had the second largest first preference vote (Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald topped the poll with 11,223 first preference votes), Hourigan overtook him on transfers to exceed the quota on the final count. 

Deputy Hourigan said she is now hoping to bring a new focus on persons with disabilities and carers in the next Dáil. 

“My little girl who is seven, my oldest, is registered as blind and she would be a white cane user and a braille user and is also hard of hearing,” said Deputy Hourigan. 

“I had to take a step back from a job and a profession that I really, really loved. 

“I was an architect and a lecturer in sustainable development and took a step back for a couple of years and felt the kind of pressure that’s on carers and the isolation of being a career and I’m hoping that I can bring some focus on that.” 

Donohoe reclaimed his seat without reaching the quota along with Social Democrats candidate Gary Gannon who was elected to the Dáil for the first time after sitting on Dublin City Council since 2014.

In Dublin Bay North, Sinn Féin candidate Denise Mitchell was elected on the first count after receiving 21,344 first preference votes, the highest first preference vote of any candidate in the country. 

With Sinn Féin claiming 37 seats in the 33rd Dáil, just one less than Fianna Fáil on 38 seats, Deputy Mitchell said: “It was clear on the doors that people wanted change.”

Fine Gael candidate Richard Bruton, the outgoing Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, also reclaimed his seat reaching the quota on the 10th count.

Cian O’Callaghan (Social Democrats) was the only first-time TD to be elected in this constituency. It comes as part of a surge for the party who are only five-years-old as they tripled their number of seats from three to six. 

Labour’s Aodhán Ó Riordáin regained his seat in the Dáil without reaching the quota in Dublin Bay North. 

He previously served as a TD for Dublin North Central from 2011 to 2016. 

Fianna Fáil’s Sean Haughey also reclaimed his seat without reaching the quota. Haughey was helped by a large number of transfers from Deirdre Heney (FF).

In Dublin Fingal, Louise O’Reilly (SF) took the first seat, exceeding the quota by more than 5,000 votes on the first count. 

Green Party candidate Joe O’Brien took the second seat only two months after he was first elected to the Dáil in the Dublin Fingal by-election.

Fianna Fáil’s Darragh O’Brien had to wait until Count 8 to secure his seat while Fine Gael’s Alan Farrell also regained his seat.

Labour’s Duncan Smith, a replacement for the retiring Brendan Ryan, was elected to the Dáil for the first time. 

With seat distribution in the 33rd Dáil significantly changed and traditionally smaller parties taking a much larger portion of the votes, Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald said “significant political change is underway” and agreed that this is a revolution in Irish politics. 

However, with no party having enough seats to make up a Government on their own it remains to be seen what combination of parties will make up our next Government.

Gary Gannon of the Social Democrats being interviewed after his election in Dublin Central.

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