Dublin Central: Mary Lou McDonald comfortably tops the poll as comeback kid Maureen O'Sullivan (IND) is returned
Sinn Fein cemented their place as the main power in Dublin Central with Mary Lou McDonald comfortably topping the poll ahead of Fine Gael's Paschal Donohoe and independent Maureen O'Sullivan.
Ms McDonald just missed out on hitting the 5,922 quota first time and was formally elected on the sixth count.
Ms McDonald's election was never in doubt but that was the only thing about Dublin Central that was certain throughout the count.
Transport minister Paschal Donohoe appeared to be under severe pressure from the start after a poor showing in the more affluent parts of the constituency.
Mr Donohoe had lost much of his Cabra heartland in the boundary changes coming into this election but what was left of Cabra fell his way.
Labour's Joe Costello accepted early in the day that he would not be re-elected and so it proved.
He was eliminated after the seventh count but his transfers proved instrumental in getting Mr Donohoe back on track.
Social Democrat Gary Gannon outperformed Mr Donohoe in transfers by a large margin over the first six counts but 998 votes from Mr Costello to Mr Donohoe secured his position and would ultimately prove fatal to Mr Gannon, who was running in his first general election.
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Mr Gannon made it to the 11th and final count but went no further.
Independent Christy Burke was contesting his 9th campaign but failed to make it Leinster House once again.
He was excluded after 10 counts, but his transfers helped save Ms O'Sullivan.
Ms O'Sullivan, who is Indepedent but from the former Tony Gregory camp, looked out of it all day after struggling in the inner city.
Indeed, she is understood to have been at home commiserating with her team until she was told more than 700 transfers from Fianna Fail's Mary Fitzpatrick had given her a new lease of life.
Ultimately both Ms O'Sullivan and Mr Donohoe were re-elected without reaching the quota.
Ms Fitzpatrick performed better than had been expected but without Bertie Ahern's St Luke's operation, Sinn Fein is now the dominant force in the constituency.
Ms McDonald, the Sinn Fein deputy leader, said her party was now showing that it is serious about being a “party of government” but added it would “not prop up a Fine Gael of Fianna Fail government”.