Thursday 8 December 2016

Sligo-Leitrim: Nailing biting finish in Sligo Leitrim as Fianna Fail take last two seats

Maree McDonagh

Published 27/02/2016 | 17:21

Eamon Scanlon and Senator Marc MacSharry
Eamon Scanlon and Senator Marc MacSharry
Marc MacSharry
Fine Gael's John Perry Credit: Tom Burke
Former journalist, Labour Senator Susan O’Keeffe. Photo: Tom Burke
Fine Gael' s John Perry meets with Philip McCaffrey while out canvassing in Sligo

Fianna Fail has taken two seats in Sligo-Leitrim in a dramatic reversal of the 2011 election when they lost two - leaving the party with no TD in the constituency.

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After a nail biting finale,  Eamon Scanlon reclaimed the seat he lost last time out, coming in 405 votes ahead of Fine Gael's Gerry Reynolds on the 15th count..

Marc MacSharry was the first TD home in the re-drawn  constituency which includes south Donegal and west Cavan.

He headed the poll while Leitrim-based Martin Kenny  took a seat for Sinn Fein.

Sligo-based TD Tony McLoughlin  retained a  seat for Fine Gael.

McLoughlin and Scanlon were elected without reaching the quota.

Fine Gael  may now wonder  whether they could have retained their  two seats if they had stuck with a two candidate strategy.

Former Junior Minister John Perry was added as a third candidate after launching a legal challenge but ultimately lost his seat after 19 years in the Dail.

Count 1

Elected

COUNT CENTRE REPORTS:

Labour senator Susan O'Keeffe was another casualty whose three per cent first preference showing reflected the party's drubbing at the hand sof the electorate.

Marc MacSharry said Fianna Fail  had learned from previous mistakes and had spent the last five years consulting with people on the ground to inform their policy.

He said the onus was now on all those elected to the Dail to try and form a government to avoid the instability of the 1981/82 period when there were three elections over an 18 month period.

"The last thing the country needs is another election," he said.

The former Senator, whose father Ray, the former Tanaiste, expressed delight at his success, said he would favour an alliance with Fine Gael, only if Micheal Martin was Taoiseach.

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