Wednesday 7 December 2016

Election wipeout for Renua while Social Democrats rise

Kevin Doyle and Philip Ryan

Published 28/02/2016 | 02:30

NEW FORCE: Social Democrats founders Stephen Donnelly (pictured), Roisin Shortall and Catherine Murphy all retained their seats, while Lucinda Creighton lost hers on the fifth count in Dublin Bay South
NEW FORCE: Social Democrats founders Stephen Donnelly (pictured), Roisin Shortall and Catherine Murphy all retained their seats, while Lucinda Creighton lost hers on the fifth count in Dublin Bay South
Renua candidate Lucinda Creighton. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Renua Ireland was on the verge of total electoral wipe-out last night, with all three of its sitting TDs facing rejection by the voters.

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Despite the general trend towards smaller parties, Lucinda Creighton's party failed to ignite the public's imagination and struggled to make in-roads in most constituencies.

There was an expectation that the party would secure at least three seats, but as votes were counted, Ms Creighton was the first Renua TD to be eliminated on the fifth count in Dublin Bay South.

The Renua Ireland party leader had been in a four-way battle for the final seat with Fine Gael's Kate O'Connell, the Green Party's Eamon Ryan and Labour's Kevin Humphreys.

But party sources had earlier admitted she was "pessimistic" about retaining the seat that she had previously won for Fine Gael in 2007 and 2011.

Ms Creighton had earlier refused to accept defeat, despite tallies showing she would be unseated by Ms O'Connell.

"Fingers crossed I hold my seat but if I don't, you know what, I'm very philosophical about these things, and at the end of the day the voters decide," she said.

The former Fine Gael TD said she could have "taken the soft option" and run as an Independent.

Her husb and, Senator Paul Bradford, who ran in the Cork East constituency, said Renua Ireland had mountains to climb and the "first mountain proved perhaps that little bit too high for us".

Meanwhile, the Social Democrats emerged as a new force in Irish politics and looked set to at least retain the three seats of its founding members.

Roisin Shortall was one of the first TDs to be elected yesterday in her Dublin North West constituency, while Catherine Murphy topped the poll in Kildare North and Stephen Donnelly looked likely to do the same in Wicklow.

Other party members exceeded expectations and were last night challenging for the final seats in a number of constituencies.

Gary Gannon was well-placed on the sixth count in Dublin Central, while Niall O Tuathail in Galway West and Glenna Lynch also preformed better than expected.

The party's co-leader, Roisin Shortall, said that it "would have been wonderful to put up more candidates".

The Social Democrats are hoping that they will get close to seven seats, which would allow the party to have speaking rights in the next Dail.

Meanwhile, Eamon Ryan said that he would step aside as leader of the Green Party if he did not win a seat.

He described the result as "historic" and said that it meant an end to civil war politics.

"We were always confident that we could come back because we think we stand for something that is important in the world," he added.

Mr Ryan's constituency result was not known late last night but his deputy leader Catherine Murphy had a surprise win in Dublin Rathdown.

Ms Martin ousted former justice minister Alan Shatter to take the last seat in the constituency. Anti-Austerity Alliance- People Before Profit were also on course to make major gains yesterday after a strong showing at the ballot boxes. Paul Murphy and Richard Boyd Barrett both looked likely to retain their seats.

Sunday Independent

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