Tuesday 21 February 2017

Healy-Raes, 'AK47', Enda, Lucinda: The biggest winners and losers from a seismic election

Published 29/02/2016 | 10:20

Enda Kenny pictured with Lucinda Creighton in 2012
Enda Kenny pictured with Lucinda Creighton in 2012
Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Lucinda Creighton of Renua Ireland at the count in the RDS. Photo: Tom Burke
Former minister James Reilly admitted he had to make some “fairly repugnant” decisions
Colm Keaveney
Former Communication Minister and Labour TD Alex White
Danny Healy-Rae in celebratory mood with his brother Michael. Photo: Eamonn Keogh
Fianna Fail Leader Micheal Martin (right) and Michael McGrath (left) celebrate at the general election 2016 count at the City Hall in Cork
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
Labour Party deputy leader Alan Kelly celebrates with supporters at the count centre in Thurles after he won the last seat in the Tipperary constituency. Photo: Frank McGrath
THE VOTES Are IN: Fianna Fail Leader Micheal Martin celebrates at the general election 2016 count at the City Hall in Cork. Photo: Chris Radburn
Heritage Minister Heather Humphreys. Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

THERE were many winners and losers in Election 2016 - but who are the biggest?

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The Losers


Enda Kenny


Just weeks ago Enda Kenny was on the cusp of being the first Fine Gael Taoiseach ever to win re-election, but what a distant dream that now must seem now for the Mayo man.

The party's support, consistently appearing between 27pc and 30pc in most polls will now limp to just above 25pc - with seat losses well into double digits.

While party members are pointing the finger at an unclear message and a Dublin-focussed campaign, ultimately the blame will fall squarely on the shoulders of the Taoiseach.

While no party won the election, Fine Gael most certainly lost it.

Kenny's leadership will now be under the most pressure since the ill-fated heave against him in 2010.

Lucinda Creighton

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How the tables have turned for the once golden child of Fine Gael.

Just five years ago the Dubliner was being spoken of as a potential future leader her then party with other young guns such as Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney - now her political career lies in tatters.

While many did not agree with her view, she won praise from all quarters when she lost the party whip after voting against the Protection of life during pregnancy bill in 2013.

She attempted to steer that momentum and growing dissatisfaction with the government into political capital, launching her own party  - Renua  -in 2015.

However after a disastrous party launch with a confused message, Renua was on the back foot from the off.

The electorate returned no TDs from the Lucinda-centric party, surely assuring the party will not see its second birthday next month.

Colm Keaveney     

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Elected as a Labour TD in 2011, the Galway native sensationally joined Fianna Fail in 2013.

He claimed the party had 'learned from its mistakes in the past', despite a chorus of claims his move was political opportunism at its worst.

Despite the resurgence of Fianna Fail in Friday's poll, Mr Keaveney was the only sitting Fianna Fail TD to lose his seat.

Some of his former Labour colleagues will be happy with his failure, both for his opportunism when quitting the party - and the fact its one less lost seat in their column.

James Reilly


The deputy leader of Fine Gael and Minister for Children was the highest profile casualty in Election 2016.

Reilly shot to prominence during the 2007-2011 Dail term when his tough and well-informed marking of then Minister for Health Mary Harney caught even the former PD leader by surprise.

On the back of the massive success of Fine Gael in 2011 he was immediately installed the role he had held to such high standards during his term in opposition.

However the grass must have looked very much greener on the opposition benches as he stumbled from one crisis to another in the maligned department.

He suffered the indignity of being moved from the department during the 2014 reshuffle, assuming the far less prominent role of Minister for Children.

He becomes the only deputy leader of one of the main political parties to lose their seat.

The former GP will now be examining his options after losing his seat in Fingal.

Alex White

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Perhaps the most high profile Labour loss was that of Communications Minister Alex White.

Already facing an uphill battle due to constituency changes, the collapse of the Labour party vote saw the Minister sent packing.

Just two years ago White entered a leadership contest against Tanaiste Joan Burton, off the back of which he gained a seat in cabinet.

He had 8,524 first preference votes in 2011, however saw that halved this year to 4,048.

The Winners


The Healy-Raes

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The Kerry political dynasty pulled off what many thought impossible, and saw two brothers elected in the five seater.

Michael and Danny now have more seats than the entire Renua party, and should ensure not a single pothole appears in the Kingdom during this Dail term.

Stephen Donnelly


One of the three joint leaders of the Social Democrats, Donnelly saw a massive increase in his first preference vote to top the poll in Wicklow.

Praised for his performance in the leaders' debate, Donnelly saw his vote more than double from 6,530 to 14,348.

His co-leaders Catherine Murphy and Roisin Shorthall also topped the polls in their respective constituencies, however the party did not manage to have any other candidates elected.

Alan Kelly

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While his celebration may have suggested he was just elected supreme emperor of the world, the Minister for the Environment managed to retain his seat in the staunchly anti-government Tipperary constituency.

In what was a dire day for his party, Alan 'AK47' Kelly's victory in the tough constituency was no easy feat.

The man who claimed power suited him could now be on the verge of spear-heading the rebuilding of the Labour party as Tanaiste Joan Burton's position becomes untenable in the eyes of many.

Micheal Martin

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The Fianna Fail leader oversaw a spectacular turnaround in fortunes for his party, left on the verge of collapse after a savaging in the 2011 poll.

After leading the campaign and strong performances in the leaders debates, the Cork man also dispelled any doubts from within his party over his leadership.

However the celebrations may be short lived, as he will now be forced to negotiate the deadly waters of government formation, and the possible unthinkable coalition with Fine Gael.

Heather Humphreys


The Minister for the Arts and Heritage bucked the trend for her party and actually increased her vote from the 2011 election.

Humphreys also joined Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald as one of only three government TDs re-elected on the first count.

She increased her first preference vote from 8,144 in 2011 to 12,391 this year.


Who do you think are the biggest winners and losers in the 2016 election? Let us know in the comments below.

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