Wednesday 20 September 2017

Dublin South: Ross races past post, Fine Gael takes three

Fergus Black

FINE Gael reasserted its dominance over the volatile Dublin South constituency by grabbing three of the five seats and leaving Fianna Fail floundering in its wake.

The constituency that returned the first Green Party TD more than 20 years ago rang the changes again this time when Independent senator Shane Ross romped home to a resounding victory on the first count with almost 5,000 votes to spare.

Labour was also celebrating with the election, on his third attempt, of senator Alex White who won back a seat the party last held 14 years ago.

But the result spelled the humiliating demise of Fianna Fail, which was left without a sitting TD in decades and which saw its share of the vote collapse from 41pc to just under 10pc.

Outgoing Green Party TD and former Communications Minister Eamon Ryan also went the way of his party colleagues when he was dumped by the electorate.

For Mr Ross, the scale of his victory was even beyond his expectations -- delivering a massive 23.5pc of the vote, with 17,075 first preferences hurtling him past the finishing post on the first count.

"This is fantastic, above my expectations," said a delighted Mr Ross.

He pledged to continue his fight to end political cronyism, allow legislators to concentrate on national and not local issues and press for a referendum on the controversial IMF/ECB bailout.

Mr Ross, who failed to get elected to the Dail when he stood as a Fine Gael candidate in 1992, also insisted he did not want a job in the new FG-led government.

But he admitted he would "work with" the party if he could find common policy grounds.

Criticism

Fine Gael's two outgoing TDs, Olivia Mitchell and Alan Shatter, also retained their seats and party first-timer Peter Mathews snagged a third -- with him and Mr Shatter elected on the eighth and final count without reaching the quota.

Mr Mathews is a chartered accountant who came to public prominence for his trenchant criticism of government policy on the banking crisis.

Mr White was also delighted with his election win after he was thwarted in the 2009 by-election by Fine Gael's George Lee.

A barrister by profession, Mr White said the party would have loved to have taken two seats.

But that was never going to happen once Mr Ross arrived in the constituency.

Irish Independent Supplement

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