Cork North-Central: Veteran Kathleen Lynch loses seat as opposition offers 'alternative' to Fine Gael
Opposition parties made major gains in Cork North Central as Junior Health Minister and veteran Labour Party TD Kathleen Lynch lost her seat.
The outgoing Labour TD, who was first elected in a 1994 by-election, polled less than half the first preference total of newly-elected Mick Barry, an Anti Austerity Alliance councilor.
The Labour decline came two years after the party imploded at the 2014 local Government Elections when, for the first time in history, Labour failed to elect a single councillor to Cork City Council.
Ms Lynch admitted in the days before the election it would be very difficult for her party to retain its seat given the opinion polls.
Councillor Barry, who contested his first general election in 2002, said his vote was a direct reflection of voter fury at austerity policies and unfair levies like the water charge.
"We predicted that Labour would be decimated and that is precisely what happened."
Councillor Barry warned that left wing parties will unite "like never before in Ireland" if the country is faced with the prospect of a Fianna Fail/Fine Gael Coalition.
Sinn Fein's Jonathan O'Brien TD was comfortably re-elected as the party took 10,000 first preference votes or almost 20 pc of the total poll.
The four seat constituency, once the stomping ground of former Taoiseach Jack Lynch, also witnessed a startling recovery in the Fianna Fail vote.
Fianna Fail director of elections, Billy Kelleher, was elected on the first count with an enormous 14,286 first preference vote - more than 4,000 ballots about the quota.
"This election underlined how much Fianna Fail has renewed itself, how much work we have put into listening to voters and just how out of touch the Coalition had become with the concerns of Irish people," he said.
While warning it was far too early to speculate about the make-up of the next Government, Mr Kelleher added though that the election results demonstrated that Fianna Fail "offered a clear alternative in Irish politics".
Meanwhile. European Affairs Minister Dara Murphy (FG) was returned without reaching quota after transfers from running mate and newcomer Julie O'Leary allowed to him to secure the fourth and last seat during the 11th count.