Thursday 19 September 2019

Donegal: Thomas Pringle (IND) takes the last seat in Donegal with just 184 votes

Independent Donegal South West TD Thomas Pringle. Photo: Tom Burke
Independent Donegal South West TD Thomas Pringle. Photo: Tom Burke
Pearse Doherty of Sinn Féin. Photo: Tom Burke
Padraig MacLochlainn

Greg Harkin

Independent Thomas Pringle has taken the fifth and final seat in Donegal tonight.

There was a tense atmosphere at the count centre in Letterkenny as Mr Pringle had been assisted in his election campaign by members of the 32-County Sovereignty Committee.

Among them is dissident Derry councillor Paul Donnelly, a vociferous opponent of Sinn Fein.

Asked about support from members of the dissident 32-County Sovereignty Committee - including Derry councillor Gary Donnelly - Mr Pringle insisted he was part of an "Independent movement".

He went on: "The people who were here were independent councillors.

"They are independent councillors and they are working as independent councillors.

"I don't know if he (Gary Donnelly) is a member (of the 32-County Sovereignty Committee) or not.

"I know the political work that he does/"I do know he is committed to independent politics and that's the key thing for me."

Mr Pringle went 36 votes ahead on the surplus of Pat the Cope Gallagher (FF) who was elected on 11th count alongside Joe McHugh (FG).

Earlier today, Sinn Féin's finance spokesman Pearse Doherty was elected after picking up the required votes following the elimination of Gary Doherty on the eight count at the Aura Leisure Centre Letterkenny.

Sinn Fein had asked for recounts earlier today in an effort to keep Gary Doherty in the race but he fell seven votes short of another independent, solicitor Dessie Shiels.

The entire process was held up for six hours.

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