Tuesday 20 August 2019

Louth: 'Working people will have a greatly weakened voice' - Labour Minister Ged Nash loses seat

Labour's Ged Nash
Labour's Ged Nash
Declan Breathnach
Gerry Adams
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams. Photo: Collins
Fine Gael's Fergus O'Dowd

Elaine Keogh

Labour’s loss was Sinn Fein’s gain in Louth where Fianna Fail were the first to elect a candidate and where Fine Gael succeeded in keeping their two seats.

History was also made with the first female deputy being elected for Louth.

The signs of defeat for Employment minister Ged Nash were visible from the first tallies which had him in 6th place in the 5-seat constituency.

Party faithfuls hoped he could pick up sufficient transfers to over-take Fine Gael’s Peter Fitzpatrick who acknowledged early on that he was in ‘a dog-fight’ for the last seat.

The gap increased and it became inevitable that Fine Gael were going to retain Fitzpatrick and Fergus O’Dowd thanks to effective vote management.

Speaking after his defeat Ged Nash said he supported Labour party leader Joan Burton and would continue to do so.

“It is a great shame the labour party is going back into the Dail in diminished numbers. Working people and people who depend on public services will have a greatly weakened voice,” he added.

Sinn Fein’s party leader Gerry Adams topped the poll on the first count and said it was “the most successful Sinn Fein campaign in his lifetime.”

The first woman TD for Louth, Sinn Fein’s Imelda Munster said, said the message from the electorate was “that they don’t want any more austerity, that they want a fair recovery, they are very definitive in it.”

Fianna Fail’s Declan Breathnach met the quota first after transfers from eliminated candidates

Talking about the prospect of coalition with Fine Gael he (Breathnach) said he believed people,”are looking for stability and every public representative in Dail Eireann needs to sit down and ensure we provide that stability.”

Among the other strong performers were Garrett Weldon from AAA-PBP and Kevin Callan (Independent Alliance).

Renua’s Michael O’Dowd who polled 2095 first preferences, said last night (Sunday): “If Renua Ireland is to have any relevance it must tack to the centre ground and mend fences with public sector employees.”

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