Friday 24 November 2017

Meath West: Trim without sitting TD for first time ever

Shane Cassells
Shane Cassells
Sinn Féin's Peadar Tóibín. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Ryan Nugent

For the first time in the history of the state - Trim will not have a sitting TD after Fianna Fáil’s Shane Cassells swept aside opposition to take Ray Butler’s seat in the constituency.

Mr Cassells was elected at the first count with 10,585 first preference votes and is joined by Sinn Féin Peadar Tóibín who holds his seat in the Dáil, with Fine Gael’s Damien English defeating fellow party member, Butler for the final seat.

Mr Butler, along with Fine Gael colleague, Damien English were looking to hold on to their two seats in Meath-West with Butler predicted to have a tight battle with Cassells for the final spot.

However, the result was so clear cut that it became obvious before half the boxes were opened that Cassell’s would not only take Butler’s seat, but top the poll.

It was the Fianna Fáil man’s day though, as he took 10,825 first preference votes to secure his position in Leinster House by 5pm on Saturday.

Mr Toibin came within 210 votes of the 9,652 quota - but had to wait an extra two and a half hours until the second count, as delirious Sinn Féin supporters sang Irish trad song ‘Oró sé do bheatha bhaile’ during the announcement.

Damien English took the final seat after the sixth count later that evening.

It means all three Meath-West TD’s will be based in Navan but Mr Cassells told the Irish Independent that his home address is irrelevant to the job at hand.

"I don't think it's relevant where I lay my head at night, my duty of care is to every single person that has a home here and those that don't have a home as well,” Mr Cassells said.

Mr English said that while it was a good day personally, he was extremely disappointed with how the day went for his party.

“It’s been a bad day for the party. We knew we’d lose some seats but not this kind of loss. I’m saddened for colleagues losing their seats both here in Meath-West and across the country,” Mr English said.

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