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Bad day for Labour as SocDems set to make seat gains

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Opting out: Labour leader Brendan Howlin won’t go into coalition. Photo: PA

Opting out: Labour leader Brendan Howlin won’t go into coalition. Photo: PA

Opting out: Labour leader Brendan Howlin won’t go into coalition. Photo: PA

Labour will not enter talks to form the next government after what leader Brendan Howlin described as a "bad day" for the party, with former Tánaiste and party leader Joan Burton losing her seat.

Ms Burton was out of the running early on in Dublin West, amid a surge towards Sinn Féin. Limerick City TD Jan O'Sullivan was also struggling to hold her seat last night.

However, Labour was hopeful of the return of Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin in Dublin Bay North and Senator Ged Nash in Louth. Both men lost their Dáil seats in the 2016 election.

The party was also hopeful that TDs Seán Sherlock and Alan Kelly could hold on in Cork East and Tipperary respectively, while in Dublin Fingal, councillor Duncan Smith was still in contention to hold the seat vacated by the retiring Brendan Ryan.

Mr Howlin, who was set to hold his seat in Wexford, all but ruled out going into government, saying the responsibility was on Sinn Féin and other parties.

Sources at all levels of the party said Labour did not have a mandate to govern.

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High-profile casualty: Former Tánaiste Joan Burton. Photo: Frank McGrath

High-profile casualty: Former Tánaiste Joan Burton. Photo: Frank McGrath

Meanwhile, the Social Democrats were last night hopeful of doubling their number of Dáil seats with co-leaders Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall on course to hold their seats in Kildare North and Dublin North-West respectively.

Last night, the party was also confident that Gary Gannon would take a seat in Dublin Central. However, he was under pressure from former Dublin lord mayor Christy Burke.

Cian O'Callaghan was said to be on course for a seat in Dublin Bay North, and Jennifer Whitmore is considered in contention in Wicklow.

Mr O'Callaghan said the SocDems would talk to everyone about the possibility of going into government.

"This will hopefully give us the critical mass to make an impact in the next Dáil and become more visible and give people an option in future elections as well," said Mr O'Callaghan.

Irish Independent


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