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Dublin South West: Zappone loses seat as FG link 'sways voters'

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Minister on way out: Katherine Zappone felt like she was an ‘accidental politician’. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Minister on way out: Katherine Zappone felt like she was an ‘accidental politician’. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Colin Keegan

Minister on way out: Katherine Zappone felt like she was an ‘accidental politician’. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Outgoing Minister Katherine Zappone became another high-profile casualty as she lost her seat in Dublin South West.

The five-seater constituency saw two days of counts, with Sinn Féin's Seán Crowe elected on the first count on Sunday evening.

Almost 24 hours later, Paul Murphy of Solidarity-People Before Profit (S-PBP) took the second seat, followed by Fine Gael's Colm Brophy.

The 11th count saw Children's Minister Ms Zappone eliminated as Fianna Fáil's John Lahart and the Green Party's Francis Noel Duffy snapped up the remaining two seats without reaching the quota.

Speaking to reporters, a downcast Ms Zappone said she felt she was an "accidental politician".

"Of course I am disappointed and I am disappointed for my friends, family and colleagues," she said.

"I've always felt that I was a bit of an accidental politician, I was elected to the Seanad nine years ago and I had a wonderful time there.

"So I have decided that I will just continue my change work outside of Irish politics.

"It's a tough job to discern what is the right thing to do and balancing the various interests but I really do believe that I practised a form of left politics as a progressive," she said.

When asked if she would move into politics outside of Ireland, she said: "I am, as I said, moving forward outside of Irish politics and I spent most of my life in Irish politics and I believe that that experience brought a different perspective and effectiveness."

She added that Tusla is now in a "much better place" than when she took over.

She also said that it is "extremely disappointing" female politicians lost out in this election and failed to secure as many seats as in 2016.

She admitted after the count took place that perhaps it became a challenge for voters to distinguish her from Fine Gael.

"I do think in the earlier period of the campaign, people were willing to distinguish me as an Independent but as time went on, maybe that didn't transpire as much.

"I really do believe that as a TD I had the opportunity to bring about more change in government than outside of it," she added.

Irish Independent