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Kildare South: Refreshed Ryan takes seat as FF flounders

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Sinn Féin’s Patricia Ryan at the Kildare South election count centre in Punchestown. Photo: Tony Gavin

Sinn Féin’s Patricia Ryan at the Kildare South election count centre in Punchestown. Photo: Tony Gavin

Sinn Féin’s Patricia Ryan at the Kildare South election count centre in Punchestown. Photo: Tony Gavin

It was the seventh count before it became clear that Kildare South was not going to mirror its northern cousin and return two women for perfect gender parity in the county.

Independent newcomer Dr Cathal Berry upset this apple cart, at the expense of Fianna Fáil's Fiona O'Loughlin.

However, the main story was Monasterevin shop steward Patricia Ryan (Sinn Féin) who topped the poll, and reached the massive quota 2,500 votes clear of Fine Gael's party chairman Martin Heydon in the sixth count.

Many thought Ms Ryan had shot herself in the foot when she went on a week's holiday to Lanzarote in the final week of the campaign.

It had been arranged by her two sons Mitchell and Conor as a Christmas present, long before even Leo Varadkar knew the date of the election.

Mr Heydon himself had to wait two more counts before his seat was made safe, but the surprise packet in the final seat - Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Feargaíl is returned automatically - came with the late arrival of Dr Berry.

When Ms O'Loughlin's running mate Suzanne Doyle was eliminated in round five and gave her an extra 2,000 transfers, she looked home and hosed.

But when Fiona McLoughlin Healy expired in the sixth count, Dr Berry picked up twice as many transfers as Ms O'Loughlin.

He then benefited from transfers from Labour's Mark Wall.

Irish Independent