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Tipperary: Lowry tops poll but Tipp gets its first Sinn Féin TD in a century

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Independent Mattie McGrath celebrates his election in Thurles

Independent Mattie McGrath celebrates his election in Thurles

Independent Mattie McGrath celebrates his election in Thurles

The Sinn Féin surge swept first-time general election candidate Martin Browne to victory after he unseated Independent Seamus Healy.

Mr Healy and Fine Gael were both the big losers in the Tipperary constituency.

Mr Healy, first elected to the Dáil in 2000, was the only one of the five sitting TDs to lose a seat.

Michael Lowry was elected on the first count, Mattie McGrath on the eighth count, and Alan Kelly and Jackie Cahill on the ninth and final count.

It was an incredible election performance from Michael Lowry, which saw him top the poll for the sixth time in a row.

He was elected with 14,802 first preferences in the first count, exceeding the quota of 13,632, on Sunday afternoon.

It was a rare example of a constituency where the Sinn Féin candidate did not top the poll.

Mr Lowry has been controversial nationally - but on a local level his popularity is clear.

He fought for the opening of new acute beds at South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel, which will open next month, and after the election result said the success was down to his team and the backing of his five elected councillors.

However the Sinn Féin surge was not too far behind.

Mr Browne, with 10,004, was next to Mr Lowry in first preferences on a phenomenal day for Sinn Féin in the constituency.

He was the first Sinn Féin TD to be elected in Tipperary since Pearse McCann 102 years ago.

It was another disappointing day for Fine Gael.

The party had thrown huge resources behind regaining a seat in Tipperary, having lost two seats in 2016 when sitting TDs Tom Hayes and Noel Coonan lost out.

However the mayor of Clonmel, Councillor Garret Ahearn, and Mary Newman Julian failed to win a seat.

Ms Newman Julian was eliminated in the sixth count while Mr Ahearn stayed in the fight until the very last count.

The failure of the Fine Gael party not to run a candidate to cover the northern part of the constituency may have cost it dearly.

"We missed the public mood, we were heavily focused on Brexit and the economy and missed out on housing and health" said Mr Ahearn.

Irish Independent