Gabrielle McFadden takes seat left by late sister Nicky
It was a bittersweet victory for Fine Gael's Gabrielle McFadden who took the seat left vacant in Longford Westmeath following the death of her sister, Nicky.
The tallies had indicated from early in the day that she would win out, but it took seven counts before the result was announced.
Applause rang out the community centre in Keenagh, Co Longford, when returning officer Imelda Brannigan gave the final results.
Ms McFadden's final vote was 20,058. The last remaining candidate was Fianna Fáil's Aengus O'Rourke, who secured 14,581 votes.
Ms McFadden, whose sister died in March, said she was "delighted" with the result, but that it had been a difficult time.
"I'm delighted with the result but it's very emotional. I'm very devastated and lonely for Nicky but I'm very happy with the result."
Jobs for the constituency were her primary concern, and helping to restore the economy.
Acknowledging that voters had rejected the Government parties across the local and European elections because of unrelenting austerity, she said the right decisions had been made but that people should get something back.
"Things are improving. It's very slow and I understand that. We have to be responsible. Enda Kenny has indicated that if we stay as stable as we are now in October, we can give something back. It's very important people get something back."
Earlier, Mr Kenny acknowledged that his Government had been sent a "very clear" message, and that he would be "reflecting on the results" prior to announcing his cabinet reshuffle.
The by-election arose following the tragic death of 51-year old Nicky McFadden in March last year from Motor Neurone Disease.
Ms McFadden was first elected to Westmeath County Council in 2009, and is married to clinical psychologist, Brian McLean. She has two teenage children, Katie and Luke.
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