Dublin Mid-West: Seismic shift spells double trouble for Curran
THERE were seismic changes in Dublin Mid-West, where Fine Gael went from zero to two seats and just one outgoing TD was returned to the next Dail.
Former Dublin South-East TD Frances Fitzgerald and community worker Derek Keating polled a combined 30.9pc in the four-seater constituency, setting the stage for a remarkable achievement for Fine Gael.
It was also a good day for the likely junior coalition partners with outgoing Labour TD and poll-topper Joanna Tuffy joined in the winner's enclosure by first-time running mate Robert Dowds.
Labour just trailed Fine Gael on vote share, securing 30.8pc of first preferences cast.
This means the constituency is likely to boast four government TDs and no opposition representative in the 31st Dail.
The outcome of two seats each for Fine Gael and Labour represents a huge turnaround on 2007. Then, the constituency returned candidates for Fianna Fail, Labour, the Progressive Democrats and the Green Party.
Former Health Minister Mary Harney had announced her retirement in the run-up to the election. In doing so, she probably spared herself the fate of the other outgoing TDs.
Government Chief Chip John Curran lost the sole Fianna Fail seat upon his elimination after the seventh count.
He polled just 5,043 (11.8pc) first preferences, while the Green Party's Paul Gogarty polled less than 1,500 first preferences. Mr Gogarty conceded defeat via his Twitter account on Saturday morning after early tallies indicated his fate was sealed.
The reversal in fortunes was perhaps best summed up by Ms Tuffy's experience. In 2007, she had to wait to claim the final seat, whereas this time she claimed the first seat.
Speaking at the count centre, she said her party would "have to drive a hard bargain" in negotiations with Fine Gael over the formation of the next government. She added she did not want Labour being the next "Green Party".
Mr Curran said he was disappointed not to have been elected, but insisted he was very "pleased that more than 5,000 people in the constituency had given him a vote".
Sinn Fein's Eoin O Broin also lost out, despite garnering a respectable 7,151 votes.
Irish Independent Supplement