GREEN Party leader John Gormley has vowed to rebuild his battered party after its six sitting TDs lost their seats.
The former Environment Minister lost his seat in Dublin South-East after securing just 2,370 first preference votes, far short of the 6,984 quota needed for a place in the Dail.
But he said the Greens were not finished as a political force and would rebuild.
"We have suffered a major defeat but the party will regroup," he said. "It has been a difficult couple of years. We've been associated with a government that has has to make difficult decisions and that's why we have had to endure this.
"Of course it's going to be difficult, but we have examples from abroad where the Greens suffered major defeats and came back."
Early tallies suggested Fine Gael would take two seats, and Labour another two, in what would be an historic first for the left-wing party.
Dublin South-East, which includes some of the capital's most affluent areas such as Ballsbridge, Donnybrook and Ranelagh, has never failed to elect a Fianna Fail TD since the constituency came into being in 1948. It has never returned two Labour TDs.
But all that changed over the weekend when outgoing Fianna Fail TD Chris Andrews was eliminated on the 10th and last count. He was not present when the final result was announced in the RDS count centre.
First home were Fine Gael's Lucinda Creighton and Labour's Ruairi Quinn after the sixth count, when they became the first of the constituency's new TDs. First-time candidate Eoghan Murphy (FG) followed on the ninth count, with Labour's Kevin Humphreys taking the fourth and final seat on the 10th and last count, but without reaching the quota.
A delighted Eoghan Murphy said he was relieved "to have taken the seat, and that Fine Gael had always targeted taking two in the constituency".
"I'm exhausted after a long campaign but relieved I didn't let Fine Gael or my team down," he said.
"It's always good that people have choice and people went to Fine Gael because of what we can offer," he added.
Irish Independent Supplement