Thursday 22 February 2018

Fianna Fail deputy leader Mary Hanafin loses seat

People Before Profit's Richard Boyd Barrettt is congratulated after winning the final seat in Dun Laoghaire at the expense of Fianna Fail deputy leader Mary Hanafin. Photo: Collins

Fianna Fail deputy leader and outgoing Cabinet minister Mary Hanafin has lost her seat in the Irish general election.

The former tourism minister was battling for the fourth and final seat in Dun Laoghaire, but lost out to People Before Profit's Richard Boyd Barrett on the 11th count.

Outgoing children's minister Barry Andrews also failed to retain his Fianna Fail seat in the south Dublin constituency.

A full recount had been requested by the Labour Party last night after Ivana Bacik, leader Eamon Gilmore's running mate, trailed Mr Barrett by fewer than 200 votes.

But the request was withdrawn and Ms Bacik was eliminated on the ninth count.

Mr Gilmore topped the poll.

Ms Hanafin's loss marks another major casualty for the party, after Tanaiste Mary Coughlan was punished by voters in Donegal South-West as they opted to support an Independent candidate in her own backyard.

Mr Boyd-Barrett said there would now be a new left-leaning political force in the Dail, after People Before Profit secured two seats.

"We've been campaigning on many issues, local and national and indeed international, over a long period of time and I suppose today's success is a culmination of those efforts," he said.

Ms Hanafin has served in a range of ministries, including Enterprise and Trade and Social and Family Affairs, and has been a TD since 1997.

Her father Des was a well-known businessman and party councillor who later served as a senator at various times for over 25 years from 1969 until 2002.

Her brother, John, is also involved in national politics and, like his father before him, has been a member of Seanad Eireann since 2002.

Ms Hanafin said there was a lot of anger and a lot of upset among voters.

"People went out of their way to tell me that it wasn't personal, because of the work that I had done," she said.

"It's very much a hit against Fianna Fail, a hit against the Government.

"When the tide is that strong against you, I couldn't swim against it."

Ms Hanafin said she believed the party could rebuild, adding that leader Micheal Martin has the energy and the commitment to do that.

But she added: "I particularly worry about Dublin, with only one TD, and the fact that we've no women at all.

"The two big challenges I see."

Asked if she would continue in politics and stand again, the outgoing Minister said: "Politics is in my blood and public service is in my bones, so I certainly see myself continuing in some role."

Press Association

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