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The Rosser romps home

INDEPENDENT candidate Shane Ross got the second highest vote in the country when he polled an astonishing 17,075 votes in Dublin South to head the poll.

"It is an extraordinarily daunting number. I have just got the result here. It shows a really serious change in Ireland. The vote I have got here is saying very spectacularly we want radical change. It's not just saying we don't want Fianna Fail because that encapsulates a lot of Fine Gael voters. The message from here, from Dublin South, is that tribal politics in Ireland is under siege. Thank God."

The former stockbroker, long-time Independent senator and Business Editor of the Sunday Independent stood as an independent candidate after he turned down an offer from Fine Gael to stand on the party ticket.

Mr Ross, who lives in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, is married to broadcaster Ruth Buchanan.

Asked on RTE television who he advised constituents to transfer to, he said: "I wasn't telling them anything. I was trying to do something completely new and introduce a new force and new ideas into Irish politics, and I was telling them that I didn't really care whether they gave their second preference to any of the big parties or not, because when you're trying to do something different or radical, you don't advise people to vote for the old ways.

"I welcome the fact that Joe Higgins has just been elected. Although I disagree with a lot of his policies, I think that is indicative of someone new in Irish politics because we are getting an ideological spin rather than a spin on the basis of the old family, the old parties and the old tribe."

Asked if he would support a Fine Gael single-party government he said: "I did stand for them in 1993, and that was a very unsuccessful marriage. My view is that, quite simply, if a group of Independents were to form next week, and by that I mean Independents who are interested in national -- not local -- issues, were to form a common policy, I'd be very happy to talk to Fine Gael, and to say, look, introduce these policies and we might support you in certain circumstances."

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