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Fianna Fáil TDs lose out to their running mates as party suffers major casualties

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Lisa Chambers. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Lisa Chambers. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Lisa Chambers. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Thirteen Fianna Fáil TDs have lost their seats during a day of major electoral casualties for the party.

The second day of counting saw a wave of senior party members lose their seats in constituencies across the country. In a lot of the cases, the TDs were replaced by their own Fianna Fáil running mates.

The two biggest upsets were Clare TD Timmy Dooley and Mayo's Lisa Chambers, who were both involved in the Votegate controversy.

Ms Chambers was the party's Brexit spokesperson and a key figure in Fianna Fáil's election campaign team.

Mr Dooley was sacked from the party's frontbench over his involvement in the Dáil voting controversy. However, his running mate, Clare county councillor Cathal Crowe, was elected. Mr Crowe made national headlines when he announced he was boycotting a State commemoration of the Royal Irish Constabulary.

In Cork, two Fianna Fáil TDs were replaced by their running mates.

Prominent Cork South West TD Margaret Murphy O'Mahony lost her seat. However, Fianna Fáil councillor and Mayor of Cork County Christopher O'Sullivan was elected.

Mr O'Sullivan's partner, Holly Cairns, who was running for the Social Democrats, also won a Dáil seat.

In Cork East, Kevin O'Keeffe lost his seat. The one-term TD is the son of long-serving Fianna Fáil politician Ned O'Keeffe. He was replaced in the constituency by 22-year-old Fianna Fáil councillor James O'Connor in his first attempt to win a Dáil seat.

Mr O'Connor was elected to Cork County Council last May and will now be the youngest member of the next Dáil.

Before becoming a councillor, Mr O'Connor interned with Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and justice spokesman Jim O'Callaghan.

He also worked for the outgoing Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O'Connor.

Kerry TD John Brassil lost his seat and was replaced by running mate Norma Foley.

In Carlow-Kilkenny, Bobby Aylward lost his seat after one term in the Dáil. His brother Liam Aylward served in a number of ministries during his Dáil career.

Mr Aylward's seat was taken by Fianna Fáil Senator Jennifer Murnane O'Connor. It was Ms Murnane O'Connor's second attempt to win a seat after narrowly losing out in 2016.

She is a close political ally of long serving Carlow-Kilkenny TD John McGuinness, who also retained his seat.

There was a further shock for the party in Louth were outgoing TD Declan Breathnach lost his seat, meaning the party has no TD in the Border constituency.

In Meath West, Shane Cassells lost his seat. Eugene Murphy also lost his seat to a Sinn Féin candidate in Roscommon-Galway.

Fiona O'Loughlin lost her seat in Kildare South. Long-serving Fianna Fáil TD and MEP Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher will also not return to the Dáil. He was first elected in 1981. Former minister of state John Curran was also unsuccessful, as was Frank O'Rourke in Kildare North.

Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald says the two party system is now "officially broken" as she chaired a meeting of the party's national executive committee and continued to bask in a remarkable General Election result. Despite receiving the most first preference votes, Sinn Fein's place in the next government is not guaranteed. The party failed to run enough candidates to capitalise on its surging popularity in Ireland, so it will not finish up with the most seats.

Irish Independent