Helen McEntee set to become youngest female TD in the Dail
FINE Gael's Helen McEntee is set to become the youngest female TD in the Dail - with the complete tally showing her comfortably ahead in the Meath East by-election.
The 26-year-old is running to retain the seat held by her late father, former Junior Minister Shane McEntee, who died by suicide last December.
The latest completed tally show she has topped the poll with 39 of the vote, ahead of her main rival, Fianna Fáil Senator Thomas Byrne, who is on 34pc. She has secured over 9,500 first preference votes. Her lead is enough to ensure that Mr Byrne will not be able to secure enough transfers to overtake her.
Sinn Fein's candidate Darren O'Rourke is in third place on 13pc, followed by Independent Ben Gilroy of Direct Democracy on 6pc. Labour's Cllr Eoin Holmes is in fifth place on 4pc - in a poor result that will trouble the Labour Party.
She will become the youngest female TD in the Dail -and the second youngest TD overall, being several months older than Fine Gael Wicklow TD Simon Harris.
The total turnout is a low 38pc - indicating that many voters opted to stay away due to disillusionment with politics and the snowy weather conditions.