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Howlin takes second seat as Wallace scores winner

LABOUR's Brendan Howlin has joined Independent Mick Wallace as the second Wexford TD in the 31st Dail.

Mr Howlin was elected on the fourth count with a vote of 14,514, leaving him with a surplus of 1,924.

Mr Wallace proved the real surprise package as he outpolled all his challengers with a huge vote of 13,329. This saw him elected on the first count.

The founder of Wexford Youths soccer club, who turned up to the count centre in his pink Wexford Youths jersey, vowed to appear in pink attire on his introduction to the 31st Dail.

Mr Wallace said he received the high vote because he "promised the electorate truthfulness and honesty".

He said: "I did not make any other promises but the people were obviously happy with that. It is a huge responsibility but I don't take representing the people lightly."

Mick Wallace entered the race at a late stage, and not many people could have predicted such a triumphant outcome for the builder and property developer.

With Fine Gael's Liam Twomey now looking certain to take a seat for his party, the real battle has come down to the destination of the final two seats.

Junior Minister Sean Connick is the likely loser as he continues to struggle behind his party colleague John Browne, while sitting Fine Gael TDs Paul Kehoe and Michael D'Arcy have just 162 votes separating them after the fifth count. The final seat will go right down to the wire but the experts reckoned that D'Arcy will be edged out.

Labour's Brendan Howlin once again demonstrated his pulling power with a huge vote out of his home town, coming in second on first preference votes.

Fine Gael's Liam Twomey came in third on first preferences.

It looks as if Fine Gael will fall short of three seats, taking two, with Labour one, Fianna Fail one and Independents one.

Brendan Furlong

Sunday Independent