LUCINDA Creighton has conceded defeat in the Carlow/Kilkenny by-election.
Renua candidate Patrick McKee took around 9pc of the vote, according to a tally of the ballot boxes, putting him far behind the front runner, Fianna Fail’s Bobby Aylward.
Ms Creighton arrived to the count centre with her husband senator Paul Bradford and their daughter Gwendolyn shortly after 5pm.
Speaking to reporters, she said: “I'd like to wish what looks like the likely winner Bobby Aylward the very best but I’m absolutely delighted with the performance of Patrick and the party.
“It's our first electoral contest, obviously up against the might and resources of established parties but we've really put down a serious marker in Carlow/Kilkenny. Patrick's performance I think exceeds expectations of pundits and commentators, he's hit almost 10pc of the vote, it shows a huge appetite for change.”
Ms Creighton said supporters travelled from all over Ireland to take part in Mr McKee’s election campaign.
The swell of support for Renua signalled that the party will perform well in the next general election, Ms Creighton added.
Mr McKee echoed his party’s leader’s comments and insisted he was on track to win a seat in the Dail.
“We had eight weeks since we started, it's a small period of time and we managed to come in ahead of Labour, a party more than 100 years old, so that itself says a lot. From next week we will continue to meet people and garner support,” he said
Mr Mckee added: “People who are struggling in their businesses, lost jobs, families who have lost their children to emigration, what we want to do now is build a new republic, and while we may not have won today I believe we will win a seat in the general election.”