Sinn Féin helps Leo Varadkar win two Seanad seats
TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has secured two extra seats in the by-election with the support of Sinn Féin.
The Taoiseach’s two candidates topped the Seanad poll this afternoon after receiving the backing of Sinn Féin TDs and senators.
Sinn Féin announced earlier this week that they would be supporting former Ulster Farmers’ Union president Ian Marshall for one of the seats.
But it emerged at the count today that Mary Lou McDonald’s party also supported former Fine Gael TD Anthony Lawlor for the second seat.
A senior Sinn Féin source said most of the party backed Mr Lawlor because they could not bring themselves to support candidates proposed by Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin.
“Our TDs and senators said the Fine Gael candidate was the least worst option and they couldn’t support Micheal Martin after all the personal attacks in the Dail,” the source said.
However, in Fine Gael it is believed Sinn Féin supported Mr Lawlor to prevent Donegal based Fianna Fail candidate Niall Blaney taking a seat.
Sinn Féin lost a seat in Donegal in the last election while Fianna Fail gained and a seat.
After the count, Mr Marshall personally thanked Mary Lou McDonald for supporting his candidacy and said he was looking forward to working in the Seanad.
He is joining the Independent Group of Seanad Members and said he will not necessarily vote with the Government.