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Ross romps in with vow to banish tribal politics

the volatile constituency of Dublin South delivered another resounding victory last night when Independent Senator Shane Ross romped home with almost 5,000 votes to spare.

Mr Ross, who had campaigned for an end to tribal politics, was hoisted shoulder high by his jubilant supporters after he was declared elected on the first count in the five seat constituency.

Such was the margin of his victory, more than 4,900 votes above the quota, that he eclipsed his nearest rival, Fine Gael's Olivia Mitchell, and out-performed Fianna Fail by more than two-and-a-half times in first preference votes.

"This is fantastic, above my expectations," a delighted Mr Ross said. "We knew the response was superb on the doorsteps but we never thought we would get more than one-and-a-quarter quotas."

Mr Ross said the result sent a strong message from the public that they wanted to put a stop to tribal politics.

He dismissed suggestions that he was just a "celebrity" politician, declaring he was in politics for the long haul and pointing out that he had been a senator since 1981.

He said he would try to implement his policies of putting an end to cronyism, allowing politicians to concentrate on national rather than local issues and pressing for a referendum on the IMF/EU bailout.

Strong showings by Fine Gael's outgoing TDs Olivia Mitchell and Alan Shatter assured them of retaining their seats and held out the prospect of the party's third candidate, Peter Mathews, getting elected.

Labour senator Alex White was also certain to deliver his party's first seat in the constituency in 14 years, polling more than 8,500 first-preference votes.

The result spelled the humiliating demise of Fianna Fail and has left the party with no sitting TD in the constituency for the first time in several decades. Senator Maria Corrigan only managed to snare just under 10 per cent of the vote and 6,844 first-preferences for the party.

Another major casualty was outgoing Green Party TD and former Communications Minister Eamon Ryan -- with 4,929 first preferences.

He admitted that it was a "big ask" to save his seat.

Fergus Black

Sunday Independent