Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brun’s emphatic re-election today in Belfast on the first count -- the first time a nationalist party has headed a Six County election -- has been tempered by the party’s loss of its sitting MEP in Dublin, Mary Lou McDonald.
McDonald was eclipsed by socialist Joe Higgins in the final count of the Dublin constituency. Her challenge to hold her seat failed following a surge of support for the radical left in the capital city, which was reduced from four seats to three as a Euro constituency.
In the south of the island, an impressive performance of Toireasa Ferris, daughter of Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris, fell just hundreds of votes shy of a seismic breakthrough for the party in rebel Munster. Sitting Independent MEP Kathy Sinnott is now in a battle with Labour for the final seat there.
Elsewhere, Declan Ganley of the new Euro-sceptic party Libertas now appears unlikely to break into mainstream politics in the Northwest following a recount in that constituency, while the East saw a predicted victory for the establishment with a seat each for the three largest political parties.
In the local elections, the last of the local government counts in the capital saw Sinn Feon candidate Seamus McGrattan win a council seat by beating Maurice Ahern, former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s brother, by 13 votes.
It was the final insult for Fianna Fail which fell to historic lows -- behind Fine Gael for the first time -- and had also suffered the high-profile defeat of Fianna Fail’s outgoing Dublin MEP Eoin Ryan.
Sinn Féin saw success and defeat in equal measure in the local elections, ending with exactly the same number of city and county councillors (54) as it won five years ago.
Meanwhile, an annihilated decimated Green Party was left struggling with the possibility that the organisation may have to be wound up at local level.
Thanking those who voted for his party, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams described the outcome in the North as a significant result given that it was the DUP who made topping the poll an issue during the election campaign.
He said Sinn Féin “had no complaints” but accepted that it would have been better if Mary Lou McDonald had retained her seat “but sin e [that’s that]”.
“Mary Lou fought a brilliant campaign. Our Dublin organisation responded magnificently. But we knew since the time the seats were reduced from four to three that we faced a huge challenge.
“Our transfers saw the election of Joe Higgins. So, well done to Joe.”
He said the party was still building capacity and organisation in the 26 Counties.
“There are no short cuts.
“The big story of the election is that people want change and parties with the capacity are obviously better placed to pick up votes from a wider section of the electorate.
“Sinn Féin took a hit in 2007. We have now recovered from that. So, we need to keep building organisation on the foundations that have now been established in more areas as a result of our electoral successes.
“The reality is that there could be a [26 County] general election at any time. The government clearly has lost its moral authority to govern.”
He warned that Fine Gael was unable to provide the alternative that the people wanted.
“Fine Gael and Fianna Fail are opposite sides of the one coin on social and economic issues. Tweedledum and Tweedledee.
“Enda Kenny has done a good job of building his party but those who voted for Fine Gael in the hope that a rights based, equality centred will be created are going to be disappointed.
“The broad left did well. But the left is fragmented. Unity needs to be built. An alliance for change, for decency and fairness must be developed. That will take time but it doesn’t have to wait until the next election. That work must start now. In the community sector, in the voluntary sector, among campaigning groups, individual activists, everyone who wants a citizen centred society.
“In local councils throughout the state, parties with a commitment to equality must set aside our differences and coalesce to deliver for citizens at the receiving end of savage government policies.”
Taoiseach Brian Cowen, apparently taking his cues from embattled British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, is expected to stage a dramatic Cabinet reshuffle in the face of an opposition onslaught over the poor election results.
The Dublin parliamemnt will resume with Fine Gael tabling a motion of no confidence in the coalition government.
Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny claimed the public has passed judgment and urged every TD to question where their support lies.
“This is a case where every deputy sent up by the people is now going to have to examine why it is in the Dail and if the Government is doing a good job or not,” he said.
“The Taoiseach says he can ignore these elections, these elections are irrelevant, I take a very different view.
“The voice of the people have spoken. They’ve convicted this Government and the Dail will have its opportunity to cast its judgment on that.”
Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore said that the decision of the Fianna Fail and Greens to attempt to continue in government was “defying the wishes of the Irish people”
Green Party leader and Environment Minister John Gormley insisted: “We survived and we will continue to survive. We will recover.
“We are a resilient party. We are a party that is based on an idea, you cannot kill an idea. We have people of integrity, people of ability, we will recover and we will do the very best for this country.”
The following are the complete confirmed results for the European elections, in terms of first preferences.
MITCHELL, Gay (FG) 96715 (23.8%) ---- ELECTED DE ROSSA, Proinsias (Lab) 83471 (20.5%) ---- ELECTED RYAN, Eoin (FF) 55346 (13.6%) HIGGINS, Joe (Soc.) 50510 (12.4%) ---- ELECTED McDONALD, Mary Lou (SF) 47928 (11.8%) BYRNE, Eibhlin (FF) 18956 (4.7%) DE BURCA, Deirdre (Green) 19086 (4.7%) McKENNA, Patricia (Ind.) 17521 (4.3%) SIMONS, Caroline (Lib.) 13514 (3.3%) SWEENEY, Emmanuel (Ind.) 3583 (0.9%)
McGUINNESS, Mairead (FG) 110366 (25.7%) ---- ELECTED * CHILDERS, Nessa (Lab) 78338 (18.3%) ---- ELECTED AYLWARD, Liam (FF) 74666 (17.4%) ---- ELECTED PHELAN, John Paul (FG) 61851 (14.4%) BYRNE, Thomas (FF) 31112 (7.2%) FUNCHION, Kathleen (SF) 26567 (6.2%) SHARKEY, Tomas (SF) 20932 (4.9%) O’MALLEY, Raymond (Lib.) 18557 (4.3%) GARVEY, Paddy (Ind.) 2934 (0.7%) TALLON, Jim (Ind.) 2412 0.6% GREALY, Micheal (Ind.) 1514 0.4%
DE BRUN, Bairbre (SF): 126,184 (26.04%) ---- ELECTED * DODDS, Diane (DUP): 88,346 (18.23%) ---- ELECTED NICHOLSON, Jim (UCUNF): 82,893 (17.11%) ---- ELECTED MAGINESS, Alban (SDLP): 78,489 (16.20%) ALLISTER, Jim (TUV): 66,197 (13.66%) PARSLEY, Ian (Alliance): 26,699 (5.51%) AGNEW, Steven (Green): 15,764 (3.25%)
HARKIN, Marian (Ind.) 84813 (17.1%) ---- ELECTED GALLAGHER, Pat The Cope (FF) 82643 (16.7%) ---- ELECTED HIGGINS, Jim (FG) 80093 (16.2%) ---- ELECTED GANLEY, Declan (Lib.) 70638 (14.3%) MacLOCHLAINN, Padraig (SF) 45515 (9.2%) MOONEY, Paschal (FG) 42985 (8.7%) O’REILLY, Joe (FG) 37564 (7.6%) O’KEEFFE, Susan (Lab.) 28658 (5.8%) McNAMARA, Michael (Ind.) 12744 (2.6%) O LUAIN, Fiachra (Ind.) 3510 (0.7%) HIGGINS, John Francis (Ind.) 3030 (0.6%) McCULLAGH, Noel (Ind.) 1940 (0.4%) KING, Thomas (Ind.) 1124 (0.2%)
CROWLEY, Brian (FF) 118258 (23.7%) ---- ELECTED KELLY, Sean 9257 (FG) (18.6%) ---- ELECTED FERRIS, Toireasa (SF) 64671 (13.0%) KELLY, Alan 64152 (Lab) (12.9%) SINNOTT, Kathy (Ind.) 58485 (11.7%) BURKE, Colm (FG) 53721 (10.8%) O’KEEFFE, Ned (FF) 16596 (3.3%) BOYLE, Dan 15499 (Green) (3.1%) STAFFORD, Alexander (Ind.) 11692 (2.3%) SEXTON, Maurice (Ind.) 2474 (0.5%)
With 869 out of 883 seats filled, the following are the confirmed results so far for the elections to the 26-County local city and county elections, in terms of first preferences and seats won.
Fine Gael 605,335 (32.2%) 334 seats
Fianna Fail 477,344 (25.4%) 213 seats
Labour 276,628 (14.7%) 130 seats
Sinn Féin 138,406 (7.4%) 54 seats
Green Party 44,152 (2.3%) 3 seats
Non-Party 338,730 (18.0%) 135 seats
The following is a complete list of the republican and Sinn Féin candidates who secured election in last week’s elections.
Bailieborough - McDonald, Paddy (SF)
Ballyjamesduff - Tully-McCauley, Pauline (SF)
Belturbet - Brady, Damien (SF)
Cavan - Boylan, Charlie (SF)
Cork City North Central - Gould, Thomas (SF)
Cork City North West - O’Brien, Jonathan (SF) *
Cork City South Central - Kerins, Fiona (SF)
Cork City South West - Cremin, Henry (SF)
Midleton - McLellan, Sandra (SF)
Glenties - Gallagher, Maire Therese (SF)
Inishowen - Mac Lochlainn, Padraig (SF) *
Letterkenny - Quinn, Mick (SF)
Stranorlar - Harvey, Cora (SF) *
Artane-Whitehall - O’Toole, Larry (SF)
Ballyfermot-Drimnagh - Minihan, Louise (SF)
Ballymun-Finglas - Ellis, Dessie (SF)
Cabra-Glasnevin - Mcgrattan, Seamus (SF)
Donaghmede - Forde, Killian (SF)
North Inner City - Burke, Christy (SF)
South-West Inner City - Ni Dhalaigh, Criona (SF)
Clondalkin - McDonagh, Matthew (SF)
Tallaght Central - Crowe, Sean (SF)
Tallaght South - King, Cathal (SF)
Ballinasloe - Connolly, Dermot (SF)
Conamara - O Curraoin, Tomas (RSF)
Listowel - Beasley, Robert (SF)
Tralee - Ferris, Toireasa (SF) *
Portlaoise - Stanley, Brian (SF) *
Ballinamore - Kenny, Martin (SF)
Manorhamilton - Colreavy, Michael (SF)
Limerick City North - Quinlivan, Maurice (SF)
Ardee - McGeough, Pearse (SF)
Drogheda West - McQuillan, Paddy (SF)
Drogheda East - Munster, Imelda (SF)
Dundalk Carlingford - Corrigan, Edel (SF)
Dundalk Carlingford - Loughran, Jim (SF)
Dundalk South - Sharkey, Tomas * (SF)
Belmullet - Conway-Walsh, Rose (SF)
Swinford - Murray, Gerry * (SF)
Navan - Reilly, Joe (SF)
Carrickmacross - Carthy, Matt (SF)
Carrickmacross - Keelan, Noel (SF)
Castleblayney - Crowe, Jackie (SF) *
Clones - Treanor, Pat (SF) *
Monaghan - Conlon, Sean (SF)
Monaghan - McKenna, Brian (SF) *
Monaghan - McKenna, Sheila (SF)
Birr - Carroll, John (Ind.)
Castlerea - Mulligan, Michael (SF)
Sligo Strandhill - MacManus, Sean (SF) *
Nenagh - Morris, Seamus (SF)
Waterford City South - Cullinane, David (SF)
Dungarvan - Mansfield, Brendan (SF)
Tramore - Fitzgerald, Pat (SF)
Bray - Brady, John (SF) *
Wicklow - Snell, John (SF)
* - Elected on the first count