Sinn Fein Senator Pearse Doherty has been elected to the Dail for Donegal South West, without reaching the quota after securing a massive 40% of the first preference vote and the lion’s share of the second preference transfers in Thursday’s by-election.
The returning officer announced the result shortly after 6.40pm, following a fourth count. Speaking following his election, Mr Doherty called for an immediate general election.
“Today’s result is a vote for change. It is an endorsement of Sinn Fein’s argument that there is a better way,” he said.
Mr Doherty said it was a vote for “a fair economic policy based on tax reform, ending waste and stimulating the economy to create jobs”.
“It’s a rejection of the government’s four year plan, of cuts to public services, social welfare and the minimum wage. It is a rejection of the ‘consensus for cuts’ amongst all the establishment parties - Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour.
“It is also a rejection of the interference of the IMF in Irish affairs.”
Mr Doherty said he would vote against the coalition government’s “damaging Budget” on December 7th.
Following the elimination of independent Thomas Pringle, Mr Doherty finished with 16,897 votes, with Fianna Fail’s Brian O Domhnaill on 8,069 votes, Barry O Neill of Fine Gael on 8,182.
The first count put Mr Doherty on 13,719 first preference votes; Labour’s Frank McBrearty polled 3,366; Senator Brian O Domhnaill of Fianna Fail polled 7,344; Barry O’Neill of Fine Gael polled 6,424 and Independent candidate Thomas Pringle polled 3,438 votes.
Counting took place in the Finn Valley Athletics Club in Stranorlar. The total valid poll was 34,424 and the quota was 17,213.
The result, although expected since early morning, was greeted with jubilation in Donegal and across Ireland. It sent shock waves, not only through Irish society, but across the European and global capitalist system. It also served as a warning to Ireland’s corrupt elite and international money managers not to present the people with the bill for the havoc they have wreaked on the Irish and global economy.
Sinn Fein Gerry Adams said Mr Doherty’s victory was an overwhelming endorsement of Sinn Fein’s rejection of the Government’s four year plan and of its proposed austerity budget.
“It is a vote for genuine republican values,” he said.
“The Donegal South West by-election is the real opinion poll of the public mood.
“We asked the electorate here to stand up for Donegal and for Ireland. They have done so.
“The government should postpone the budget and call an immediate general election.
“I want to congratulate Pearse and our team here on his remarkable victory. He has overturned a significant Fianna Fail majority.
“Pearse will join the Sinn Fein team in Leinster House in acting as the only effective opposition party determined to oppose the IMF imposed budget.”