Brian Stanley elected TD for Laois/Offaly
Brian Stanley elected TD for Laois/Offaly

Brian Stanley has clinched a seat for Sinn Fein in Laois/Offaly, the first in 78 years.

It was another case of third time luck for Stanley, who also contested the 2002 and 2007 elections.

Mr Stanley has been active in local politics for over a decade, as a member of Portlaoise Town Council since 1999 and of Laois County Council since 2004.

The Taoiseach’s brother, Barry Cowen, also took a seat in the giant five-seat midlands constituency.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein’s John Brady finished just 112 votes behind independent Stephen Donnelly following a marathon count in Wicklow. Following a strongly criticised and entirely futile bid by outgoing Fianna Fail Minister Dick Roche to hold one recount, there was praise for Brady’s team for not pursuing another.

The results bring to 14 the number of Sinn Fein seats, almost triple their tally before the election was called.

The success has caused unionists to expressed concern that it will boost their performance in Stormont elections later this year.

DUP leader Peter Robinson warned that Sinn Fein’s gains in the Dublin parliament provided it with “opportunities for growth in Northern Ireland”. But he said his party would benefit “because people will want to stop Gerry Adams in his tracks with his all-Ireland project”.

Counting is still continuing in the early hours of this morning in Galway West, where two Fine Gael candidates and two independent candidates are still competing for the last three seats.

With 163 out of 166 seat now filled, the number of seats gained are 14 for Sinn Fein, 74 for Fine Gael, 37 for Labour, 20 for Fianna Fail, 5 for United Left Alliance, and 13 independents.

A full and final round-up of all the results will be published here later today [Tuesday].

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