Gerry Adams hails 'most successful Sinn Féin campaign in his lifetime'
By Elaine Keogh
Labour’s loss was Sinn Féin’s gain in Louth today.
Fianna Fáil were the first to elect a candidate and where Fine Gael succeeded in keeping their two seats.
History was also made with the first female deputy being elected for Louth.
The signs of defeat for Employment Minister Ged Nash were visible from the first tallies which had him in sixth place in the five-seat constituency.
Party faithful hoped he could pick up sufficient transfers to overtake Fine Gael’s Peter Fitzpatrick who acknowledged early on that he was in ‘a dog-fight’ for the last seat.
The gap increased and it became inevitable that Fine Gael were going to retain Fitzpatrick and Fergus O’Dowd thanks to effective vote management.
Speaking after his defeat, Ged Nash said he supported Labour party leader Joan Burton and would continue to do so.
“It is a great shame the labour party is going back into the Dáil in diminished numbers,” he added.
“Working people and people who depend on public services will have a greatly weakened voice.”
Sinn Féin’s party leader Gerry Adams topped the poll on the first count and said it was “the most successful Sinn Féin campaign in [his] lifetime.”
The first woman TD for Louth, Sinn Féin’s Imelda Munster said, said the message from the electorate was “that they don’t want any more austerity, that they want a fair recovery, they are very definitive in it.”
Fianna Fáil’s Declan Breathnach met the quota first after transfers from eliminated candidates.
Talking about the prospect of coalition with Fine Gael, Breathnach said he believed people "are looking for stability and every public representative in Dáil Éireann needs to sit down and ensure we provide that stability.”
Among the other strong performers were Garrett Weldon from AAA-PBP and Kevin Callan (Independent Alliance).
Renua’s Michael O’Dowd, who polled 2095 first preferences, said tonight: “If Renua Ireland is to have any relevance it must tack to the centre ground and mend fences with public sector employees.”