Taoiseach: Country was on edge of cliff; Labour stood up and were counted

The Dáil's newest TD has been elected - Ruth Coppinger of the Socialist Party has won the Dublin West by-election, after six counts.

And another woman looks set to be elected to the Dáil tonight - Gabrielle McFadden is on course to retain the seat of her late sister Nicky in Longford Westmeath.

Speaking from the count centre, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said it was a sad day for the McFaddens and the party. He also commiserated with Labour on their drubbing at the polls.

"For Eamon Gilmore and the Labour Party, this must be a very disappointing day," he said. "I would temper that by saying that we went into this with our eyes wide open. Our country was standing on the edge of an economic cliff and the Labour Party stood up and were counted.

"We've had a strategy that has been very difficult to implement and that is now working in the interests of the country.

"My commitment is to redouble our efforts and to see that people's fears and anxieties are dealt with."

Meanwhile the slow progress in the local elections count continues, with only 120 of the 949 seats filled.

Coppinger saw off poll-topper Sinn Féin's Paul Donnelly, and a late charge from Fianna Fáil's David McGuinness to take the seat.

Deputy Coppinger - who fought on an anti-austerity platform and has called on the public not to pay the water charges - celebrated with prosecco.

In the other by-election in Longford Westmeath, Fine Gael's Gabrielle McFadden is on course to win the seat held by her late sister Nicky later tonight.

Labour's performance in both of those contests was disastrous, even being beaten by the Greens in Dublin West.

Labour are suffering also in the local elections, with just three seats out of the 120 filled so far.

They face decimation in many local authorities around the country.

Sinn Féin has taken 43 of those seats and will win probably twice as many again. Sinn Féin may well end up as the leading party on Dublin City Council.

Fianna Fáil has secured 24 local council seats so far.

Fine Gael has been bruised but is now hoping for a better result in the Euro polls tomorrow, hopin to retain four of the 11 seats.

When those results are announced tomorrow night, Sinn Féin look set to elect three MEPs.

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