Harris and Donnelly among the last TDs to get their seats after dramatic night of counting

Outgoing Health Minister Simon Harris was among the last TDs to be elected.

After a long and anxious wait, Mr Harris, along with Fianna Fáil health spokesman Stephen Donnelly and Green Party councillor Steven Matthews, took the final three seats in Wicklow in the 15th count late on Monday night.

The count centre at Nemo Rangers GAA club in Cork. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire
The count centre at Nemo Rangers GAA club in Cork. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Sinn Féin’s John Brady swept to victory on the first count in Wicklow after topping the poll on Sunday, gaining some 17,000-plus votes, or 24% of the poll.

He was followed by Jennifer Whitmore of the Social Democrats, a Greystones-based councillor who outperformed many pundits' expectations.

All five TDs for Wicklow are now drawn from the commuter-belt area of Bray and Greystones, leaving the south and west of the constituency with no local representative.

Two sitting TDs for Fine Gael and Fine Fail lost their seats, in line with the national trend against the traditional big two parties.

They were junior minister Andrew Doyle, who has served as a Dáil deputy for 13 years, and Fianna Fail's Pat Casey TD, a Glendalough-based hotelier. There had been speculation earlier during the counts that Stephen Donnelly was at risk.

His transfer from the Social Democrats to Fianna Fáil saw him lose a large share of his poll-topping vote in 2016. However, strong transfers from his constituency colleague Casey, in particular, saw him leapfrog to safety.

Jennifer Whitmore, a first-time TD, has been a councillor since 2014 and was a founding member of the Social Democrats a year later.

Former Minister of Agriculture Brendan Smith was also among the last TDs to be elected on Monday. He took the fourth seat in Cavan-Monaghan with 11,004 votes, being elected on the eleventh count.

His Fianna Fáil party colleague Niamh Smyth took the final seat on the same count, polling a total of 10,951 votes.

While Fine Gael’s TP O’Reilly stayed in the hunt until the closing stages of the contest and polled some 8,646 votes in the final reckoning, his election was always unlikely given the relative weakness of the Fine Gael vote in the constituency.

Fianna Fáil’s Marc MacSharry and Fine Gael’s Frank Feighan were also elected late on Monday night on the 15th count for Sligo-Leitrim.

They completed the count for the four-seat constituency where Sinn Féin’s Martin Kenny and the independent Marian Harkin were elected earlier.

Outgoing Fianna Fáil TD Eamon Scanlon was in the running until the end but lost out to Mr Feighan.

Mr Kenny, who topped the poll with 15,000 first preferences, said his party had been given a mandate for change right across the country and would deliver for those people stuck on hospital trolleys and those doing long commutes to work while struggling to pay for childcare.

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