Jerry Buttimer tops Labour panel as he is re-elected to Seanad

Jerry Buttimer tops Labour panel as he is re-elected to Seanad
File photo of Jerry Buttimer.

Outgoing Seanad leader Jerry Buttimer has topped the Labour Panel poll and been re-elected to the upper house.

The former Cork South-Central TD was the latest name added to the 26th Seanad as counting continues in venues across Dublin, without the usual fanfare.

Due to restrictions on movements, candidates and their agents have been asked to stay away from the count centres at Dublin Castle, Trinity College Dublin and the RDS.

Buttimer topped the Labour Panel poll, with party-mate John Cummins in second, Fianna Fáil’s Robbie Gallagher in third, and now a five-term Senator, Joe O'Reilly was the fourth to be elected to the panel.

Fianna Fail candidate Shane Cassells, who lost his Dáil seat in the general election, was the fifth Senator elected to the Labour panel.

Fianna Fáil's Ned O'Sullivan was returned to his seat on the Labour panel along with party colleague Pat Casey.

On the NUI Panel, Ronan Mullen topped the poll and secured his return to the upper chamber. Michael McDowell returned to his seat in second and Alice Mary Higgins looked set to retain her seat, warding off the challenge from former Dublin West TD Ruth Coppinger.

David Norris was elected to the upper house for the ninth time on the 4th count to the Trinity panel. Labour's Ivana Bacik was returned to the Seanad on the Trinity panel on the sixth count.

On the Agriculture Panel, Independent Victor Boyhan topped the poll, while Fianna Fáil picked up four of the 11 seats – Denis O’Donovan, Paul Daly, Niall Blaney and Eugene Murphy were all victorious – with Fine Gael taking three (Tim Lombard, Paddy Burke and former junior minister Michael D’Arcy), and Labour, The Green Party and, Sinn Féin all taking a seat each with Annie Hoey, Pippa Hackett and former Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan respectively.

Yesterday saw five seats on the Cultural and Educational panel filled by three ex-TDs, an outgoing senator and a county councillor. Fianna Fáil’s Malcolm Byrne and Lisa Chambers and the former government Chief Whip, Fine Gael’s Sean Kyne, all won seats, with Fine Gael councillor John McGahon and Sinn Féin senator Fintan Warfield taking the other two.

Counting will continue this week aimed at filling 49 of the 60 available seats in the Seanad, though Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is not in a position to nominate the 11 others. Legal advice sought by Ceann Comhairle Seán O Fearghail has said that without those nominees, the Oireachtas is not in a position to pass legislation, adding another dimension to an already unusual Seanad campaign.

Campaigns were suspended early to allow candidates adhere to social distancing rules, before restrictions on movements made the counts inaccessible to most people.

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