Lisa Chambers among Fianna Fáil TDs fighting for seats

Lisa Chambers among Fianna Fáil TDs fighting for seats

Lisa Chambers is among a number of high-profile Fianna Fáil TDs now fighting for their seats as counting continues in the election.

However, Micheál Martin’s party could still return as the largest political party in the next Dáil and Fianna Fáil have already come under pressure to enter coalition talks with Sinn Féin.

As Sinn Féin candidates topped polls across the country, Mr Martin last night seemed to soften his stance on doing a deal with Mary Lou McDonald’s party which he had repeatedly ruled out in advance of polling day.

Fianna Fáil, who had supported Fine Gael in Government through the confidence and supply agreement, have failed to make the gains they had hoped for after the unexpected surge in support for Sinn Féin.

They are now projected to take just over 40 seats — roughly the same as the 45 seats they had in the last Dáil — as a number of their out-going TDs are now expected not to return to the 33rd Dáil.

Ms Chambers, Fianna Fáil’s Brexit spokesperson, was in danger of losing her seat in Mayo after receiving 6,373 first-preference votes.

Fine Gael’s Michael Ring and Sinn Féin’s Rose Conway-Walsh were both elected on the first count in Mayo, with Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary trailing behind them with 9,163 first-preference votes.

In Wicklow, the party’s health spokesman Stephen Donnelly was also clinging on last night. He ran as a Social Democrat in the 2016 election when he topped the poll with 20% of first-preference votes. However, he received just 7% of first-preference votes in Saturday’s election and could be pipped at the post by Jennifer Whitmore — the candidate put forward by his former party.

In Kerry, outgoing Fianna Fáil TD John Brassil conceded early yesterday afternoon claiming that “barring a miracle” he would not retain his seat.

However, the party were last night still expected to retain a seat in the constituency with his running mate Norma Foley looking likely to be elected. Tallies had her on 9% with 6,842 first-preferences and Mr Brassil behind her on 7% with 5,421 votes.

Among the other outgoing Fianna Fáil TDs who last night were in jeopardy of losing their seats was Eugene Murphy in Roscommon-Galway.

Fianna Fáil’s strategy to put forward Orla Leydon as his running mate appears to have backfired and neither are now expected to be elected.

However, as expected Independent Michael Fitzmaurice topped the poll and was the first TD to be elected in Roscommon-Galway.

There were also doubts over Declan Breathnach’s seat in Louth as well as Anne Rabbitte in Galway East.

However, Fianna Fáil are expected to make some gains including in Clare where they are now tipped to return two TDs.

They were also in the hunt for three seats in the Laois-Offally constituency as counting continued.

The party went into the election with one secure seat as the Ceann Comhairle is automatically returned to the Dáil.

Speaking in the Cork South Central count centre Mr Martin said there is “an onus and an obligation” on parties to build a “functioning government”.

“I don’t want to pre-empt anything,” he said but stated that there are still “serious policy issues” between the parties.

Sinn Féin’s Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire topped the poll in the Cork South Central constituency with over 14,000 first-preference votes. Micheál Martin was elected on the sixth count.

Mr Martin said: “I think we’ll let things calm down today. We’ll assess it when the full count is in, and the full number of seats is in. I’m a democrat.

I listen to the people. I respect the decision of the people.

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