Three seats filled in new Seanad

Three seats filled in new Seanad

Three Senators have now been elected to the new Seanad.

Fine Gael's Sean Kyne and Fianna Fáil's Lisa Chambers won seats this morning.

A third former TD, Fianna Fáil's Malcolm Byrne, has also been elected after contesting his fifth election in 300 days.

It looks like the Green Party's Saoirse McHugh will miss out on a seat - with Fine Gael's John McGahon and Sinn Féin's Fintan Warfield expected to be elected to the Cultural and Education panel.

Former government chief whip is first person elected to new Seanad

- Daniel McConnell

Former Government Chief Whip Sean Kyne is the first person elected to the new Seanad having passed the quota on the 14th count on the Cultural and Educational Panel.

Benefitting from significant transfers from party colleagues eliminated, Mr Kyne lost his Dáil seat in the February General Election but is seen as close to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

After Count 15, which saw the elimination of former Fianna Fáil TD Margaret Murphy O'Mahony, the remaining four seats are likely to be filled by John McGahon of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil's Malcolm Byrne and Lisa Chambers and Sinn Féin's Fintan Warfield.

Green Party hopeful Saoirse McHugh had secured a strong first preference vote and was well placed up until the end, but has struggled to remain transfer-friendly looks set to be pipped by Mr Byrne for the final seat.

This election has seen some high profile losses with former Fianna Fáil TD Declan Breathnach eliminated on the ninth count. Mr Breathnach said that in estimating the support of voters “you should count the number of votes you’re promised and divide by two”.

Fine Gael’s Tom Neville, lost his Limerick Dáil seat in the general election also lost out on a seat when counting stopped shortly before midnight on Monday.

Along with Mr Neville failing to secure a seat, his outgoing Senate colleague Westmeath Senator Gabrielle McFadden lost her seat and was eliminated on the 10th count.

Earlier: Sean Kyne elected to Seanad

- By Digital Desk staff, with reporting from Press Association

Former government chief whip Sean Kyne is the first person elected to the new Seanad.

He will likely be joined by his Fine Gael colleague John McGahon on the Cultural and Educational panel.

It looks as though the Green Party's Saoirse McHugh will be caught on transfers by outgoing Fianna Fáil TD Malcolm Byrne.

His party mate Lisa Chambers should also be elected with Sinn Féin's Fintan Warfield rounding out the five-person panel.

With no one reaching the quota after 13 rounds last night, counting was suspended just before midnight and resumed this morning.

The five vocational panels compromise 43 of the Seanad’s 60 seats.

There are 118 candidates seeking election to the panels.

In addition to the Cultural and Educational panel, the other four panels are: Agricultural, Labour, Industrial and Commercial, and Administrative.

Votes for each panel had been due to be counted on successive days through the week.

The counts for the two University panels – for six seats, three each from National University of Ireland colleges and Trinity College – will start on Tuesday.

The final 11 senators to make up the next Seanad will be announced by the taoiseach of the next government.

Outgoing Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is not able to nominate the final 11 senators, putting pressure on politicians for a new government to be formed.

The contest for the Seanad has been heavily impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak.

Candidates had to stop campaigning early in order to comply with social distancing measures.

Access to the count centre at Dublin Castle on Monday was strictly limited, with even candidates urged not to attend.

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