Leas Ceann Comhairle vote ends in stalemate

The four way race for the €35,000-a-year position of Dáil vice chairman ended in a stalemate yesterday despite two hours of voting in the Dáil.

Party whips now expect that there will be another vote for Leas Ceann Comhairle next week, in which Fianna Fáil’s Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher and Fine Gael’s Bernard Durkan are now seen as the main contenders.

Several TDs abstained yesterday during the votes, including TDs with AAA-PBP and the Social Democrats, and their vote could be crucial for a candidate to win.

The victor must secure at least half the votes of those present in the house who vote and not half the actual numbers in the Dáil. There are no transfers for the vote for Leas Ceann Comhairle.

Mr Gallagher secured 52 votes and 83 votes against him but was the only candidate to secure cross-part support, while Mr Durkan won 49 votes and also saw 83 TDs vote against him.

Mr Gallagher received support from six of the seven Labour TDs. Labour is also trying to secure the support of Fianna Fáil in the Seanad to get senator Denis Landy elected as leas-chathaoirleach there.

Sinn Féin’s Sean Crowe was third in the Dáil vote, receiving 33 votes but 106 TDs opposed his nomination. Lastly, Independent TD Mattie McGrath scored 20 votes with 117 voting against him.

Party leaders are expected to press for another vote next week, but it remains unclear if some candidates will withdraw and, furthermore, whether the nomination process can reopen. Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl said yesterday the matter would now be referred to the political party whips.


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