Ross: I’m willing to broker deal with Fine Gael for alternative coalition

INDEPENDENT TD for Dublin South, Shane Ross, has held out the prospect that Fine Gael could form a Government with the support of “like-minded” independents following the election of the largest ever number of non-party candidates across the country.

The former senator — who topped the poll in Dublin South with an impressive 23.5% of the vote — indicated his own willingness to broker such a deal to obtain the backing of a group of independent TDs which would include Michael Lowry, Mick Wallace and Noel Grealish should Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny wished to consider an alternative to a FG-Labour coalition.

“I think we are going to have to look at the possibility of unleashing a new force in Irish politics,” said Mr Ross.

Ross powered to victory in this distinctly middle-class constituency — the largest of 12 in Dublin city and county — which maintained its reputation for volatility in re-electing TDs.

Ross headed the poll and was elected on the first count with 17,075 votes — almost 5,000 votes over the quota and more than 7,000 ahead of his nearest rival, Fine Gael’s Olivia Mitchell.

“This is fantastic and above my expectations. We knew the response was superb on the doorsteps but we never thought we would get a quota and a half,” said Mr Ross who was accompanied by his wife, former RTÉ presenter, Ruth Buchanan.

The senator is likely to have won the support of a large number of voters who had also backed Fine Gael’s George Lee in the 2009 by-election.

The TD insisted he was not a celebrity candidate and pointed out that he had been a member of the Seanad since 1981.

Mr Ross, 61, said the result indicated voters wanted “to put a stop to tribal politics” and promised to campaign for a referendum on the IMF/ECB bailout.

In Wexford, Mick Wallace also topped the poll as an independent with 13,329 votes and indicated he would be involved in a technical group.

The developer said he had run on a platform on truth and honesty because the current system is “rotten to the core”.

Luke “Ming” Flanagan was elected to Roscommon South Leitrim in the early hours of yesterday morning.

He immediately pledged to take a 50% cut in the TDs salary and said it was a time for a new type of politics.

The former Mayor of Roscommon said he wants a 75% reduction in the number of councillors and a push to reduce waste in local authorities.

A number of outgoing independents were returned, including Maureen O’Sullivan in Dublin Central, Mattie McGrath in Tipperary South and Finian McGrath in Dublin North Central were returned.

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