LGBT campaigner Fintan Warfield elected first to 25th Seanad

LGBT campaigner Fintan Warfield is the first person to be elected to the 25th Seanad.

LGBT campaigner Fintan Warfield elected first to 25th Seanad

Counting of votes for the Upper House got underway yesterday with 60 seats up for grabs. It will be later this week before all members are elected as only one panel can be counted at a time.

Sinn Féin’s Mr Warfield, 24, was elected to the cultural and educational panel on the first count with 200 votes, 13 over the quota.

In total, 166 candidates are hoping to gain a Seanad seat. These include 13 former TDs who lost their Dáil seats in the general election.

Some 43 of the 60 members of the next Seanad will be elected by local councillors, TDs and outgoing senators to five panels representing vocational interests — namely, culture and education, agriculture, labour, industry and commerce, and public administration.

Another 11 senators are nominated by the Taoiseach, while the final six are elected by university graduates — three each by the National University of Ireland and Trinity College Dublin.

Both Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin are expected to make significant gains in the Upper House because of their strong representation at local government level.

Labour are expected to be the biggest losers, with around three seats.

After his election, Mr Warfield, former mayor of South Dublin County Council, said: “As a young person involved in the arts and an LGBT activist, I will be a progressive voice on these issues in the Seanad. I hope that in the coming days, I will be joined in the Seanad by an enlarged Sinn Féin team.

“To have been elected on the centenary of the Rising is a massive honour and privilege, and I look forward to working with the rest of my colleagues in Leinster House to fight for the type of change promised in the Proclamation.”

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams congratulated Mr Warfield yesterday evening and said: Fintan has served on South Dublin County Council for the past two years, including as mayor of South Dublin in 2014/15, is a talented young musician, advocate for the arts, and a prominent LGBT campaigner.”

Counting for the university panels gets under way this morning when the deadline for postal votes lapses.

While it is expected that there will be full turnout for the vocational panels, only around 30% of those entitled to vote for the university panels are expected to do so.

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