Paul Coghlan celebrates with tea and toast after narrow Seanad win

Veteran Fine Gael senator Paul Coghlan celebrated his last-gasp late-night re-election to the Upper House with “tea and toast”.

Paul Coghlan celebrates with tea and toast after narrow Seanad win

Mr Coghlan initially appeared to have lost his seat as the ballot boxes opened but revived to secure his seat on the last count.

The Killarney-based politician last night told the Irish Examiner of his deep relief and delight in securing another term, saying he thought he was gone.

“I thought it was all over, I really did,” he said. “But then, the transfers kept coming in dribs and drabs. I didn’t get to bed until 3.30am. I retired with some tea and toast, as I had not eaten since 1pm.”

Mr Coghlan put his difficult election down to the fact that Fine Gael had lost 105 council seats in 2014, as well as 25 TDs, which impacted on his first preference votes.

There were further Fine Gael casualties in the Seanad election. Ex-junior minister Paudie Coffey and sitting senators Tom Sheahan and Eamonn Coughlan were among the unsuccessful.

However, there was good news for the ravaged Labour Party, securing a fifth seat with the election of ex-junior minister Kevin Humphreys on the Administration Panel. Mr Humphreys said he was delighted to have the chance to rebuild the party from the Seanad.

Labour Party leader Joan Burton congratulated her new senators — Mr Humphreys, Ivana Bacik, Denis Landy, Ged Nash, and Aodhán Ó Ríordáin.

“The fact we achieved a clean sweep, with all our vocational panel candidates winning seats, is testament to the work put in by our new senators and director of elections Joe Costello,” she said.

Fianna Fáil’s mixed Seanad campaign continued, with Stillorgan councillor Gerry Horkan getting in, while Mary Fitzpatrick missed out.

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