For the first time in Fine Gael history, Waterford failed to elect a TD in a general election after a surge of left-leaning transfers handed the fourth and final seat to Green Party newcomer Marc Ó Cathasaigh.
In the early hours of this morning, Ó Cathasaigh joined Fianna Fáil's Mary Butler and Independent Matt Shanahan, who were also elected on the seventh and final count at Waterford IT.
They joined Sinn Féin’s David Cullinane, who was elected many counts before after topping the poll with with 20,569 first-preference votes – twice the quota - recording the largest first-preference vote in Waterford history in the process.
The Greens' Marc Ó Cathasaigh, a teacher from Tramore, began the day several hundred votes behind Fine Gael candidates John Cummins and Damien Geoghegan, but a surge of transfers from People Before Profit's Una Dunphy helped Cllr Ó Cathasaigh, who first came to prominence in the green wave of the 2019 local elections.
"It's mainly nervous exhaustion at this stage," Ó Cathasaigh said as he celebrated a surprise result for the Greens. "The processing of any finer options will happen later on. We have upwards of 25,000 doors canvassed, all day every day. We left nothing out on the pitch. It'll take a while for it to sink in, but the vote today was Left - and it stayed Left - and that helped me.
"It's been a very hectic last 12 months. It's been a steep learning curve in the council - the county development plan is coming down the tracks and Green thinking is essential for forward planning. We have to put climate action and biodiversity front and centre.
"We may have tripled our mandate. The main story is the rise of Sinn Féin, but there's also the rise of the Green Party vote. Last time out we narrowly broke 2% nationally. This time out we comfortable broke 7%."
The seventh and last count saw Ó Cathasaigh see off a late challenge from Fine Gael's John Cummins, who picked up 2,597 out of Damien Geoghegan's 5,549 votes - a big internal transfer - but not enough. Fine Gael is without a Waterford Dáil seat for the first time in its history. West Waterford is also left without any TD, for the first time since the 1940s, as the combined Sinn Féin and Green wave unseated Fine Gael.