FG's Kyne wins final seat in Galway

Wed, Mar 2, 2011, 00:00

The new Dáil’s 166th seat was filled this morning when Fine Gael councillor Seán Kyne was elected in Galway West.

He secured the fifth seat by a margin of 17 votes over former Galway mayor, Independent Cllr Catherine Connolly. This was a similar margin to that after the first full recount was completed early yesterday.

The 67-hour count, which began in Leisureland, Salthill, last Saturday morning, involved two full recounts, requested by Fine Gael senator Fidelma Healy-Eames and Ms Connolly respectively.

Senator Healy-Eames was eliminated and her surplus helped to elected rival party candidates Brian Walsh and Mr Kyne.

It is the first time since 1982 that Fine Gael has held two seats in Galway West.

Outgoing Fianna Fáil minister Éamon Ó Cuív was the first to be elected, followed by new Labour candidate Derek Nolan, who topped the poll on first preferences. Mr Walsh (FG) and outgoing Independent TD and former PD Noel Grealish took the fourth seat.

Mr Grealish has pledged to support the nomination of Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny for taoiseach next week.

Ms Connolly, who lost her stepmother at the weekend, said she owed it to her campaign and canvassers to seek the second recount, given the narrow margin between herself and Mr Kyne.

She said she believed the level of scrutiny of votes in the first recount reflected pressure being exerted by Fine Gael, including its legal team which maintained a presence in the count centre for the past four days and nights.