Dublin West results: Leo Varadkar, Ruth Coppinger, Joan Burton and Jack Chambers elected
Tánaiste does not see Labour re-entering Government and will not be resigning
All eyes were on this constituency from early. A potential future leader of Fine Gael, a Tánaiste, a young, upcoming Fianna Fáil candidate and two left wing politicians contesting for four seats in a tough constituency.
Joan Burton managed to retain her seat in Dublin West on a dismal day for the Labour party.
Ms Burton said she would not be stepping down as party leader but admitted the party would not be forming part of the next government.
“We won’t be making any decisions in relation to the future.... direction of the party until such time as we complete all of the counts.”
“Obviously the electorate have given a particular verdict and whatever role it is the Labour party takes up, we’ll do that to our utmost best.
“But I don’t at this point foresee the Labour party being involved in government.”
Leo Varadkar, as expected, topped the poll but failed to get elected until the third count.
The Fine Gael TD had urged many of his supporters to give their support to his coalition colleague Ms Burton who was contesting for the last seat.
Mr Varadkar said it was a difficult day for Fine Gael at the ballot boxes but insisted this was not the time for analysis on what went wrong for the party.
He said a lot of his colleagues had undeservedly lost their seats.
Mr Varadkar insisted Taoiseach Enda Kenny would remain as leader of Fine Gael despite the poll results. He said all senior Ministers needed to accept their share of the blame.
Asked if Mr Kenny should remain as leader the Minister for Health said: “I think he should. Absolutely.”
Mr Varadkar said the obligation to form a Government also falls on opposition parties also.
He said he did not favour a Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael coalition claiming it would not be good for either party and would not last long.
Mr Varadkar said: “I do not trust them and it would open the door to Sinn Fein as lead of opposition.”
Early indications anticipated the election of Fianna Fáil TD Jack Chambers to exceed the quota and take the second seat. However it was Ruth Coppinger who secured that position helped largely by the transfers of Independent Alliance candidate David McGuinness.
Ms Coppinger said the results across the country had sent a clear message to the established political parties.
She said it had also reminded parties that voters wanted a left alternative and a strong movement.
Ms Coppinger said: “We need a new party to replace Labour.”
Mr Chambers was elected without reaching the quota. Dublin West had been without a Fianna Fáil seat since the death of former minister of finance Brian Lenihan in 2011.
The 25-year-old said he was honoured to follow in the footsteps of Mr Lenihan. He said the election was a great day for Fianna Fáil and proved the electorate wanted a social conscience in Government.
Tánaiste Joan Burton gained the fourth seat without reaching the quota. She beat Sinn Fein Paul Donnelly who had warned he would seek a recount if the result was close.
Sinn Féin will be disappointed Donnelly did not poll better at a time of utter frustration at the Government.
He denied it was a poor result for Sinn Féin despite wide expectations the party would comfortable secure a seat.
Mr Donnelly also rejected concerns about leader Gerry Adams.
He said: “Gerry Adams has topped the poll. Imelda Munster is going to come in behind him. If that is a disastrous leadership I don’t know what a good one is. We have increased our vote again.”