Burton elected on first count

 

Joan Burton has won the most first preference votes in Dublin West following a surge in support for the Labour Party in the constituency.

Ms Burton, who is Labour’s deputy leader and finance spokeswoman, received 22.5 per cent of the vote, a total of 9,627 first preferences. She was the first candidate to be elected to the Dáil this afternoon.

The second-placed candidate, Fine Gael’s Leo Varadkar, received 8,359 first preferences, or 19.5 per cent of the total poll. This put him just shy of the quota of 8,495. He was elected on the second count.

Socialist Party MEP Joe Higgins was elected on the third count.

Fianna Fáil’s Brian Lenihan, who topped the first count in Dublin West in 2007, is in strong contention for the fourth and final seat in the constituency, with 6,421 votes. He is currently ahead of the second Fine Gael candidate, Kieran Dennison, who received 3,190 first preferences, and the Labour candidate Patrick Nulty, who has 2,686 votes.

Sinn Féin’s Paul Donnelly received 2,597 first preferences, while Fianna Fáil’s David McGuinness received 623. The Green Party candidate Roderic O’Gorman is on 605, with independent candidate Clement Esebamen on 280.

With a total of 42,799 ballots cast, the turnout in the constituency was 68.6 per cent. There were 327 spoiled ballots, giving a total valid poll of 42,472.

Ms Burton’s surplus of 1,132 is being distributed on the second count. The tallies had earlier indicated that there has been a high rate of transfers between Fine Gael and Labour candidates.

Both Fine Gael and Labour now face an uphill struggle to take the fourth seat away from Mr Lenihan.

Ms Burton said she had received strong support from young women in the constituency who had taken notice of the fact that she was the only female candidate running in Dublin West. “And Mario Rosenstock did me no harm either,” she added, referring to the impressionist.

In 2007, the first count was topped by Brian Lenihan, followed by Leo Varadkar, with Joan Burton edging ahead of Joe Higgins to take the third and final seat. The constituency has since become a four-seater due to population growth.

Speaking just ahead of the first count result, Mr Higgins said the Fine Gael-Labour coalition would be as hated in three years time as the outgoing Government, as they would continue largely the same policies as Fianna Fáil and the Green Party.

“The critical thing is how can we build a new movement of the left and the socialist alternative to represent working class people and the youth,” he said. “We will begin to make a new party to fill that vacuum.”