Counting ends in Seanad votes

 

Counting in the election for the 24th Seanad has been ended with Fianna Fáil putting in a better-than-expected performance.

The count ended late this afternoon with the filling of the administration panel.

Fianna Fáil's Mark Daly became the first person to be elected to the panel this afternoon followed a short time later by Labour's John Kelly. Diarmuid Wilson (FF) and Fine Gael's Michael D'Arcy, Martin Conway and Tom Sheahan followed while Labour's Denis Landy was the final person to be elected to the panel.

The breakdown among political parties overall for the 24th Seanad vocational panels is as follows: Fine Gael (18 seats), Fianna Fáil (14 seats), Labour (eight seats), Sinn Féin (three seats).

A further six candidates were elected for the university panels.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny indicated he would not announce his 11 Seanad nominees until the week after next.

He said he will be in the US next week and will probably name his nominees when he returns.

Expressing satisfaction with his party’s performance, Mr Kenny described it as “probably the best ever”.

Mr Kenny said it was still his intention to hold a referendum on the abolition of the Seanad but this was a complex issue given the number of references to the Upper House in the constitution. He said he had already asked the Attorney General to come up with a wording which will be put to the people.

The strategy of party leader Micheál Martin in attempting to get potential TDs elected will be seen as a qualified success, with many of his list of 10 favoured candidates becoming senators.

The election of Averil Power on the Industrial and Commercial panel last night in particular, represented an important victory for Mr Martin’s strategy of attempting to get some new young blood into the parliamentary party.

However, there was disappointment for the party today when Mary Fitzpatrick was eliminated.

The victory of Ms Power and Mary White yesterday, along with Marc MacSharry to the Industrial and Commercial panel, means that there will now be at least two women members of the parliamentary party, which had been an all-male preserve after the general election.

On the National University panel, hospital consultant John Crown was elected along with outgoing senators Rónán Mullen and Feargal Quinn last night.

In Trinity College David Norris was elected far ahead of the rest of the field with 35 per cent of the vote, while Ivana Bacik retained her seat. Economist Seán Barrett last night won the third seat on the panel.