Noonan resigns in FG meltdown


Fine Gael's Mr Michael Noonan has resigned as leader after his party's disastrous election results.

He said: "I took over the party when there was an expectation of very serious seat losses. A lot of people pledged their faith in me to reverse the decline. I didn't reverse the decline."

Key figures such as Mr Alan Dukes; Mr Jim Mitchell; Mr Alan Shatter; Mr Brian Hayes and former presidential candidate Mr Austin Currie all lost their seats. Last night, deputy party leader, Ms Nora Owen, lost her seat in Dublin North which voted for first time electronically.

Meanwhile Fianna Fáil's performance was blemished only by the loss of former Minister for Public Enterprise, Mrs Mary O'Rourke's seat in Westmeath.

The Progressive Democrats surpassed all expectations with leader, Ms Mary Harney, predicting the party would become fourth biggest in the State with six or possibly seven seats.

The Labour Party did not make the gains it expected and its leader Mr Ruairí Quinn had a tight battle to retain his own seat in Dublin South East. However, the Party is likely to increase its number of deputies in the Dáil.

Pundits are forecasting the Party to take 22 seats, up one from its pre-election position.

Sinn Féin polled extremely well as predicted with the Party likely to take five seats. Earlier today, Mr Sean Crowe became the Party's first Dublin representative since Countess Markiewicz.

In Kerry North, Sinn Féin's, Mr Martin Ferris, topped the poll mainly at the expense of former Labour leader Mr Dick Spring who lost his seat for first time since 1979.

The Green Party have won five seats and may yet take a sixth in their best electoral performance to date. Party leader Mr Trevor Sargent and Mr John Gormley both retained their seats and will be joined by Mr Eamon Ryan in Dublin South, Mr Paul Nicholas Gogarty in Dublin Mid West and Mr Ciaran Cuffe in Dun Laoghaire.

Mr Dan Boyle in Cork South Central is fighting for the last seat.

Independent candidates have pulled off surprise wins in Mayo, Wexford and Clare. Independents are likely to take ten of the 166 seats available in the next Dáil.