Norris elected after Seanad recount


Presidential hopeful David Norris has today been deemed re-elected to Seanad Éireann for the Dublin University (Trinity College) constituency following a full recount.

In the first count, Mr Norris was elected with 5,471 of the valid poll of 15,394 votes. However, when Mr Norris's voting papers were examined to distribute his surplus, some 150 additional first preferences were found, giving a total of 5,623 votes and sparking the recount.

As he had exceeded the quota, Mr Norris was deemed elected, and his votes were redistributed. The senator's vote tally was followed by that of Ivana Bacik (2,982), Sean Barrett (1,051), Tony Williams (1,336), Maurice Guéret (822) and Marc Coleman (772).

After the distribution of Jeffrey Dudgeon's votes, Ivana Bacik was deemed elected on the 10th count. The quota was 3,890.

By the 15th count, announced just after 8.30pm, Sean Barrett was still leading his main rival Tony Williams but only by a narrow margin of 18 votes.

Elsewhere, counting in the race for nine Seanad Éireann seats allocated to the Industrial and Commercial Panel is continuing. Among the casualties are Green Party chairman Dan Boyle, who was eliminated after the 11th count. The Labour Party's Jimmy Harte was the first to be elected to the panel followed by Fianna Fáil's Averil Power,  Marc MacSherry and Mary White.

The 24th and final count in the National University of Ireland (NUI) panel constituency has been completed.

Following the distribution of former ASTI president Bernadine O’Sullivan's 3,822 votes, outgoing senator Rónán Mullen topped the poll with 9,028 votes (+653); Feargal Quinn, also an outgoing senator, reached 8,482 votes (+784); while newcomer John Crown, a consultant oncologist at St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin, reached 7,947 (+649). They were followed by Declan Kelleher, former president of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation, with 5,410 (+684)

There were 1,052 nontransferable votes. With the quota set at 8,458, Mr Quinn and Mr Mullen were deemed elected, as was Prof Crown, without reaching the quota.

Counting for the constituency had continued today at the Serpentine Hall in the Royal Dublin Society, Ballsbridge, with NUI chancellor and former TD Maurice Manning as returning officer.

Prof Crown has pledged that, if elected, he will devote his entire Seanad salary to cancer research. A consultant oncologist with St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin, he ran on a platform of political reform and offered “fresh thinking, new abilities, and a different perspective” in the Oireachtas.

Stressing his “solid track record of professional achievement and of public advocacy”, he described himself as “an early public whistleblower” on deficiencies in Ireland’s cancer services and “a consistent advocate for reform of our health system”.

Mr Quinn was first elected to the Seanad in 1993. In his campaign he told electors the upper house had an “important role” in providing a “brake” on the power of the Dáil.

“It needs fundamental reform to ensure it is more representative of the wider population. Any such reform should allow the opinions and expertise of different voices, especially those from the business and voluntary sectors, to be heard,” he said.

He is opposed to abolition: “The new Dáil should not be given a free reign to introduce legislation at will that impacts on you, the citizen, without proper scrutiny.”

Mr Mullen has been a strong proponent of the “right to life” of the unborn and he vociferously opposed the Civil Partnership Bill, finding himself accused of a “filibuster” by supporters of the legislation. He denied the filibuster claim.

In September 2010 Mr Mullen introduced the first Private Members’ motion in the Oireachtas dedicated to the issue of hospice care. He is a first cousin of newly elected Fine Gael Senator Michael Mullen, from Ballinasloe, Co Galway, who was elected on the Cultural and Educational Panel.

Mr Mullen has also highlighted the need for protection of victims of human trafficking and support for improved end-of-life care in hospitals.