Minister for Children Dr James Reilly has become the latest high -profile member of the outgoing administration to lose his seat.
Dr Reilly was eliminated on the 10th and final count in Dublin Fingal, the constituency where he had topped the poll in 2011.
He lost his seat to Sinn Féin's Louise O'Reilly who joined Fianna Fáil's Darragh O'Brien, the Independents 4 Change candidate Clare Daly, Fine Gael's Alan Farrell and Labour's Brendan Ryan in being elected.
When asked why he thought he had lost his seat, Dr Reilly suggested the three years he had served as Minister for Health between 2011 and 1014 had definitely played a role.
“My time in Health would not have been exactly helpful. But the country had no money, and hard decisions had to be made.”
The deputy leader of Fine Gael said it was too early to say if his failure to win re-election spelled the end of his political career. "I don't think today is a day to make decisions like that," he said. "I can put it this way: My wife will feel sorry for me but delighted for us."
Political associates of Dr Reilly said that as the most high-profile government candidate on the ticket he had borne the brunt of voters’ anger over years of austerity.
The count in Dublin Fingal restarted on Sunday morning with a recheck and partial recount of the eighth count requested by Barry Martin of Independents 4 Change who was, at that time, just 22 votes behind Fianna Fail’s Lorraine Clifford Lee.
The recheck led to no material change after which Mr Martin and subsequently Ms Clifford Lee were eliminated.
When Ms Clifford-Lee’s votes were distributed Dr Reilly finished in sixth place which led to Ms O’Reilly, Mr Farrell and Mr Ryan all being elected without reaching a quota.
Last night Clare Daly won a seat on the fourth count and joined Fianna Fáil’s Darragh O’Brien who topped the poll and was elected on the first count.
Ms Daly told The Irish Times on Saturday she was surprised by the results both in her own constituency and nationally.
“I really didn’t see this coming at all,” she said. “I thought James Reilly was a sure thing here, and I thought Sinn Féin would finish in fourth with Brendan Ryan and Alan Farrell fighting for the last seat.
“Even coming into the count centre I would have thought Reilly would get the fifth seat but it seems as if the transfers are all over the place and he is proving to be more toxic than Sinn Féin. It is just incredible.”
Taking in the national picture she said it had not been such a good election for Sinn Féin or the Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit Alliance.
"And we knew Labour would be annihilated. I think we have seen a lot of old Fianna Fáil supporters who voted for Fine Gael last time out going back to that party."
Martin McGuinness has said critics of Gerry Adams who have suggested his leadership of Sinn Féin cost the party seats in the general election “aren’t fit to lace his boots”.
Mr McGuinness was speaking at the count centre in Dublin Fingal earlier.
“People who make that argument . . . and the argument they are really making is that we should get rid of Gerry Adams, and I wonder why they would say that. In 2011 we had four seats and he moved from West Belfast to Co Louth, and we had 14 seats and we come into this election and have upped our vote by 50 per cent
“My view is very clear,” he said. “Those people that almost give the impression they would want Sinn Féin to do better, but they don’t want Sinn Féin to do better. In my opinion the people who make that case couldn’t lace Gerry Adams’s boots.”
He said Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael “appear to be warming to one another”. He predicted there would be “some form of grand coalition” or a Fianna Fáil-supported Fine Gael minority government.
If they do go down that route, then Sinn Féin will be leading those parties of the left, and I think that is good for Irish politics”.