Dublin Rathdown results: Alan Shatter loses Dáil seat as Green Party returns
Fine Gael newcomer Josepha Madigan joined by poll topper Shane Ross and Catherine Martin
Fine Gael’s Alan Shatter has lost his Dáil seat with the Green Party’s deputy leader Catherine Martin leapfrogging him on the last count to record a surprise win in Dublin Rathdown.
Mr Shatter was critical of the strategy employed by Fine Gael headquarters in the constituency, where he was outpolled by his colleague Josepha Madigan.
Independent Alliance TD Shane Ross was the first person to be elected to the 32nd Dáil after topping the poll.
However, unlike 2011 when he took a seat on the first count with almost a quota and a half, he had to wait until the second count and the distribution of Renua Ireland’s Alan Daveron’s votes. He received a total of 10,411 votes, exceeding the quota of 10,275.
Speaking after his election Mr Ross said he would be willing to support the next government but not “blindly”.
“Certainly we’d support them in votes of confidence, not in legislation, individual legislation blindly, but we’d be happy to support them and to talk to them if they will support the radical proposals which we are putting forward.”
Earlier, arriving at the count centre, Mr Ross said a Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil coalition would be a “great pity”.
“It would be a very, very bad development . It would be a very conservative Government, it wouldn’t have a radical bone in its body. I think it would also work too well because they get on like a house on fire.”
Fellow Independent Peter Mathews was eliminated on the second count and Sinn Féin candidate Sorcha Nic Cormaic on the third, but neither had generated enough votes to bring anyone over the line.
It was Ms Martin who got the biggest boost from the Sinn Féin elimination taking 1,293 of Ms Nic Cormaic’s 3,076 votes, bringing her to 6,105 in the fourth count, neck and neck with Mr Shatter on 6,268.
The fourth round saw the demise of outgoing communications minister Labour’s Alex White.
Speaking after his defeat, he said he did not regret his decision to run in Rathdown instead of Dublin South West where he might have picked up votes following the decision of Pat Rabbitte to retire.
“It was a difficult decision that had to be made there were boundary changes here which meant that one third of the constituency went to South West. It was a choice between, I suppose, abandoning one third of one’s constituency or two thirds of one’s constituency and ultimately we made the choice to stick with Dublin Rathdown where two thirds of my constituency resided,” he said.
When asked about the collapse of the Labour vote nationally, Mr White said it had been “a very difficult day” for the party but it could bounce back. “Our vote has been down considerably obviously that has an impact and an effect across all constituencies including this... I think the Labour party has made an immense contribution. We have come out of elections like this before and we have come back.”
He said the party had suffered from the perception that it had broken promises.
Lir chocolate tycoon Fianna Fáil senator Mary White was eliminated on the fifth count after securing few votes from Mr White. While Mr Shatter benefitted most from the Labour exit, which brought him to 7,745, his running mate Ms Madigan was still the closest to the quota with 8,579. Ms Martin was still in the race on 7,255 and catching up steadily.
Ms Madigan, her success then seeming assured sad she believed she “harnessed” the Olivia Mitchell vote, following that TD’s decision to retire, but she hoped “Alan will come in behind me”.
But it was not to be. More than four hours after the election of Mr Ross, the sixth count results were called, with Ms Madigan and Ms Martin being elected without reaching the quota. Ms Martin’s success followed a huge transfer boost of 2,166 votes from Ms White, compared with just 699 to Mr Shatter.
Mr Shatter said he was “very disappointed” and shocked by the result and blamed Fine Gael party headquarters for “setting the wrong tone from day one”.
“Unfortunately there was some interference in the electoral process by Fine Gael headquarters. I objected to when it took place. To a minimal extent I attempted to counteract it, but I substantially didn’t.”
He referred to letters, signed by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and MEP Brian Hayes, asking constituents in the Stillorgan and Clonskeagh to give number one votes to Ms Madigan and number two to Mr Shatter.
“Unfortunately a letter went out to different parts of the constituency instructing people how to vote it was based on an alleged poll I was advised was taken which I regarded as having no credibility of any description.”
He said the result showed he was correct in his view of that poll. He added that he “did not wish in any way to take away from Josepha’s success” and he congratulated her on her win.