Dublin West results: Joan Burton and Ruth Coppinger lose seats
Green Party’s O’Gorman takes final seat as Sinn Féin’s Paul Donnelly comes out on top
There were two high profile casualties in Dublin West as former Labour tánaiste Joan Burton and Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger lost their Dáil seats turning the constituency’s representation exclusively male.
Green Party Cllr Roderic O’Gorman edged out Ms Coppinger for the final seat in a contest that saw poll topping Sinn Féin Cllr Paul Donnelly storm into the first seat with 12,456 votes and a surplus of 3,730.
Ms Coppinger had previously been ahead of Mr O’ Gorman but transfers from Ms Burton and Fine Gael’s second candidate Emer Currie overwhelmingly favoured the Green candidate.
Mr O’Gorman paid tribute to Ms Burton and Ms Coppinger. He said they had had a “massive impact both locally and on national politics and despite my own happiness at winning, it’s a real sadness to see them both lose their seat today”.
Ms Burton, who faced a major challenge from the first count, was excluded with a vote of 2,406 on the fifth count, the same count that saw Taoiseach Leo Varadkar elected.
A political titan and Labour’s first female leader Ms Burton, first elected in the so-called Spring tide in 1992 she went on to have a prominent role for almost 30 years in Irish politics.
Ms Coppinger, a prominent feminist and a leading light in the campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment, said she was disappointed and that as a Socialist wanted to keep the seat as “a voice for workers, for women’s rights and for all those facing inequality” and particularly for the housing crisis “which has festered with the indifference of Fine Gael in particular”.
Mr Varadkar said he was not disappointed in his performance in the election.
“It is an increase on my vote in the past three elections and I topped the poll the last time which was a nice experience. I have been elected four times in a row and I am very grateful for today.”
He again ruled out going into government with Sinn Féin even if it meant he would no longer be Taoiseach.
He reiterated that it was not an election strategy. “In terms of coalition speculation, I have made my position and the party’s position clear during the campaign and we won the votes that we won, based on that decision.”
He said his party would do its duty and go into opposition if coalition could not be agreed. In such a scenario he would seek to stay on as leader of Fine Gael but “that will be a matter for my party.
“I hope they’ll keep me on but if they don’t I’ll stay here and represent the place I grew up, the people who supported me.”
Fianna Fáil’s Jack Chambers who took the third seat also expressed opposition to the party going into coalition with Sinn Féin even as leader Micheál Martin appeared to soften his view.
Mr Donnelly who was elected on his sixth attempt after three byelections and three general elections believed he had won a seat because of a desire for “real change” by the electorate.
The Tusla community outreach worker said that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael were in a “bubble” and “talked down to the people instead of listening to them”.
The message of the electorate needed to “resonate” with them.
Candidates: Leo Varadkar (FG), Emer Currie (FG), Jack Chambers (FF), Roderic O’Gorman (GP), Joan Burton (Lab), Ruth Coppinger (S-PBP), Paul Donnelly (SF), Aengus Ó Maoláin (SD), Edward McManus (Aontú), Peter Casey (Ind), Stephen O’Loughlin (Ind), Seán O’Leary (Ind)