Former justice minister Michael McDowell wins Seanad seat

TCD student leader Lynn Ruane and Alice-Mary Higgins, daughter of President, elected


Former minister for justice Michael McDowell was the first to be elected to the Seanad on the National University of Ireland panel.

He was elected on the 26th count having exceeded the quota of 9,074 narrowly ahead of outgoing senator Ronan Mullen who was elected on the same count.

Mr Mullen was 700 votes ahead of Mr McDowell on the first count but the former leader of the Progressive Democrats pulled ahead on the 26th count following a transfer of 834 votes from David Begg, the former general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions who was eliminated on the 25th count.


Alice-Mary Higgins, daughter of the President, was elected to the final seat on the 28th count.

There were 30 candidates for the three seats on the panel.


Trinity College students’ union president Lynn Ruane has taken the third Seanad seat on the Trinity panel ahead of outgoing Senator Sean Barrett, by 145 votes.

Senator David Norris topped the poll and was elected on the first count while outgoing Labour Senator Ivana Bacik also retained her seat, elected on the 13th count with transfers from journalist and security analyst Tom Clonan.

In a closely fought battle Ms Ruane and Mr Barrett remained close on votes throughout the entire counts, with outgoing vocational Independent Senator Averil Power adrift by 335 votes following transfers of Ms Bacik’s surplus.

When she was eliminated her votes transferred more to Ms Ruane electing her on the 15th and final count.

She had earlier received significant transfers from director of Friends of the Earth Oisín Coghlan who was excluded on the 12th count.

Industrial and Commercial

Former Sinn Féin TD Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has topped the poll and been elected to the Seanad’s Industrial and Commercial panel.

Mr Mac Lochlainn said he would "continue my fight against the neglect of Donegal and rural Ireland.

“We need to see a focused plan of investment and job creation for Donegal that delivers for communities across the county.”

The race for the Seanad’s Industrial and Commercial panel is described as a “dogfight” and the toughest of the five vocational panels, with 34 candidates for nine seats.

Singer Frances Black, running as an Independent, but supported by Sinn Féin, is also expected to win a seat on the panel.

It is understood that longstanding Fine Gael Senator and party whip in the Seanad Paul Coghlan is likely to lose his seat.

Fine Gael had five seats on this panel in the last Seanad but are expected to retain three at most.

Labour panel

Leader of the Seanad Maurice Cumminshas lost his seat on the Labour panel.

Three former TDs who lost their Dáil seats in the recent election have been elected to the Seanad on the Labour panel.

Minister of State and former Labour TD Ged Nash, who lost his Louth Dáil seat in the general election, will join party colleague Denis Landy, who successfully retained his place in the Upper House.

An informal Fine Gael-Labour voting arrangement helped secure the seats for the party.

Former Fine Gael TD for Cork South Central Jerry Buttimer and former Fine Gael TD for Cavan-Monaghan Joe O'Reilly also secured seats on the 11-seat panel, but former Fianna Fáil TD for Galway East Colm Keaveney lost out.

Longstanding Fianna Fáil Senator Terry Leydon retained his Labour panel seat on the 20th and final count.

Outgoing Fine Gael Senator Tony Mulcahy lost his seat, as did party colleague Terry Brennan.

Sinn Féin secured two seats on the Labour panel, with the poll-topping performances of Máire Devine and Paul Gavin.


Mr Nash said he was delighted to have been elected.

He said the Labour parliamentary party was diminished but that he would continue to work for the rights of workers, which would be down the list of priorities of a minority government.

Mr Buttimer said he was “thrilled and delighted and privileged to be elected” after a long and gruelling Dáil and Seanad campaigns.

Mr Buttimer said it was “great to be back at national political level again.

“It will be a different parliamentary party and political landscape this time but I will make sure our voice is heard,” the new Fine Gael Senator said.

His party colleague Cllr Neale Richmond, was also elected.

With 27 of the 43 Senators on the vocational panels now elected, Fianna Fáil has nine Seanad seats, Fine Gael has eight, Sinn Féin has five, Labour and the Independents have two each, and the Green Party has one.

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times

Stephen Collins

Stephen Collins

Stephen Collins is a columnist with and former political editor of The Irish Times