Mayo results: FG’s Michael Ring, SF’s Conway-Walsh elected on first count
Green Party’s rising star Saoirse McHugh was knocked out after the fifth count
Sinn Féin’s Rose Conway-Walsh. Photograph: Ellen O’Riordan
Fine Gael’s Michael Ring topped the poll in Co Mayo and was elected to the Dáil with 14,796 votes on the first count. Also through on the first count was Rose Conway-Walsh, the first Sinn Féin candidate to be elected to the Dáil since 1927. A third-time general election candidate, Ms Conway-Walsh more than doubled her 2016 return, achieving 14,633 first-preference votes.
The county has for a long time been caught in a Fine Gael/ Fianna Fáil stranglehold, but the Sinn Féin surge has burst open the grip of the traditional big two.
Speaking at the count centre in Castlebar, Ms Conway-Walsh said: “There were lots of predictions that it would be two and two all the way, but we knew from canvassing right across the county from the beginning that there was a mood for change.”
Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary surpassed the quota on the final count, taking a total of 13,636 votes. His colleague and Fianna Fáil’s Brexit Spokesperson Lisa Chambers, with 8,911 votes, lost her seat to former Mayo footballer and Fine Gael newcomer Alan Dillon, who finished with 10,977. Standing in Castlebar, Dillon filled the large gap left by former taoiseach Enda Kenny.
Addressing the count centre, Lisa Chambers said: “This is democracy in action . . . It is difficult in defeat always. Of course, I am disappointed but life moves on.”
The Green Party’s rising star Saoirse McHugh was knocked out after the fifth count, with a total of 6,036 votes, while Fine Gael’s Michelle Mulherin finished with 7,427 votes after the sixth count.
Turnout in the Mayo constituency was 66.12 per cent, and the quota was 12,871.
Candidates: Dara Calleary (FF), Lisa Chambers (FF), Rose-Conway Walsh (SF), Michelle Mulherin (FG), Alan Dillon (FG), Michael Ring (FG), Saoirse McHugh (GP), Joe Daly (S-PBP), Kamal Uddin (Lab), Paul Lawless (Aontú), Gerry Loftus (Ind), Seán Forkin (Ind), Gráinne de Barra (Ind), Stephen Manning (Ind), Daithí Ó Fallamhái (Irish Freedom Party)