Swing to left in Dublin South Central and Dublin Bay North
Bríd Smith of AAA-PBP says Labour Party deserved battering at polls over policies
Seán Haughey with his wife Orla in the RDS: “Politics is not easy and this must be a very difficult night for [Averil Power]. Democracy can be cruel.” Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times
The general election has resulted in a swing to the left in Dublin Bay North and Dublin South Central.
In Dublin South-Central, Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit’s Bríd Smith was the last TD elected yesterday, winning out over Fianna Fáil’s Catherine Ardagh.
Speaking after her election, Ms Smith said the seat was won on behalf of working-class people. “It is important that this remains a very strong left-wing constituency,” she said.
Ms Smith said her party now had the same number of TDs as Labour and she called for “decent” trade unionists to take the Labour Party out of the trade union movement.
In a strongly worded victory speech, Ms Smith said Labour deserved the battering it had received in the election because of what it had done “in implementing austerity water charges [and] property tax over the last while”.
Ms Smith emerged the winner at the end of a marathon three-day recount called by Ms Ardagh, when she trailed the AAA-PBP candidate by 35 votes on the 11th and final count.
All of the almost 43,000 votes cast in the Dublin South-Central constituency were recounted and 170 votes were disputed.
Dublin City returning officer James Barry said in a brief statement after the three-day count that deputy returning officer Alice Lanigan had provided the two candidates “with a further report in relation to her decisions concerning matters that arose during the recount”.
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New Sinn Féin candidate Denise Mitchell took outgoing Minister of State Aodhán Ó Ríordáin’s seat in Dublin Bay North, while former Labour and now Independent TD Tommy Broughan held his seat. Left-leaning Independent Finian McGrath also retained his seat, despite having privately conceded earlier in the count.
Constituency of death
Early in the count, the only certainty was that Mr Bruton and Mr Haughey would be elected first and second respectively.
Independent Senator Averil Power called for a recount when she was due to be eliminated, after it emerged she was 67 votes behind Mr Broughan. A recount reduced the gap by some 20 votes but it made “no material difference” to the outcome.
Ms Power ran as an Independent after falling out with Fianna Fáil in the wake of the marriage equality referendum.
Ms Power’s defection from the party was bitter and when her transfers elected Mr Haughey, one of his supporters said that “makes us feel good”.
Mr Haughey said he wanted to commiserate with his rival, however. “Politics is not easy and this must be a very difficult night for her. It’s just the way the eliminations took place. Democracy can be cruel.”
Ms Mitchell had been expected to be elected in third place but had moved slightly off the pace. She received 2,301 transfers from Anti-Austerity Alliance candidate John Lyons, who polled strongly in the election. He transferred 2,088 votes to Mr Broughan, leaving him 251 votes ahead of Ms Mitchell when they and Mr McGrath, in fifth place, were elected without reaching the quota.