Sinn Féin gains seat in Donegal NE

 

Sinn Féin gained a seat in Donegal North East where Pádraig Mac Lochlainn topped the poll and was elected on the third count.

The Sinn Féin vote rose to 24.5 per cent from 17.47 per cent in 2007 when Mr Mac Lochlain, an Inishowen-based councillor, narrowly lost out on the final seat.

Out-going Fine Gael TD Joe McHugh was not elected until the eighth count but the addition of running mate John Ryan saw the party’s share of the vote rise to almost 32%.

Fianna Fail saw its first preferences vote drop from over 50 per cent in 2007 to just 17.4 per. However, newcomer Charlie McConalogue – who is also from the Inishowen peninsula - was elected on the final count without reaching the quota.

Labour’s Jimmy Harte - a son of former Fine Gael TD Paddy Harte - had hopes of taking the third seat, but attracted only 11 per cent of the first preference vote.

He was critical a campaign by pro-life supporters directed against him, and his hopes were also dented by the late entry into the race of Letterkenny-based independent candidate Dessie Shiels.

Independent Dara Blaney got only 3.2 per cent of the vote and was eliminated on the fourth count.