Spring dynasty ends in North Kerry as Dick loses seat

 

The Spring political dynasty in North Kerry, stretching back nearly 60 years, came to an end this evening as former Labour leader, Mr Dick Spring, lost his seat.

Mr Spring, whose father Dan had held the seat before him, lost the final seat by a handful of votes to Fine Gael's Mr James Deenihan.

Mr Spring led the Labour Party for more than fifteen years and is one of the country's most experienced and respected parliamentarians.

His loss will come as a serious body blow to Labour.

Mr Spring was gracious in defeat saying he had had close counts in the past but lady luck was with him then.

He said the campaign was a close fight with five candidates going for a door that would only open for three.

"To quote Lord Birkenhead, politics is a cruel trade," he said.

The poll was topped by Sinn Féin's Mr Martin Ferris with Fianna Fáil's Mr Tom McEllistrim in second.

Mr Spring stood down from the leadership of the Labour Party in 1997.

He was elected to Kerry County Council and Tralee Urban Council in June 1979 and to the Dáil two years later, when he took the seat that his father, the late Dan Spring, held from 1943.