Young candidates defeat former TDs in contest for Administrative panel

 

Three former TDs and an outgoing senator failed in their bid for election to the Seanad on the Administrative panel. Five new, young senators and potential TDs were among the seven elected.

Fianna Fáil gained one seat, finishing with four seats, while Fine Gael have two new senators, not unexpectedly losing one seat, and Labour has one.

The count of the final vocational panel provided a number of surprises including the defeat of former Fine Gael front-bencher and TD for Dublin South-East, Ms Frances Fitzgerald, who got 57,000 first-preference votes but was eliminated on the eighth count with 69,138 votes, well short of the 119,126 quota.

Two former Fianna Fáil TDs, Ms Marian McGennis and Mr Michael Kitt, also suffered at the hands of the young challengers.

Mr Kitt's defeat was a shock for the party where pundits had predicted election for the popular deputy who had served 20 years in the Dáil.

He got 49,000 first preference votes, but went out on the sixth count with 60,863 votes.

Sen Tony Kett (FF), who retained his seat and was re-elected on the seventh count, said the younger candidates had polled as well as the more experienced campaigners and it had been a "very tough fight".

Just three of the seven outgoing senators from this panel stood for election. Three others were elected to the Dáil while Senator Joe Doyle (FG) retired.

Outgoing Fianna Fáil Senator Camillus Glynn had a remarkable victory, topping the poll and indeed securing the highest vote on any of the vocational panels in the election with 128,000 votes. Nominated by the Association of Municipal Authorities of Ireland, he increased his personal vote by 45,000 and put his success down to "ongoing contact with councillors. They are wonderful people and get very little recognition for what they do." Outgoing Fine Gael Senator Fintan Coogan, a college lecturer from Galway, and TD for Galway West between 1982 and 1987, lost to the challenge of younger party candidates.

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael each have two new young senators and potential future TDs on this panel.Fine Gael's two new senators are Mr Frank Feighan (39) a member of Roscommon Co Council who was elected on the ninth count, and Mr Joe McHugh (31) a councillor from Carrigart in Co Donegal, elected on the 13th and final count. Both are first time Seanad candidates, were elected to their respective county councils in 1999 and were nominated by the party.

Successful Fianna Fáil Co Clare candidate Mr Timmy Dooley, in his early 30s, is one of the few non-councillors elected to the Seanad on the vocational panels. He is a well-known and popular member of the party's national executive, one of the "committee of 15" - executive members who are elected nationally rather than locally. He defeated another party challenger, Mr Enda Nolan, a councillor and brother of Carlow-Kilkenny TD, Mr M. J. Nolan.

Mr Dooley was elected on the 11th count with the second new Fianna Fáil senator, Mr Diarmuid Wilson, a member of Carlow Co Council and nephew of former Tánaiste, Mr John Wilson. Both Mr Wilson and Mr Dooley are first-time Seanad candidates. Mr Wilson is seen as a potential TD to even the balance for Cavan in the Cavan-Monaghan constituency where four of the five TDs are from Monaghan.

Cllr Joanna Tuffy, a solicitor in her early 30s and a Dublin candidate in the general election, is the new Labour Party senator on the panel.