Northern Ireland

Former tánaiste Joan Burton and sports minister Shane Ross among election casualties

Former social protection minister Regina Doherty has lost her Dáil seat. File picture by Josh Payne, Press Association
Former social protection minister Regina Doherty has lost her Dáil seat. File picture by Josh Payne, Press Association

SOME high-profile TDs were among the casualties during the second day of counting in the Republic's general election yesterday.

Social protection minister Regina Doherty was one of the key victims of the Sinn Féin surge.

The Fine Gael politician was eliminated from the Meath East constituency on the sixth count.

She finished in fifth place with just over 5,100 votes.

Fine Gael's Mary Mitchell O'Connor, the higher education minister, lost her Dún Laoghaire seat on the eighth count.

Ms Mitchell O'Connor was first elected in 2011 and was appointed higher education minister in 2017.

It had been thought that she would retain her seat after early tallies put her in a strong position.

Instead, her lesser-known running mate, Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, won a seat in the four-seat constituency.

Senator Catherine Noone, a leading figure in Fine Gael, was eliminated on the ninth count in Dublin Bay North.

Ms Noone caused controversy during the election campaign when she referred to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar as "autistic" before denying she said so. She was later forced to apologise.

Several independent ministers also paid the price for sitting a cabinet table with Fine Gael.

Shane Ross, who held the high-profile role of minister for sport since May 2016, lost out in his Dublin Rathdown constituency.

Fellow independent Katherine Zappone, who served as children's minister in the last government, lost her seat in Dublin South-West.

Labour stalwart Joan Burton was among the most high-profile losers.

A former tánaiste, minister for social protection and Labour party leader, she was first elected to the Dáil in 1992.

She lost her Dublin West seat on the fifth count after her share of the first preference vote dropped from 15.4 per cent to 4.8 per cent.

Former Mayo TD Lisa Chambers, first elected to the Dáil in 2016, was seen as a rising star in Fianna Fáil.

She frequently appeared on television and radio in her role as her party's Brexit spokesman.

However, she lost her seat on the seventh count yesterday.

Former health minister, now Fine Gael senator, James Reilly - who pushed for an abortion referendum which eventually led to the 2018 vote on the Eighth Amendment - lost his Dublin Fingal seat.

The former Fine Gael deputy leader lost after he claimed just over 3,200 first preference votes.

He later said the party needed to "reflect and decide" on whether Leo Varadkar should remain leader if Fine Gael does not form the next government

The government's chief whip Seán Kyne also looked set to lose his seat in Galway West last night.

However, it was better news for former foreign affairs minister, Fine Gael's Charlie Flanagan, who was expected to narrowly hold on to his seat in Laois.