Helen McEntee wins Meath East by-election

Thursday 28 March 2013 23.41
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Fine Gael's Helen McEntee has retained the seat of her late father in the Meath East by-election
Fine Gael's Helen McEntee has retained the seat of her late father in the Meath East by-election
Helen McEntee, the daughter of the late Shane McEntee, whose sudden death resulted in the election, received 11,473 votes
Helen McEntee, the daughter of the late Shane McEntee, whose sudden death resulted in the election, received 11,473 votes
The quota is 12,155 votes (Pic: Sharon Gaffney)
The quota is 12,155 votes (Pic: Sharon Gaffney)
Fine Gael is in the lead, with Fianna Fáil in second place after the first count
Fine Gael is in the lead, with Fianna Fáil in second place after the first count

Fine Gael's Helen McEntee has retained the seat of her late father, Shane, in the Meath East by-election.

The results also showed a resurgence in support for Fianna Fáil, and a collapse in Labour's share of the vote.

Ms McEntee received 11,473 votes ahead of Fianna Fáil's Thomas Byrne who got 9,582 votes on the third count.

Three more candidates had been excluded after the second count: Sinn Féin's Darren O'Rourke with 3,370, Direct Democracy Ireland candidate Ben Gilroy with 1,793 and Labour candidate Eoin Holmes with 1,245.

In the first count six candidates were excluded: Independent Charlie Keddy, Independent Mick Martin, Workers' Party Seamus McDonagh, Independent Gerard O’Brien, Green Party Seán Ó Buachalla and Independent Jim Tallon.

The total electorate was 64,164 and 24,568 people voted.

There were 24,309 valid votes and the quota is 12,155.

Earlier, Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte conceded for Labour, saying the party had taken the brunt of voters' unhappiness with the economic situation.

He said Labour had been "singled out to bear the responsibility for the fact that so many people are hurting in the economy".

Mr Rabbitte said that Labour voters had stayed at home and made a protest vote.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin welcomed his party's result, which he said showed an advance to a considerable degree.

He said the party had heard what people had to say on the doorsteps, and would bring that message to the floor of Dáil Éireann.

Fianna Fáil candidate Senator Thomas Byrne said people were sending a strong message that they were hurting, and a fresh approach was needed.

Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald said her party was happy with its performance.

Reacting to the performance by the Labour Party's candidate, Ms McDonald said public confidence and politics suffers when promises are made and broken.

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