Chambers returns to the national scene after Seanad victory

McHugh and Murray come close - while Burke makes it the magnificent seven

In and out: Fine Gael's Paddy Burke retained his Seanad seat, while Fianna Fail's Lisa Chambers bounced back from her disappointment at losing her seat in the Dail to be elected to the upper house - while Sinn Fein's Gerry Murray and The Green Party candidate Saoirse McHugh narrowly missed out on seats.

In and out: Fine Gael's Paddy Burke retained his Seanad seat, while Fianna Fail's Lisa Chambers bounced back from her disappointment at losing her seat in the Dail to be elected to the upper house - while Sinn Fein's Gerry Murray and The Green Party candidate Saoirse McHugh narrowly missed out on seats.

Fianna Fail's Lisa Chambers was one of the most high profile causalities in February's general election - when the parties Brexit spokesperson lost the seat she had held in Mayo since 2016.

However Chambers' time away from national politics will be short-lived after she was elected to the Seanad this week on the Cultural and Educational Panel on Tuesday afternoon. The former TD was elected on the 16th count to take one of the five seats that were up for grabs. Afterwards Chambers said: "Thank you to those that voted for me and commiserations to my colleagues. Looking forward to returning to the Oireachtas as a member of Seanad Éireann and also to the Fianna Fail parliamentary party."

There was plenty of Mayo interest in that panel with Saoirse McHugh looking to win a seat for The Green Party and Aontu's Paul Lawless both on the ballot. McHugh was contesting her third election inside a year, having run in the Midlands-North-West constituency in the European elections where she sprung to national prominence and also in February's general election in Mayo.

McHugh was in the hunt right up until the 18th and final count, having polled very well on the first preference votes finishing in second place - but she was unable to keep that momentum up on transfers from elected and eliminated candidates as the race went on. For Lawless it was also his third election inside of a year - having run in the locals last year and this year's general election, the Knock based candidate has seen his profile steadily rise over the past year.

On Wednesday the 11 seat Agricultural Panel was completed and veteran Fine Gael Senator Paddy Burke was re-elected to the Upper House of the Oireachtas for the seventh time; the Castlebar based political first won a seat in the Seanad in 1993 and has retained every election since then, having served as the Cathaoirleach of the house from 2011 to 2016. Sinn Fein's Cllr Gerry Murray was also on the ballot for this election, but came up short - the poor local elections that his party had last year made it a very difficult task for the popular Charlestown politican to gain a seat, losing out on the final count to his party colleague Lynn Boylan.

One other Mayo native Pippa Hacket who hails from Ballindine and was elected to the Oireachtas for the first time last year in a bye-election was returned to the house on the Agriculture panel, picking up the ninth seat on offer on that panel. Hackett now lives in Offaly.

At the time of going to print the count was not completed for the Industrial and Commercial panel where Robeen based Cllr Patsy O'Brien was contesting a seat as an independent. There will be more south Mayo interest in this race with Claremorris native Senator Catherine Noone (FG ) looking to hold on to the seat she currently holds in the upper house, while on the third level panels Anne Staunton-Barrett is running on the NUIG panel and Attymass native Keith Scanlon failed to get elected on the Trinity and NUI panels.

 

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