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Feminist Katherine Zappone leads Dail newcomers

Published 28/02/2016

Katherine Zappone, left, is the new TD for Dublin South West
Katherine Zappone, left, is the new TD for Dublin South West

A feminist who proposed to her wife live on air as Ireland voted for same-sex marriage has been elected to the Dail.

New Dublin South West TD Katherine Zappone popped the question to partner Ann Louise Gilligan on RTE last year as the senator was discussing the historic Yes vote.

The human rights campaigner has joined a swathe of new independent voices outside the major parties in the Dail.

The Green Party's deputy leader Catherine Martin became the first representative elected in Dublin Rathdown since the grouping's Dail wipe-out in 2011 after sharing power with Fianna Fail and supporting the bank bailout. She was a teacher and strong advocate of education.

Gino Kenny was returned for the Anti Austerity Alliance/People Before Profit in Dublin Mid-West. The community carer has campaigned against water charges for decades and described himself as a "revolutionary socialist".

Independent Sean Canney from Galway told the Galway East electorate "your issues are my policies" in what critics would describe as a parish pump refrain common to many independents. He topped the poll. The former mayor of County Galway has signed up to the Independent Alliance's Charter for Change aimed at rooting out political cronyism.

Denis Naughten left Fine Gael in 2011 in opposition to a government decision to downgrade services at Roscommon Hospital. He was elected as an independent in Roscommon-Galway.

Fellow health campaigner Dr Michael Harty is a long-serving general practitioner based in Kilmihil near Ennis in Co Clare. He contested this election as part of the No Doctor, No Village campaign, which sought to restore rural GPs' income to pre-austerity levels. He described the 80% turnout in his home village as humbling.

Independent county councillor Michael Collins was returned in Cork South West. The supporter of community voluntary services pledged to keep jobs in West Cork.

Danny Healy-Rae joined his brother Michael in the Dail. Danny is part of a political dynasty which has dominated Kerry for years and campaigned on a ticket of experience and common sense.

The pair topped the poll in first and second place, with Michael Healy-Rae easily exceeding the quota.

Fine Gael bucked the national trend in Dublin Bay South when pharmacist Kate O'Connell followed Eoghan Murphy on to the Dail backbenches.

The mother of three claimed a young campaign team and social media were key to her success, not to mention a well divided hunt for votes in one of the more middle class constituencies in the country.

In Louth no woman has ever been elected to the Dail.

That is until Sinn Fein and Gerry Adams used all their vote management expertise to bring running mate Imelda Munster virtually all the way to the finishing line in a marathon count in Dundalk.

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