Belfast Telegraph

Six days after vote, Republic's results decided

By Ed Carty

The marathon count in the Irish election has finished - six days after polling day.

The Irish Labour Party has secured seven seats in the Dail, ensuring its leader and TDs retain valuable speaking rights.

Willie Penrose took one of the final seats in the election in the redrawn Longford-Westmeath constituency and guaranteed the party a precious public profile in Leinster House.

"It was a touch of Lazarus," he said after being elected.

"I got three runs of Lazarus this time.

"It just shows you the vagaries of the proportional representation system.

"I'm delighted to have secured it. It's the sixth time I've been elected. It's a great honour and privilege to represent the people.

"It's very important in the context of the Labour Party itself. I'm the seventh member and that's very important in terms of us, we are the oldest political party in the state, born in 1912. We have a very proud tradition."

Mr Penrose told RTE Radio: "To those who wanted to write us off prematurely or to those who predicted our demise, let this be a warning and a signal that we do not intend to die easily, we intend to reorganise and rebirth."

The Labour TD has been in the Dail since 1992.

He was appointed to a junior ministry dealing with housing in 2011 but stood down over the closure of an army barracks in Mullingar. Two years later he rejoined the party ranks.

The final total for the Dail is: Fine Gael 50 seats; Fianna Fail 44; Sinn Fein 23; Independents 17; Labour 7; Anti-Austerity Alliance/People Before Profit 6; Independent Alliance 6; Social Democrats 3; Greens 2.

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