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Three former TDs elected to Seanad as counting continues amid restrictions

Former government chief whip Sean Kyne became the first person to be elected to the 32nd Seanad.

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Counting under way at the Printworks, Dublin Castle (Maxwells/PA)

Counting under way at the Printworks, Dublin Castle (Maxwells/PA)

Counting under way at the Printworks, Dublin Castle (Maxwells/PA)

Three former TDs are among the first five people to be elected to the Seanad.

Former government chief whip and Fine Gael TD Sean Kyne was the first person to be elected on Tuesday on the upper chamber’s Cultural and Educational panel.

Former Fianna Fail TDs Lisa Chambers and Malcolm Byrne who also lost their seats in February’s general election were elected.

Former Sinn Fein senator Fintan Warfield and Fine Gael county councillor John McGahon were also elected.

The five vocational panels compromise 43 of the Seanad’s 60 seats.

There are 118 candidates seeking election to the panels.

In addition to the Cultural and Educational panel, the other four panels are: Agricultural, Labour, Industrial and Commercial, and Administrative.

Votes for each panel had been due to be counted on successive days through the week.

The counts for the two University panels – for six seats, three each from National University of Ireland colleges and Trinity College – will start today (Tuesday).

The final 11 senators to make up the next Seanad will be announced by the taoiseach of the next government.

Outgoing Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is not able to nominate the final 11 senators, putting pressure on politicians for a new government to be formed.

The contest for the Seanad has been heavily impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

Candidates had to stop campaigning early in order to comply with social distancing measures.

Access to the count centre at Dublin Castle on Monday was strictly limited, with even candidates urged not to attend.

PA