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Fianna Fáil bounces back in Mayo

Election 2016

DÁIL BOUND Newly elected Fianna Fáil TDs Lisa Chambers and Dara Calleary.

Jubilant scenes as FF’s Calleary and Chambers win Mayo seats

Anton McNulty

There were scenes of jubilation among Fianna Fáil supporters in Castlebar, when the returning officer Fintan Murphy declared both Dara Calleary and Lisa Chambers elected.
The Fianna Fáil candidates were both elected on the tenth count without reaching the quota of 12,730 after they finished ahead of sitting TD Michelle Mulherin, following the distribution of Sinn Fein candidate Rose Conway-Walsh’s vote.
In contrast to five years ago, when Fine Gael supporters wildly celebrated winning four seats out of five, this was Fianna Fáil’s day.
Long before the count was officially declared, large numbers of Calleary and Chambers supporters gathered in the count centre shouting ‘Up Fianna Fáil’ and joining in on impromptu renditions of ‘The West’s Awake’ and ‘The Fields of Athenry’.
This was the first election since 2002 that Fianna Fáil has been able to return two Mayo TDs to the Dáil, having been hurt by the blue tsunami that swept the county when Enda Kenny became Fine Gael leader later that year.
Since then, the party has only managed to elect one TD to the Dáil, and Dara Calleary has been its sole Mayo representative since he was first elected in 2007. The chances of Lisa Chambers being elected at the start of the campaign were slim, but she surprised many pundits to unseat sitting TD Michelle Mulherin.
At the age of 29, Chambers becomes the youngest TD to be elected to the Dáil since Enda Kenny when he was elected in 1975 at the age of 24.
Going into the tenth and final count with a 603 vote advantage over Michelle Mulherin, Lisa Chambers never looked in danger of being overhauled. She received 2,183 of Conway-Walsh’s vote to give her a total of 11,686, with Mulherin receiving just 693 votes to give her a total of 9,593.
Dara Calleary was returned to the Dáil for the third time, receiving 1,725 from Conway-Walsh to give him a total of 12,150 to take the third seat.