Malcom Byrne has been elected to the Dáil in the Wexford byelection, in a huge win for Fianna Fáil.
Byrne topped the poll in the first preference count with 31.2%, up 4.6 points from the 2016 General Election, and by the third count had a 3,000 vote lead established over nearest rival, Fine Gael’s Verona Murphy.
The Gorey native polled strongly in his home territory, and his 18,830 votes on the fifth count was enough to beat Labour’s George Lawlor, despite it falling under the 20,035 quota.
The campaign dominated by the comments made by Murphy on social media about immigrants, but she was eliminated on the fourth count, adding to Fine Gael’s woes, having not won a single seat across the four byelections.
The battle to take the seat vacated by Mick Wallace after his appointment to the European Parliament saw an extremely low turnout of just 35.3%, mirrored across the other three byelections in Cork North Central (30.2%), Dublin Mid-West (26.6%), and Dublin Fingal (25.6%).
Byrne’s party colleague Pádraig O’Sullivan won in Cork, with Mark Ward the first to be elected on the day for Sinn Féin in Dublin Mid-West in what was a damning day for Fine Gael.