26/11/2010

Fianna Fail Concedes By-Election

Fianna Fail have conceded the Donegal by-election after the Sinn Fein candidate streaked ahead in the unofficial tally.

Favourite, Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty has had a significant lead over the other candidates in the controversial election for much of the day. This afternoon, Deputy Prime Minister Mary Coughlan said it was obvious Mr Doherty was going to be elected to the Donegal SW seat and sent him her congratulations.

The vote is being viewed as a taster of Fianna Fail's fall in support following economic turmoil and brutal austerity cuts in its Four Year Plan.

Counting is taking place in the Finn Valley Athletics Club in Stranorlar.

Voting began yesterday in the Donegal South West by-election, despite criticism over the election's timing and relevance.

The Dáil seat was vacated by Pat The Cope Gallagher after he was elected to the European Parliament last year.
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The by-election has come under some strong criticism as the winner of the election could become one of the shortest serving TDs yet after it emerged a full Dáil election could be called in around six weeks time.

Additionally, the bill for the Donegal South West by-election is estimated to be around €300,000.

last month, Pearse Doherty forced the government to hold the by-election after winning a High Court case, which ruled that there had been an "unreasonable" delay in filling the seat.

Earlier this week, Mr Doherty said: "It is imperative that the whole of this constituency shows its anger and opposition to the draconian budget cuts which are being pursued by this government."

On Tuesday, independent candidate Ann Sweeney unofficially withdrew from the race, saying the by-election had become 'redundant' following developments in Dublin when Fianna Fáil were forced to announce an early general election in the spring following threats by the Green Party it would dissolve the coalition.

The constituency includes five offshore islands where voters cast their ballots on Monday.

(DW/BMcC)

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