Fianna Fáil delight as Leyden and Swanick take Seanad seats

Waiting game for Dineen and Hopkins

Senator Terry Leyden has been re-elected to the Seanad after he survived a huge scare in this week’s elections.

  He was elected on the 20th count on the Labour Panel, securing the 11th and final seat at stake. The veteran politician looked in grave danger when the count, which took place in Leinster House, was adjourned shortly after midnight on Tuesday.

  He received 44 first preference votes – equal to a value of 44,000, because every vote is worth 1,000 – but it did not look like it would be enough.  

  Speaking to the Roscommon People on Wednesday, Senator Leyden said: “This morning, when I woke up, I psyched myself up for a possible defeat.”

  However, he was ultimately elected with a value of 92,102 votes, without reaching the quota of 93,667.

  It means that Leyden (70) will continue a political career that saw him first elected to public life as a Roscommon county councillor in 1974.

  It was the fourth consecutive time that he had been elected to the Seanad, with previous successes in 2002, 2007 and 2011.

  Senator Leyden said that he eagerly looked forward to his forthcoming term.

  “I think it is one of the most exciting challenges in the history of the Seanad,” he said. “You have a marvellous mix of people.”

  It crowned a successful few days for the Fianna Fáil party in Co. Roscommon because, on Monday, Dr. Keith Swanick, a native of Castlerea, was also elected to the Upper House.

  Dr. Swanick, a GP in Belmullet, was elected after the 19th count on the Cultural & Educational Panel. He secured 81 first preference votes, carrying a value of 81,000, and was elected with 205.32 votes (value: 205,320).

  Dr. Martin Daly, from Ballygar, and Barry Johnston, from Creagh, near Ballinasloe, were unsuccessful on the National University of Ireland Panel.

  At the time of going to press, the fates of Cllr. Nigel Dineen (Independent) and Maura Hopkins (Fine Gael) had not been determined.

  Standing on the Industrial & Commercial Panel, Cllr. Dineen was in with a good chance as the counts proceeded, while counting had not begun on Cllr. Hopkins’ Administrative Panel.

  At the time of writing, Cllr. Aengus O’Rourke (Fianna Fáil), who lives at Barrybeg in south Roscommon, had just been eliminated.