FIANNA Fail reclaimed its seat in the Waterford constituency at the first time of asking, with Mary Butler galloping home to the Dail on the first count.
Butler, who claimed 20.5% of the first preference votes in the county, was a first-time candidate for the party and gains the seat vacated by Brendan Kenneally in 2011.
Butler, a Portlaw native who was elected onto Waterford City and County Council in 2014, is a mother of three who works part-time in John Martin’s Jewellers. She surpassed the voting quota of 10,341 with 10,603 votes.
Sinn Fein’s David Cullinane is next in line on 9739 votes (18.8% of first preferences), with Independent John Halligan on 8306 (16.1%).
Fine Gael duo Paudie Coffey and John Deasy are behind on 7,209 and 7,641 respectively. The leading party of the previous government’s received 38.1% of first preference votes in 2011 but that figure has now dropped to 28.7%.