Independent brothers Michael and Danny Healy-Rae have taken the top two of five seats in the redrawn Kerry constituency. Their late father Jackie Healy-Rae also was in independent TD from Kerry from 1997-2011.
The polling ousted Fine Gael Minister of Diaspora Jimmy Deenihan from the Dáil, as well as Labour’s Arthur J Spring, nephew of former party leader Dick Spring.
Brendan Griffin of Fine Gael and Martin Ferris of Sinn Féin retained their seats. Newcomer John Brassil of Fianna Fáil took the fifth seat. The constituency for this election was merged from two, three-seat districts: Kerry South and Kerry North-Limerick West.
Deenihan told The Irish Independent that he believes a new election will be called soon, but he stopped short of saying whether he would run again.
First elected to the Dáil in 1987, Deenihan won re-election five times. He blamed his defeat on being targeted by people who were not happy with the Government, and on a feeling that got out that he was “safe.”
(I first met Deenihan at the Lartigue Monorail and Museum in Listowel in 2012; then again at an Irish Network DC event in 2015.)
With 94 percent of seats decided by late 28 February, independents had won 20 seats. Like Kerry, independents also won the top two places in Roscommon-Galway and Tipperary constituencies.
TheJournal.ie has a story about the Healy-Rae brothers joining a “long line of siblings” who have represented Irish constituencies in the Dáil, and before independence. But their list misses Irish nationalist MPs Edward and Timothy Harrington in the 1880s.