“This is hugely significant and is a great tribute to Pat Nulty, the party organisation in Dublin West and in particular to Joan Burton who already represents the constituency,” said party leader and deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore.
The election also marked a triumph of sorts for the Fianna Fail party even though the result now means they have no deputy at all in the greater Dublin area.
FF candidate McGuinness did poll 7,742 first preference votes for the party decimated in February’s general election.
“We are absolutely blown away by our performance,” said McGuinness. “Fianna Fail are fighting across this country and that fight starts now.”
The Dublin West by-election was a disaster for senior government partners Fine Gael however as candidate Eithne Loftus failed to woo the voters and only managed 5,263 first preference votes.
“At the end of the day, this is a local contest and I don’t see it as a permanent decline for Fine Gael but we, as a party locally and nationally, need to work out what went wrong,” said FG director of elections and Minister of State Brian Hayes.
Transport Minister Leo Varadkar, returned from the constituency for Fine Gael in the last general election, acknowledged the Fianna Fail comeback of sorts.
“It was a good result for Fianna Fail, both in Dublin West and for their proxy candidate for the presidency Sean Gallagher,” claimed Varadkar. “It shows that the Fianna Fail party haven’t gone away.”