Labour candidate takes nearly two-thirds of vote

Mairia Cahill has been elected to the Seanad - winning today’s by-election.

In a by-election marked by low turnout, the Labour candidate got near two-thirds of the votes cast.

Only 225 people were entitled to vote in the Seanad by-election - and only 188 managed to successfully do so.

But of those, Mairia Cahill won 122 votes - over three times more than her nearest challenger, Keith Swanick of Fianna Fáil.

In a statement this afternoon the newly-elected senator said she would use her position to campaign on behalf of sexual abuse victims and young jobseekers.

However she will almost immediately face challenge over her refusal to give interviews, or participate in debates, during the campaign.

That stance meant she couldn’t address questions about her previous involvement with a dissident Republican group, the RNU, which has links to paramilitary movements in the North.

Although Cahill had disclosed her membership of the group in the past, her links to the RNU did not come more widely known until the campaign was well underway.