On the eve of her 50th birthday, Niamh Kennedy (IND) received the perfect present after being re-elected on the 11th count at the John Bosco Centre in Donegal town.
The hall erupted after Presiding Officer, Pauric Sheerin, announced she accumulated an impressive 2,322 votes, surpassing the quota by 279 and becoming the first candidate to be elected.
Hot on her heels is Noel Jordan (SF) with 2,033, just ten short of the quota, and he should be shoulder high after Kennedy’s surplus is distributed.
Michael Naughton (FF) looks good on 1,648 followed by Michael McMahon (SF) on 1,474. Barry Sweeny (FG) is 5th with 1,424 and in 6th is John McNulty (FG) 1,393.
He will find it hard to hold off outgoing Tom Conaghan (IND) for that final seat. The Donegal town man is just 20 votes adrift.