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Red letter day sees Labour storm capital

LABOUR are the champions of Dublin after high-profile candidates snuck their running mates across the line in several constituencies.

Despite winning 3,314 less first preference votes than Fine Gael in the capital, strict vote management means Eamon Gilmore's party are the biggest.

The Gilmore Gale saw their overall support in Dublin jump 14.8pc as his candidates collected 159,709 first preferences and, more importantly, 18 Dail seats.

It was obvious from early on Saturday that it would be a good day for Labour in the capital.

Joan Burton was the first TD elected to the 31st Dail having seen off Leo Varadkar and Brian Lenihan in Dublin West. She was quickly followed by Pat Rabbitte in Dublin South West as the second home.

The key to Labour's success was the ability of well-known names like Roisin Shortall, Ruairi Quinn and Joanna Tuffy to get their lesser-known running mates elected.

Mr Rabbitte told the Herald that people voted Labour "in order that the Party would help shape the recovery and improve their families' circumstances. They were very explicit about it".

"They don't expect miracles," he said. "But they do expect that the hard decisions will be fused with fairness and, hopefully, a little imagination."

In Dublin North West, Ms Shortall romped home with 9,359 first-preference votes and transfers allowed city councillor John Lyons take the final seat.

He edged out Fine Gael's Dr Bill Tormey and Lord Mayor Gerry Breen in a tough battle that might leave FG party strategists regretting their two-candidate strategy.

A battle royal developed in Dublin South East where both Cllr Kevin Humphreys ended up in a death match with Fianna Fail's Chris Andrews.

Andrews was among some of the better Fianna Fail performers -- but with Ruairi Quinn heading the Labour ticket and two Fine Gael candidates also getting in, his term was ended.

Dublin South Central was also key for Labour as it re-elected Eric Byrne for the first time since 1997, and running mate Michael Conaghan also got through for the fourth seat.

A similar performance by Senator Brendan Ryan and Sean Kenny in Dublin North East saw them edge out Sinn Fein's Larry O'Toole in another big win for Labour.

In Dublin South, Alex White took the seat that many thought had been usurped by George Lee in the 2009 by-election.