Independent Senator Rónán Mullen has been successfully re-elected to the Seanad, topping the poll in the National University of Ireland panel.
Mr Mullen – a fearless defender of the unborn in the Oireachtas – was deemed to be elected on the first count having secured the largest number of first preference votes. He won 9,642 first preference votes meaning he exceeded the quote of 25% of votes.
Just over one in four of those graduated of the NUI eligible ot vote who did so gave Mr Mullen their top preference.
The Galway man took to social media to make the announcement this afternoon saying he was “honoured to be elected on the first count” to represent the NUI in Seanad Éireann.
“Conscious that these are tough times for everybody. Glad to have something to celebrate and wishing health and safety to us all,” he said in a post on Twitter.
The next highest placed candidate is outgoing senator Michael McDowell who secured 8,951 first preference votes and looks set to be elected with transfers once candidates with fewer votes are eliminated.
In third place in the first count is another outgoing senator Alice Mary Higgins. Ms Higgins – a daughter of President Michael D. Higgins – secured 4,944, or about half a quota. She is followed by Solidarity-People Before Profit candidate Ruth Coppinger on 3,615 votes and former president of the Union of Students in Ireland Laura Harmon on 2,187 votes.
Transfers are likely to prove crucial in deciding who wins the third and final seat as the votes of the 14 lowest-ranked candidates are distributed.
Mr Mullen was first elected to the Seanad in 2007 securing 4,661 votes and taking the second seat. In 2011 he was re-elected, topping the poll with 6,459 first preferences. He retained his seat and poll-topping position in 2016 securing 9,016 first preference votes.