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Triumph of Ivana Bacik in by-election paves the way for Labour to return to national politics

DUBLIN: Labour’s Ivana Bacik outperformed all of his opponents in the by-election and has been officially declared the winner of the Dublin Bay South constituency. The Labour senator topped the polls with a 30% share of first-preference votes, surpassing the party’s national polling rate.

In a recent opinion poll, the Labour Party’s popularity was just three per cent, but in Dublin Bay South, Ivana Basic’s popularity was ten times higher than that of the party. Ms. Bacik brought the Labour back into national politics with a 30% share of first preference votes. James Geoghegan of Fine Gael came in second place, receiving about 26.2% of first preference votes.

The Labour Party has performed poorly in the last two general elections. The party also struggled to overcome the ‘fatigue’ of its time in government with Fine Gael between 2011 and 2016. In 2016, the Labour plummeted from having 33 seats in the Dáil to just seven, the worst result in the party’s history. It lost one more seat last year, returning only six TDs.

The by-election victory is return of Labour: Alan Kelly

Labour’s leader Alan Kelly claimed the victory marked a rebound after the party’s poor performance in past elections. He said the last few years have been difficult for the party, but that today’s by-election result indicates a return to good times.

Kelly said he was “very proud” of Bacik’s performance in the election. “Ivana is somebody who we have admired for many years, she has been a member with us all her adult life.”

“Hopefully today will be her day and she will be elected to Dáil Éireann. She put in an incredible performance. She was literally out morning, noon and night with a fantastic campaign team. It was a positive campaign. We are very proud of her,” he added.

Success of Ivana Bacik

Ivana Bacik said the results show that people have embraced the message of equality and solidarity put forward by the Labour Party. “Values of equality and solidarity have clearly resonated and we’ve heard that back on the doorsteps across the constituency throughout the campaign,” she said.

Ms. Bacik also noted that housing, public-sector investment, the need for state investment in the construction of homes on public land, and childcare provision may have played a role in her success.

Irish politics is not a Fine Gael – Sinn Féin war

Director of Elections for the Labour Party Duncan Smyth said the victory was achieved by canvassing voters each morning and evening, with a strategy to deliver a vote in the inner city areas again. He thanked the voters and everyone who helped the party.

Smith said Bacik’s by-election victory corrects a recent perception that Irish politics is a battle between Fine Gael and Sinn Féin.

He said the by-election victory gives party members hope that Labour is “back in the game” across all Dáil constituencies. He described Ivana Bacik’s success as a “big morale boost for the party”.

This victory gives the Labour Party the confidence to face the next general election. Some sources say the party is in a bid to win up to 20 seats next time.

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