The first TD to be elected in Carlow/Kilkenny, Sinn Fein's Kathleen Funchion, says her party is still open to speaking to all parties in an attempt to establish a new government once the dust is settled on this general election.
"I think the conversation is going to have to happen. We had said all along we would speak to every party," she told the Kilkenny People.
"That's still our position. We will speak to every party. We obviously have certain things we want to achieve around health and housing and all the big issues."
"So they would be our asks, and if we agree a programme for government, we'd have a special ard-fheis with our members to see if its agreed. But I suppose all the seats need to be filled first and then all the negotiations between parties, but it's certainly something we are up for."
With a massive 17,493 first preferences, Deputy Funchion becomes the first-ever female TD to be re-elected and hold her seat in this constituency. The level of support exceeded expectations.
"Absolutely thrilled - a massive thanks to all the supporters who came out," she said.
"To people who voted and obviously people working on our campaign - they all played a part. We didn't see this level of support coming and it's overwhelming.
"I was quietly confident that we would hold our seat. Even though a lot of people were writing us off based on the local elections. But I thought 'hold the seat' - I didn't think first seat, or that level of votes."
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