Minister for Sport Shane Ross loses seat in Dublin Rathdown

Sun, Feb 09 2020

Ross led the governmental opposition to the old FAI regime, while fans protested with tennis balls. Credit: Michael P Ryan (ETPhotos)

Minster for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross has become the first casualty of the outgoing government as he lost his seat in Dublin Rathdown.

The independent politician, who has been closely aligned with the ruling Fine Gael party in recent years, has served as minister since the election of the 32nd Dáil in 2016.

Ross found himself in sixth position following the counting of all first-preference votes in the three-seater constituency, with his 3,460 tally some way behind Fianna Fáil’s Shay Brennan in fifth.

Green Party vice-chair Catherine Martin was elected on the fifth count, while Neale Richmond and Josepha Madigan (FG), Brennan and Sinn Féin’s Sorcha Nic Cormaic remain in the hunt.

Sinn Féin look set to make substantial gains as they are projected to take the highest voteshare, though Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil may take a higher number of seats.

The Goatstown native has led the criticism of the Football Association of Ireland under former chief executive John Delaney.

70-year-old Ross was part of the Committee that grilled the FAI over several months in 2019 and welcomed Delaney’s ultimate resignation from the association in September.

The minister had earlier expressed full confidence in Delaney’s stewardship, writing that: “the fans are very enthusiastic about what the FAI are doing. They think the FAI are doing a very good job.”

He was part of discussions that saw a multi-million-euro 'bailout' plan announced between the FAI, UEFA and Bank of Ireland, as well as Sport Ireland.

Ross’s record as minister has been chequered, with a number of high-profile gaffes bringing into question his suitably for the sports brief.

He mistakenly congratulation ‘Dominant Puspure’ following Cork rower Sanita Puspure’s World Championship gold medal in 2018.

Ross previously credited goalkeeper Shay Given with Shane Long’s winning goal against Germany in 2015, while congratulating ‘Shane Kenny’ on his ascent to the Ireland under-21 job in 2018.

Meanwhile, in Mayo, former Minster for Sport Michael Ring was elected on the first count.