After receiving 4,144 votes on the thirteenth count, senator Ivana Bacik was deemed elected by TCD constituency returning officer provost Patrick Prendergast before 7 pm on Wednesday evening.
She is the second senator to be elected to the chamber on the TCD panel, following the election of David Norris just before 1 am on Wednesday morning.
Tally indications on Tuesday put Bacik in a comfortable second place, with the first count of voting giving her 2,853 votes or 17.8%, falling short of the quota but still comfortably ahead of Lynn Ruane, Averil Power and Sean Barrett who received 8.6%, 8.4% and 8.2% of first preference votes respectively.
Bacik was joined at the count centre in Trinity’s Public Theatre by her family, including her husband and children.
She is the second longest standing member of the TCD panel, having been elected to the Seanad in 2007 and re-elected in 2011. During her term she was deputy leader of Seanad Éireann as well as a leader of the Labour group. She unsuccessfully stood in the 2011 general election for Labour in the Dún Laoghaire constituency, receiving 7,306 votes at the time of her elimination.
In the 2007 Seanad election she received 2,794 votes, taking her seat on the eighth count. In 2011 she was elected with 3,940 votes, and was deemed elected on the tenth count.
Bacik first contested the TCD panel almost two decades ago, in 1997.
In a video interview with Trinity News in the run up to the Seanad election, Bacik spoke about her experience writing and proposing legislation surrounding abortion and Seanad reform. Responding to a question about Labour’s lack of support for Clare Daly’s abortion bill, Bacik said that she would be skeptical of a referendum on the eighth amendment coming to pass without Labour in government.
Referring to an Amnesty International poll on support for repeal of the eighth amendment, Bacik warned that it was a “fluid majority” who are in favour, and cautioned that “you have to prepare the ground before you can hold a constitutional referendum, and that was the other problem with the Clare Daly bill…we hadn’t gotten there in the lifetime of the last government on repeal the eighth.”
Bacik is currently the Reid Professor of Criminal Law, Criminology and Penology at College, a qualified barrister, and a senior lecturer and fellow. She was the president of TCDSU from 1989 to 1990, during which she was taken to court for providing information to women on abortion.
The counting continues in College, with the final seat looking to be a three-way battle between Lynn Ruane, Averil Power and outgoing senator Sean Barrett. Depending on transfers, independent Tom Clonan could also take the third seat. Should Barrett fail to be re-elected, it will be the first time a Trinity incumbent has been unseated in decades.
Photo of Ivana Bacik and Jan O’Sullivan by Matthew Mulligan