Ian Marshall loses Irish Seanad seat

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Ian Marshall
Image caption,
Ian Marshall was the first unionist elected to the Irish Seanad

The former president of the Ulster Farmers' Union, Ian Marshall, has lost his seat in the Seanad (Irish senate).

Mr Marshall became the first unionist elected to the Republic's upper chamber in 2018 after he was nominated by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

He sat as an independent and received support from Sinn Féin in his first election.

There are 60 seats in the Seanad and the counting of votes has adhered to social distancing guidelines.

Speaking on the BBC News NI’s Good Morning Ulster programme, Mr Marshall said he was disappointed in the result.

He also said the counting process was "surreal" because of the coronavirus social distancing and isolating measures in place.

"I was in Dublin in Leinster House. It was a bit surreal there were only the officials and the people that need to be there," he said.

Mr Marshall said that there is a lot of "misunderstanding and misrepresentation" when it comes to the views of unionism in the Republic of Ireland.

"It's not a cold house for unionists," he said.

"Not everyone in Dublin is focused on Irish unity."