The Belfast woman who became known for revealing her sexual abuse at the hands of an IRA member was nominated by the Labour Party to fill the seat vacated by Jimmy Harte. Last night she dealt with questions raised in recent weeks about her membership of a dissident Republican group. Four candidates have contested this by election with only TDs and Senators having a vote - they are Mairia Cahill, Independent and former Fianna Fáil campaigner Jerry Beades, Sinn Féin put forward Councillor Sinead Burke, and Fianna Fáil put forward Keith Swanick. But Mairia Cahill seems certain to win as she will secure the votes of Labour and Fine Gael TDs and Senators. She did run into controversy over her role in the group Republican Network for Unity - where she served as its National Secretary for a few hours in 2010 and says she was associated with it for no longer than six months. Breaking her silence on the matter in an interview on RTÉ radio last night - after polls closed, Mairia Cahill apologised for joining the dissident group saying it was at a vulnerable point in her life, and said she no longer considered herself to be a Republican. Counting of votes gets underway at 11am this morning, with a result expected before lunchtime.
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