Election Special 2002: SINN FEIN CELEBRATE ELECTION VICTORIES; Three Seats Already won.(News)

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SINN FEIN was euphoric after yesterday's election - with predictions it would end up winning at least four seats.

Party supporters roared in delight in count centres as their candidates were raised shoulder high in victory.

The party had won three seats by tea-time yesterday - and was strongly competing for at least two more.

Sean Crowe in Dublin South West was the first TD to be elected in the constituencies that were counted manually.

He joined Cavan/Monaghan TD, Caoimhghin Caolain, the only party candidate who was elected in the last election in 1997, who topped the poll and was elected at the first count.

Former gun-runner Martin Ferris was the third party member to be elected, taking a seat in Kerry North.

He waved a tricolour as he was lifted high by his supporters.

He said: "We have the common touch with the people on the ground. They see we deliver results".

Sinn Fein deputy leader Martin McGuinness said: "Our objective coming into this election was to win three seats, we believe we are going to do that and possibly one or two more."

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, who was at the count centre with Sean Crowe in Dublin, praised the overall party's performance.

He said: "I want to congratulate every one of the Sinn Fein team".

"It's a wonderful feeling to be with the first Sinn Fein TD to be elected in Dublin city since the time Countess Markiewicz was elected," said Mr Adams. …