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Dublin: 12 °C Thursday 27 October, 2016


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WE’VE BEEN COUNTING for 72 hours but there are still six seats to be filled after the 2016 general election.

We’re expecting some more drama today with counting still underway in three constituencies across the country. Stick with us as we bring you news of who’s in and who’s out of the 32nd Dáil.

First off, here’s a quick recap:

  • 152 out of 158 TDs have been elected so far, with FG (49 seats) ahead of FF (44).
  • Counting has finally concluded for Dublin Bay North. 
  • Junior minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin lost his seat. All eyes are now on Willie Penrose in Longford Westmeath. If he is eliminated, Labour will have no speaking rights in the 32nd Dáil.
  • Dublin South Central has concluded, with Bríd Smith coming out triumphant.

It’s Sinéad O’Carroll here, by the way, to keep you updated throughout the morning.

We’ll have someone in the RDS shortly to report back about the number of paper cuts on counters’ fingers, the volume of energy drinks consumed and the very real possibility that junior minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin could lose his seat.

If you’re still out there and reading, please get in touch in the comments section, by email ( or on Twitter @sineadocarroll

It’s not quite Super Tuesday this side of the pond but we’re hoping to bring you some final news from Longford-Westmeath, Dublin Bay North and Dublin South Central today.


Let’s head back over to Dublin now to get an update on Dublin South Central.

This is the one that could drag as Fianna Fáiler Catherine Ardagh’s team has already brought up the c-word: COURT.


But for now, we’re waiting until noon for the returning officer to announce how many invalid votes were spotted in the 170 disputed ones.

Stay tuned for that in a few hours.

So let’s run through what’s happening in each of the three constituencies. First up, Longford-Westmeath.


We eventually got ex-Fianna Fáiler and now-Independent Alliance councillor Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran elected on the 13th count last night.

BUT… (Obviously there’s a but in this election).

James Bannon, the Fine Gael TD has been granted a recount. If nothing changes, it looks like Fine Gael’s Peter Burke and Sinn Féin’s Paul Hogan will take the third and fourth seats.

That leaves Willie Penrose out in the cold which is terrible news for Labour.

And last but not least, the Group of Death in Dublin Bay North.

Lots of Power puns were available to reporters tweeting away from the RDS as Averil was eliminated after a long recheck. She was joined in the dark by AAA-PBP second-time candidate John Lyons.

The Haughey dynasty was revitalised with the election of Charlie’s son Seán on count 14 with 12,745 votes (483 over quota).

CHARLIE HAUGHEY Source: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

He joins Richard Bruton who was elected way back on Saturday.

So the state of play right now? Independents Finian McGrath and Tommy Broughan are fighting with Sinn Féin’s Denise Mitchell and Labour’s Aodhán Ó Ríordáin for the last three seats.

Transfers from John Lyons will probably be more friends to the indos and Mitchell, meaning AOR and Labour could be in serious trouble.

Nail-biting stuff really.


(Yes, I’m very fond of a Britney gif. Deal.)

We’ve heard a lot about the flirtin’, dancin’ and the courtin’ that will go on between political parties over the next few weeks as they try to cobble together a government, a ‘programme for parliament’ or whatever Micheál Martin was talking about last night.

Geography student Rob McDonnell writes for us today, saying if the parties backtrack on promises about who they would or would not do deals with, he’ll be really rather annoyed.

Read it here.

You can see the dilemma with how the seats are working out. Remember, the magic number – as they say – is 79 for a majority.


Time for a recap, right?

Nicky Ryan has one for you, set to suitably dramatic tunes.


This just came in from a Damian Moylan in Longford. He is disappointed with the likely outcome in Longford-Westmeath. He writes:

One problem we do have is Longford. It now looks like not one TD in Dail Eireann from Co. Longford which is really bad news for what already is a disadvantaged town and an unemployment blackspot.

It seems inevitable that Longford cannot elect a single TD beacuse Longford is part of the larger Longford-Westmeath area. The larger population areas outside Longford invariably means that candidates from Longford simply cannot compete.

If we value democracy it would seem necessary to create a Longford constituency so that we could elect candidate TD’s from the area.

Longford, already disadvantaged in so many ways needs a voice in Dáil Eireann.

Cianan Brennan has arrived at the RDS where John Lyons’s 8,476 votes are now being distributed among the final contenders.

giphy (1)

(I’m going to run out of ‘nail-biting’ gifs, aren’t I?)

Here’s Cianan Brennan‘s take on things in Dublin Bay North from the RDS.

Today, after nearly four days of non-stop counting, everyone seems wrung out. Shane Ross is here, and has more pep in his step than pretty much the rest of the huge room combined. But then he was elected on the second count in Dublin Rathdown three days ago.

The word about the place is that Labour’s Aodhán Ó Riordáin is in big trouble. He doesn’t have it in him to deny it. If truth be told he looks like a ghost, defeated and tired.

“I wouldn’t be confident to be honest with you,” he tells

“It’s not looking good, we would have hoped for more transfers than we have gotten from Averil Power to be honest. When the tide goes out, it goes out you know? It’s a credit to the campaign that we’ve held on as long as we have.”

There’s something approaching solidarity now between those who remain – Independents Tommy Broughan and Finian McGrath, Sinn Féin’s Denise Mitchell and Labour’s Ó Riordáin. They’ve all been through the mill for four hard days. Mitchell calls to McGrath by name. He shares a word with Ó Riordáin, then gives us a minute as he wanders nervously about the hall.

The count is expected to happen before 1pm.

“I’m so nervous. It’s cruel, really cruel,” McGrath tells us.

“My stomach is in bits from too much of this,” he says, gesturing to his coffee. ”If I take the seat I’ll be absolutely over the moon to be honest with you.”

Mitchell is relatively upbeat. She’s in a good position and she knows it. She chats away in a tired, happy fashion with Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan.

I think we’re going to do it, we’re confident. It looks that way. It’s been such a long campaign, I mean we were initially aiming for November and that’s when we peaked, and now it’s three months further along. But I think we’re going to do it, but who can say for certain?

Tommy Broughan is a little more inscrutable. “It’s hard to say how we’ll do – it’s all a little bit…” and he waves his hands up and down in the universal sign for “it’s all up in the air”.

Look who has arrived at the RDS…


Yes, that’s deputy Labour leader Alan Kelly up from Tipp to support his colleague.

No sign of Joan Burton yet.

And more from Cianan in the RDS where the reporters – many of whom have been holed up there for going on 76 hours now – just need something. ANYTHING.

“The entire media just descended on Kelly expecting something as he stared at his phone. He waited 40 seconds, then looked up and said “no folks, nothing to see here”. Cue collective breath exhalation.”

We managed to get a grainy snap though.

PastedImage-94826 Source: Cianan Brennan/

A count is imminent in Dublin Bay North.

Repeat. A count is imminent in Dublin Bay North.

Looks like the bad news will be confirmed for Ó Riordáin.



Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has lost his seat in Dublin Bay North. Losing out to Independents Tommy Broughan and Finian McGrath and Sinn Féin’s Denise Mitchell.

PastedImage-50711 The Sinn Féin team wait for the count announcement.



Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has lost his seat in Dublin Bay North. Losing out to Independents Tommy Broughan and Finian McGrath and Sinn Féin’s Denise Mitchell.


So here’s what we’ve ended up with in Dublin Bay North.


That’s one Fine Gael (Bruton), one Fianna Fáil (Haughey), one Sinn Féin (Mitchell) and two independents (Broughan and McGrath).

Some snippets from the RDS and Dublin Bay North, which is seeing the most action of the past 76 hours right now.

In one corner, Sinn Féin supporters are belting out “Oró sé do bheatha bháile”.

In the other, an extremely disappointed Ó Ríordáin is giving an interview to RTÉ Radio One for the one o’clock news.

He has said:

[I am] very disappointed, it wasn’t to be, just want to thank all my supporters and everyone who voted for me.

Meanwhile, Finian McGrath is “absolutely delighted” and Denise Mitchell takes the opportunity to get another dig in with regard Irish Water:

The people have shown this Fine Gael government where to go, and they can take their water charges with them.

Here, have you forgotten about Dublin South Central?

They’re still not finished there either..

The decision AAA-PBP’s Bríd Smith refers to will be key to whether her election will be confirmed after a recheck.

The returning officer will announce how many of the 170 disputed votes will be declared invalid.

Meanwhile, in Longford, a second recount is still going on. It was granted at the request of James Bannon who has the party’s legal counsel Kevin O’Higgins with him in the count centre.

According to Shannonside FM:

This recount was requested last night by Fine Gael Deputy James Bannon who was apparently told last night that the result of the 13th count and the distribution of Kevin Boxer Moran’s surplus has resulted in him being two votes behind Willie Penrose.

The local station has said this could easily go into day five.

Yep, we can do that.


No matter what team you’re on – or if you’re even on a team, it’s never that pretty seeing someone lose.

We’re hearing from the RDS that we’ll have news on Dublin South Central very soon but I’m going to take this lull to hand you over to my colleague Christina Finn to take you through the next couple of hours.

Hopefully, we won’t be going into Day Five of the #ge16 count.


Meanwhile, our reporter Cianan Brennan was down at the Dublin Bay North count when it all came to an end (though some wondered if that would ever be the case).

After days of waiting around for a result, suddenly there was a flurry of activity and it was all done. He said the whole scene was bedlam.


There’s a whole lot of sitting going on down at the RDS at the moment.

I really wish they would just play this over the speakers down there. Give the people what they want. A solid tune.

Source: EuropeVEVO/YouTube

You would want to be living under a rock if you haven’t heard all the discussions about who is going to join up and form the next government.

As it stand, we have Fine Gael at 49 seats and Fianna Fáil at 44. But, who knows what the outcome is going to be?

Rob O’Donnell writes for today that he has a serious problem with political parties saying one thing and doing another once the election is over and the votes are in.

By my judgement, representation and old-school cloak and dagger politics are incompatible. Yes, I am willing to accept that political parties naturally have an overwhelming preference to govern as the only stakeholder in a majority government, but the plurality of the current political landscape just doesn’t allow for it.

It is the responsibility of these parties to respect the mandate the electorate have given them and to do their absolute best to govern.

Do you agree with his point? Read more of his article here>

A spokesperson for the European Commission has told that it thought it was best to delay a report which criticises the level of public sector investment in Ireland until after the election.


Now, it doesn’t look like there will be an announcement in Dublin South Central for some time. I’m going to hand you over to our reporter Aoife Barry to take you through the next couple of hours.

Let’s hope they get a move on.



Our own Cianan Brennan is down at the Dublin South Central count, and has been chatting to Bríd Smith.

She’s told him she has no idea when this process finishes, and when it does she thinks there’s a very good chance it’ll be taken the legal route

“I’m just absolutely frazzled with this,” she said.
I’m tired, emotional, angry, hopeful, optimistic… it changes all the time, this has just gone on so long

“The adjudication officer made her decision on the 170 contentious votes that have ground this count to an utter halt,” reports Cianan. “But now the returning officer is going through every possible permutation of those votes. When he’ll finish, no-one knows.”

“But don’t be expecting it any time soon… this looks very much like dragging into a fifth day and possibly beyond.”

Just to recap, the full recount was requested by Fine Gael TD James Bannon, and began at 10.30am today.

It’s a very tight count so far, and still thousands of votes yet to be recounted.

Another update from Cianan Brennan who’s at the Dublin South Central count:

Bríd Smith has won the seat.

We’ll have some more updates and video with you in a moment.

BRID SMITH 8755 90411008 Source: Eamonn Farrell

Before this year, Bríd Smith had unsuccessfully contested four general elections, starting in 1997.

She has waited 18 years, 8 months and 25 days for her first win – the longest of anyone in the new Dáil.

Bríd Smith said after her win:

Fianna Fáil said water charges are a red line issue, well they’d better bloody well follow through on that.

We will make sure they stick to that, me and Richard

She added:

Labour, we’re as big as you now, don’t forget it.

I promise to do my damnedest to represent you and if I don’t sure you can shoot me.

‘The workers, united, will never be defeated.’

It’s been a long time coming, both in terms of years running and now days counting, but Bríd Smith is now officially a TD.

Here’s the moment herself and hr supporters deservedly celebrated.


You might be wondering when the first sitting of the 32nd Dáil takes place.

Well, it will convene at 10.30am on Thursday 10 March, and there will be two things on the agenda:

  • The election of the Taoiseach
  • The election of the Ceann Comhairle

But will the make-up of the government be agreed on by then? Unlikely.

That’s all for our liveblog this evening – we’ll still continue to keep you up-to-date with everything GE16 this evening, and if we happen to get a result in the Longford-Westmeath recount.

Thanks for reading.

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