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Dublin: 10 °C Saturday 10 December, 2016
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THE VOTES HAVE been cast in the 2016 General Election – and now the count is on. Last night’s Irish Times exit poll showed a surge for Fianna Fáil but bad news for the Fine Gael-Labour coalition.

RTÉ’s exit poll this morning showed similar results. Will we see them borne out as the first tallies emerge?

Join us as we track the exit polls, tallies, and winners and losers in the election.

Update: Follow our liveblog following the results across Saturday night here.

Morning! Aoife Barry here with you as we get set for the vote counting to begin.

If you’re just waking up, you might have missed last night’s Irish Times exit poll, which showed bad news for the Fine Gael-Labour coalition, but a surge in support for Fianna Fáil.

Here’s our full report on that Ipsos MRBI poll, but below are the highlights:

The Irish Times reported last night that their exit poll shows the coalition parties have a combined 34% of first preference votes.

Fianna Fáil are on 22.9%, which suggests there may have been a late surge in support for them, while Sinn Féin are on 14.9%, and Independents appear to have taken 16.1% of first preference votes.

This graph shows last night’s Irish Times exit poll vs the 2011 general election exit poll:

download (6)

And here’s a similar graph that shows first preference votes in 2011 vs last night’s exit poll, but with independents/smaller parties combined.

Support for independents and smaller parties – Renua, Soc Dems, Greens and AAA/PBP – appears to have rocketed:

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Here’s how things are looking for this morning:

7am: RTÉ exit poll results

9am: Counting of votes begins

Midday (approx): We’re expecting the first tallies to emerge around this time

You’ll be wanting to know who get the seats in your local constituency – and who misses out.

So bookmark our election site here, where we’ll be filling you in on the results for all the constituencies.

It looks pretty sweet, if we say so ourselves. Big thanks to our tech team for putting it all together:

liveblog gif constituencies

The RTÉ exit poll is in – and it shows similar results to last night’s Irish Times poll:

Fine Gael 24.8%

Fianna Fáil 21.1%

Sinn Féin 16%

Labour 7.1%

Independents 11%

AAA/PBP 4.7%

Soc Dems 3.7%

Green Party 3.6

Independent Alliance 3%

Renua 2.4%

Others 2.6%

Here’s what our political editor Hugh O’Connell has to say on the exit poll results so far:

The exit polls are quite simply dreadful news for the government. If last night’s Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI one was bad, this morning’s RTÉ poll is even worse, showing a total collapse for Fine Gael in particular. On 24% the the party is well down on even the final opinion polls which had it averaging 30%. On this form, the party will lose over 20 seats.

The Fianna Fáil surge comes off the back of a good campaign and Sinn Féin also looks set to have an excellent day. But the other big story is the fracturing of the vote to independents and smaller parties. That means we’re in for a long day and possibly few days of counting.
In terms of government formation, the poll tells us that there is no viable government beyond Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil. Even a Fine Gael minority looks unworkable with such low seat numbers. It’s either the grand coalition that both parties once considered unthinkable, or a second election before the summer.

Reaction is coming in now to the latest RTÉ exit poll.

Paul Murphy believes that it is a ‘political earthquake’:

While Stephen Donnelly has pointed to the absence of independents and smaller parties from most of the leaders’ debates:

RTÉ has some more details on the regional breakdown of its exit poll:

Fianna Fáil director of elections Billy Kelleher is speaking to Morning Ireland – and won’t be drawn on whether he thinks it will be a Fine Gael – Fianna Fáil government.

As he points out, the vote counting hasn’t started yet.

But he did say that it is “a good result for the party in terms of seat gains”.

The three SocDem TDs canv Source: graphy: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

According to the exit polls, new party the Soc Dems are doing well – but should they have run more candidates?

Speaking to Morning Ireland, Roisín Shortall said it “would have been wonderful to put up more candidates” but pointed out that the party was run on a shoestring, and relied on volunteer work.

“This morning, I’m thinking it would have been great to contest every constituency, but there simply wasn’t time,” she said.

She also said that she’s keeping her fingers crossed that she’ll keep her own seat, which she has had for many years.

How is Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny feeling this morning?

Fine Gael general secretary Tom Curran hasn’t spoken to him yet, but told Morning Ireland that the Taoiseach:

will be very disappointed this morning and will be taking stock of what happens now.

He said that the party “will be looking very carefully at the tally figures when they come in”, and that he believes that now we have a “very fractured electorate”.

When asked about a coalition with Fianna Fáil, Curran also said that they want to see the outcome of the election before they speculate on any possible arrangement.

Our Political Editor Hugh O’Connell is in the RDS, and it’s looking pretty busy so far. It’ll be rammed come a few hours’ time:

(Is it just us though or does that Vine make it sound like a few geese are in the centre?)

AAA-PBP did well in the exit polls.  Member Paul Murphy has already said that he believes the election is a “political earthquake”, and speaking to RTÉ he said that the establishment system “is breaking down”.

Murphy would be happy if AAA-PBP got six seats – but seven would be best as it would then mean they would become a recognised parliamentary grouping.

As for working with Labour in opposition, Murphy said “it’s a question of policies”. In his opinion, Labour is no longer “a force of the left”.

Just a few minutes until the counts begin across the country.

Here’s how some of the count centres are looking:

RTÉ has just released its second preference exit poll:

Again, we see Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil in the lead, with Independents and Sinn Féin coming up strongly behind.

Labour are still lagging, but just behind a few points behind them are the AAA-PBP.

This just in from Hugh O’Connell, who’s at the RDS count:

Will Humphreys be proved right? We’ll soon see.

Living in the Galway West area? Pay heed, you might be waiting a while for the result, if previous years are to go by…

Here we go. Scenes from the RDS captured by Rolling News:

2 Counting the votes Source: Leah Farrell

1 Counting the votes Source: Rolling News

frank Source: RTE

Frank Flannery describes this as “an unprecedented election, like none I’ve ever been talking about”.

A couple of initial tallies from some boxes emerging on Twitter:

The caveat here is that it’s early days and these are just the first tallies emerging.

Some early info from Mayo:

Limerick:

It’s also looking good for the two Healy-Raes in Kerry – so far they are at 13.3% for Danny and 21.6% for Michael Healy-Rae. Again, a massive health warning on all figures so far.

The Dublin West constituency is a major one to keep an eye on – it’s home to Joan Burton, Ruth Coppinger, and Leo Varadkar.

Here are the figures so far, with 10% of boxes open, via RTÉ:

  • Joan Burton (Labour) 18%
  • Leo Varadkar (Fine Gael) 18%
  • Jack Chambers (Fianna Fáil) 17%
  • Ruth Coppinger (AAA) 13%
  • Paul Donnelly (Sinn Féin) 12%
  • Catherine Noone (Fine Gael) 6%
  • David McGuinness (independent) 5%

Joan Burton was the first TD in the country elected in the 2011 general election.

From Hugh O’Connell in the RDS,:

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, who could be on course for a Dáil return, has hailed this as an “historic” election, which has seen the end of Civil War politics. He, like many others, believes that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael will have to do a deal. On his own party’s fortunes, Ryan says the key will be turning its exit poll performance into seats, although he acknowledged that the Greens have secured State funding again and, of course, welcomed this.

What do you think about a coalition between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil? Paul Murphy says “many people would rightly hate” it.

paul m

Pearse Doherty says it’s looking like there is strong support for Sinn Féin in Donegal. He said there has been a “dramatic drop in Fine Gael’s support in this country”.

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Need to catch up on the exit poll figures?

Here they are in video form:

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Some more regional updates, this time from Dublin South Central:

Aenghus O Snodaigh (Sinn Féin) 33%
Brid Smith (AAA-PBP) 21%
Catherine Ardagh (Fianna Fáil) 10%
Catherine Byrne (Fine Gael) 9%
Joan Collins (Independents for Change) 8%
Máire Devine (Sinn Féin) 5%
Eric Byrne (Labour) 4%
Liam Coyne (Soc Dems) 3%
There were 8% of boxes counted as of 9.57am.
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In Cork, there are 13% of boxes open in the Cork South-Central area.

This is a particularly interesting area given that it’s home to two Fianna Fáil TDs, a Fine Gael Minister and Fine Gael TD.

So far, the tallies show:

Michael McGrath (Fianna Fáil) 20%
Micheál Martin (Fianna Fáil) 21%
Simon Coveney (Fine Gael) 17%
Jerry Buttimer (Fine Gael) 10%
Donnchadh O Laoghaire (Sinn Fein) 14.74%
Ciaran Lynch (Labour) 4.4%

How are you feeling about the results so far? Let us know in the comments. We’re bring you the tallies as they emerge.

12 Counting the votes Source: RollingNews.ie

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Here’s how Dublin Bay South looks after 40% of boxes opened.

Of interest here is how Green Party leader Eamon Ryan is doing – his showing might give an indication of how the view of his party has changed in public opinion.

It also has Lucinda Creighton in the running, and her votes may indicate the level of support behind her newly-formed party Renua.

Chris Andrews (Sinn Féin) 16%

Eoghan Murphy (Fine Gael) 16%

Kevin Humphreys (Labour) 12%

Jim O’Callaghan (Fianna Fáil) 11%

Lucinda Creighton (Renua) 10%

Eamon Ryan (Green Party) 9%

Kate O’Connell (Fine Gael) 8%

Glenna Lynch (Soc Dems) 6%

Mannix Flynn (Independent) 5%

Annette Mooney (AAA) 5%

UPDATE:

Things looked like they weren’t going great for the Labour Party’s Brendan Howlin, if this tweet was to go by:

If you thought that number seemed unbelievably low, you’d be right.

Turns out a mistake was made by tallymen:

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Some more tally updates – Stephen Donnelly is leading the pack in Wicklow.

After 15 out of 180 boxes tallied, RTÉ reports that the figures are:

Stephen Donnelly (Soc Dems) 22%

Simon Harris (Fine Gael) 15%

John Brady (Sinn Féin) 13%

Billy Timmons (Renua) 12%

Pat Casey (Fianna Fail) 9%

Anne Ferris (Labour) has 3%.

Up north? The first count in Donegal is expected around 7 or 8pm

Over in Dublin Fingal, here’s what we have so far – eyes will be on Fine Gael’s James Reilly and Alan Farrell, and Clare Daly here:

Clare Daly (Independents for Change) 17%

Darragh O’Brien (Fianna Fáil) 15%

Brendan Ryan (Labour) 12%

Louise O’Reilly (Sinn Féin)  10%

Alan Farrell (Fine Gael) 10%

James Reilly (Fine Gael) 7%

Barry Martin (Independents for Change) 6%

Back to Dublin Bay South for a bit: Lucinda Creighton and Kate O’Connell (Renua and Fine Gael, respectively) could end up going head-to-head for the final seat in this area.

Still, early days yet…

Over in Dublin Bay North, there are 14 people vying for just five seats.

And things really do look neck-and-neck…

Richard Bruton (Fine Gael) 15%
Sean Haughey (Fianna Fáil) 14%
Finian McGrath (Independent) 11%
Aodhán Ó’Ríordáin (Labour) 8%
Denise Mitchell (Sinn Féin) 8%
John Lyons (AAA-PBP) 7%
Deirdre Heney (Fianna Fáil) 5%
Naoise Ó Muirí (Fine Gael) 4%
Cian O’Callaghan (Soc Dems) 4%
Terence Flanagan (Renua) 4%
Tommy Broughan (Independent) 3%
Averil Power (Independent) 4%
Micheál Mac Donncha (Sinn Féin) 4%
Stephanie Regan (Fine Gael) 2%

Back to Dublin Bay South, where things are getting very interesting.

Things have flipped around in the last hour, and now with 75% of the boxes open, this is how things are looking:

Some more tidbits from the counts (and is it just us, or is the morning flying by?):

The final tally in Kildare North looks like this – and it’s bad news for Emmet Stagg:

Mary Lou McDonald looks on course to top the poll in Dublin Central

Billy Kelleher is expected to top the poll in Cork North-Central

Fine Gael advisor Mark Mortell told Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ that a prospect of “an election very soon is now very, very high” – but he also said that neither politicians nor the electorate want it.

Dr Michael Harty, the ‘no doctor, no village’ campaigner is doing so well in Clare that he’s expected to get a seat. But Timmy Dooley (Fianna Fáil) could top the polls ahead of him.

With 150 boxes open in Donegal (61% of the total), the party breakdown is:

Fianna Fáil 32.28%

Sinn Féin 25.41%

Fine Gael 16.94%

Others 25.37%

There are five seats in the constituency, and 16 candidates.

download (9) Source: Facebook

One of the big stories of the day is how well the Healy-Rae brothers have done – they have 40% of the vote between them in Kerry (5 seats).

With 46% of boxes open so far, here’s how everyone is doing:

Michael Healy-Rae (Independent) 26.9%

Danny Healy-Rae (Independent) 13.2%

Martin Ferris (Sinn Féin) 11.7%

John Brassil (Fianna Fáil) 10.9%

Brendan Griffin (Fine Gael) 9.7%

Jimmy Deenihan (Fine Gael) 9.2%

Arthur Spring (Labour) 5.7%

Norma Moriarty (Fianna Fáil) 5.3%

Michael O’Gorman (Independent) 1.7%

Brian Finucane (AAA-PBP) 1.1%

Donal Corcoran (Renua Ireland) 1.1%

Grace O’Donnell (Fine Gael) 1%

Michael Fitzgerald (Green Party) 0.8%

Mary Fitzgibbon (Independent) 0.8%

Kevin Murphy (Independent) 0.6%

Henry Gaynor (Independent) 0.3%

Here’s Richard Bruton on Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny.

He did a “tremendous job”, said Bruton:

Source: Hugh O'Connell/YouTube

Looks like Cork South Central is one to keep an eye on – the first full tally is due.

Turnout here was 63%. There are four seats here, with 15 candidates, including Micheál Martin, Ciarán Lynch, Michael McGrath and Simon Coveney.

Afternoon, folks. Christine Bohan here talking over the liveblog for the next few hours.

It’s been a dramatic day already and the first counts haven’t even come in yet. Got any thoughts? Leave them in the comments, tweet me @christinebohan or email christine@thejournal.ie.

It looks like it’s going to be a strong first election for the Social Democrats – they’ll return at least three seats, with Róisin Shortall, Stephen Donnelly and Catherine Murphy all looking like they may top the poll in their respective constituencies. A number of other Social Democrats may still be in the running in other constituencies too.

SocDems

Latest tally results for Dublin Central show Mary Lou McDonald ahead of all other candidates on 24%, with a tussle for the next two seats between FG Minister Paschal Donohoe, Fianna Fáil’s Mary FitzPatrick, Gary Gannon of the Social Democrats and Maureen O’Sullivan. Labour TD Joe Costello looks set to lose his seat.

dublin central Source: Niall Dawson

Cork South Central has been described as the constituency of death, with four government TDs scrapping to keep their seats. The final tally shows that three of them - FF leader Micheál Martin, Michael McGrath (FF) and Simon Coveney (FG)  - are all safe, but there’ll be a battle between Jerry Buttimer (FG) and first-timer Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire (SF) for the final seat.

 

A quick note on the timing for this afternoon: we’re expecting the first official count between 2pm and 3pm. Dublin West was first in 2011 at 2.47pm, closely followed by Dublin Mid-West at 2.58pm (they were also first to have their full results in 2011 at 6.48pm and 7.39pm respectively). 

The majority of the first counts will come in between 5pm and 7pm tonight, while the bulk of the results will be coming in between 10pm and 1am.

In other words: There’s still a long way to go. Stock up. (Here’s what our junk food table looks like at the moment):

diabetes table Source: Susan Daly

Latest tally from Waterford, where 4 seats are up for grabs:

Mary Butler (FF) is currently tallying at 20.66%, followed by David Cullinane (19.23%) and John Halligan (15.9%), with the two Fine Gael TDs battling it out for the last seat: John Deasy (14.34%) and Paudie Coffey (14.05%). Ciara Conway (Labour) is just a few percentage points ahead of the Green Party candidate Grace O’Sullivan at 4.6%

Waterford Source: @powerian

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It’s been a bad day – and a bad campaign – for Fine Gael with the party set to lose around 20 seats. Will Enda Kenny still be leader after this? Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton has been out of the traps already saying that he has confidence in Enda Kenny as leader.

I have confidence in Enda. Enda did a tremendous job in government and I, as minister for jobs, know the effort he put in to help this economy rebuild its economic base and we now have a solid economic foundation.

Our political editor Hugh O’Connell has this report on what Bruton said at the RDS just now.

Final tally for 3-seater Galway East shows independent Seán Canney is likely to top the poll with 19% of the vote, with Ciaran Cannon (FG), Anne Rabbitte (FF) and Paul Connaughton (FG) duking it out for the final two seats.

galway east Source: Ciaran Cannon

Final tally from 4-seater Dublin Mid West shows Sinn Féin’s Eoin Ó Bróin is likely to get over a quota with 22.7% of the vote, closely followed by Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald. John Curran (FF) is likely to take the third seat, with a battle between AAA-PBP and Social Democrats for the final seat.

Looks like bad news for sitting government TDS Derek Keating (FG) and Joanna Tuffy (Labour), neither of whom look to be in the running.

Not too many surprises in Wexford: Brendan Howlin appears to have survived the Labour catastrophe, while Mick Wallace (Ind) and James Browne (FF) look likely to also be elected in this 3-seater.

Unsurprisingly, #ge16 is one of the biggest trends on Twitter in Ireland right now. A total of 47,000 tweets have been sent about the election since polls closed at 10pm last night, according to Twitter.

twitter_reverb

Donegal went from two 3-seaters to one 5-seater constituency this time around - and it looks like Fianna Fáil TD Charlie McConalogue will top the poll with 19% of the vote and return to the Dáil again.

SF’s Pearse Doherty (14%), FF’s Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher (13%) and FG Minister Joe McHugh (12%) all look like they could make it, while the final seat is likely to be a battle between Independent TD Thomas Pringle (9%) and SF TD Padraig MacLochlainn (also 9%), who will benefit from running mate Pearse Doherty’s transfers.

Green party leader Eamon Ryan has told RTE he’s happy that his party appears to have doubled his vote.

We were always confident that we could come back because we think we stand for something that is important in the world.

Despite that, he says that he will step aside as leader if he doesn’t win a seat in Dublin Bay South. Ryan is right in the middle of a bunched pack in the competitive four-seater, but the Greens are usually transfer friendly so it’s a tough call.

eamon ryan Source: RTE

Stephen Donnelly, who looks likely to top the poll in Wicklow/East Carlow, isn’t too impressed with the u-turn by Fianna Fáil on the possibility of going into government with Fine Gael.

The tallies right now would suggest that a FF-FG  coalition is the only possibility for a majority - at one stage this morning, Fianna Fáil was suggesting that they could even end up with more parties than Fine Gael. The only other option right now would appear to be a ‘grand coalition’ with the majority of parties attempting to govern together.

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Our political editor Hugh O’Connell is in the RDS and says that Labour party members are finding the results tough to take.

Labour activists in the RDS are visibly shell-shocked at the outcome today with the party on course to lose seats here and all over the country. Labour now believes it will take between 7 and 10 seats nationwide, but that might be optimistic.

The party looks set to lose a number of high-profile TDs:

Among the TDs set to lose their seats are Derek Nolan in Galway West and, most surprisingly, Emmet Stagg in Kildare North who was considered safe. Communications Minister Alex White will lose his seat in Dublin-Rathdown. Super junior minister Ged Nash is in trouble in Louth but deputy leader Alan Kelly looks like he will hold on in Tipperary. Labour stalwart Willie Penrose faces a battle to hang on in Longford-Westmeath.

Early contender for quote of the day from Michael Healy-Rae about his brother Danny:

Some of the smart alecs in Dublin who may have picked on me in the past. Well, you know what? They’ll have to pick through him to get to me.

Healy Raes Source: RTE

The brothers look set to take two seats in the Kerry constituency with a staggering 40% of the vote between them. That’s what you call vote management, folks.

Absolutely no prizes for guessing who’s topping the poll in 5-seater Tipperary. Yep, Michael Lowry (Ind), who has been a TD for the area since 1987, looks set to come in first. He’s currently on 17% of the tally, ahead of fellow independents Mattie McGrath (15%) and Seámus Healy of the WUAG (11%). 

Labour’s Alan Kelly – who has been VERY quiet in this campaign since his car crash Sunday Independent interview early on – looks to be safe. He’s currently in 4th place on 11%. 

We’re expecting a count in Dublin North West shortly, but Sinn Féin’s Dessie Ellis is already celebrating there.

27/2/2016. General Election 2016 - Counting of Vot Source: RollingNews.ie

The final tally there shows Róisín Shortall of the Social Democrats will top the poll with an estimated 27.9% of the vote, with Ellis in second on 23.7%. The third seat will be a battle between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, and Sinn Féin.  Sitting Labour TD John Lyons looks to be out of the running on 6.8% of the tally.

My colleague Paul Hosford is in the Dublin West count centre, where Leo Varadkar has topped the poll but just 800 votes separate the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th-place candidates in the four-seater. Ouch.

Dublin West Source: Paul Hosford

Paul says:

The feeling in Dublin West is that the last seat will be between Joan Burton and Sinn Féin’s Paul Donnelly. Transfers looking stronger for Ruth Coppinger [Socialist Party] to take the third seat.

Transfers are going to be crucial in this one. Odds on this coming down to a recount?

Speaking on RTE, former Progressive Democrats TD Michael McDowell said the extraordinary thing now is that the two civil war parties are in a position where they don’t have a majority between them for the first time.

These two parties are not divided by ideology, they are divided by tradition and loyalties. They seem to have the only likely combination to create a government.

He said it may take a lot of “soul searching for this to sink in” but the electorate appears to have given them the responsibility to form a government.

michael McDowell Source: RTE

Is this election a sign that Ireland is opting more for parish-pump politics? Columnist Aaron McKenna writes that it’s a distinct possibility.

This election has been characterised by a disenfranchised electorate. The whole campaign has seen voters repeating a mantra: You’re all the same. Nothing is changing. Politics is corrupt.


Outgoing Labour TD and former party leader Pat Rabbitte had harsh words for former party member and current Social Democat Roisín Shortall, criticising her for a lack of loyalty to the party.

“There has always been a strand in the Labour party who don’t want to take responsibility,” he said of her.

roisin Source: RTE

Speaking about his comments, Shortall said:

It’s very sad for the party. I felt I had no choice but to resign from the party when I did… it [the Labour Party] was a proud party. It’s very sad it has come to this.

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Hugh O’Connell in the RDS reports that Renua’s bad result means the party may end up without any TDs at all. All of the party’s candidates – including party leader Lucinda Creighton – are currently struggling.

Renua sources believe it’s possible the party will not come back with any seats. The party concedes it’s going to be very hard for leader, Lucinda Creighton to keep her seat in the Dublin Bay South. Deputy leader Billy Timmins represents Renua’s best hope in Wicklow.

They believe senatorPaul Bradford, Creighton’s husband, is in the mix in Cork East, but the likes of councillor John Leahy in Offaly, who was being tipped for a seat, will not have enough.

Final tally from 4-seater Cork North Central shows Billy Kelleher (FF) and Jonathan O’Brien (SF) look set to return to the Dáil on 28% and 12% respectively – but Labour Minister Kathleen Lynch is in real trouble here, with just 7% of the vote. 

Mick Barry (AAA-PBP) looks set to take a seat for the first time, with Fine Gael’s Dara Murphy likely to take the fourth seat.

#corknc final tallies in detail. And now, extended political posturing, arguing and shitposting.

A photo posted by Mike McGrath-Bryan (@mike_mcgb) on

First count is in and it’s Galway East, where Independent Sean Canney has topped the poll. Here’s how the first count looks in our election centre.

Galway Result 1

No candidate has reached the quota so it moves to a second count.

It’s between Dublin Bay North and Dublin Bay South for the constituency of death this time around.

Independent senator Averil Power tweeted this picture of the final tally for DBN, noting: “It’s going to be a very long count”.

Richard Bruton (FG) and Sean Haughey (FF) would appear to be safe in the 5-seater, but the final three seats will be a battle between Finian McGrath (Ind), Labour minister Áodhán Ó Riordáin, Tommy Broughan (Ind), Denise Mitchell (SF) and Averil Power herself. Yet again, it will all come down to transfers.

DBN Source: @averilpower

Here’s the result from Dublin Rathdown after the first count from our election centre:

rathdown

Shane Ross has, predictably, topped the poll and is just shy of the quota. Labour TD Alex White looks to be in real trouble, while Alan Shatter is polling behind FG running mate Josepha Madigan. 

In Tipperary, Mattie McGrath (Ind), who looks set to come in second behind Michael Lowry, says  people voted against the government because of their “liberal agenda [which] doesn’t put food on the table”.

Fine Gael and Labour got the finest mandate any government in this country has ever gotten, and they threw it back in people’s faces, they forgot about families and children.
Their liberal agenda doesn’t put food on the table, they must now listen to the people, that’s sacrosanct and all-powerful.

Back to Renua again: Paul Bradford has conceded, saying that he’s realistic and can’t take a seat. He says the party won’t disappear if they don’t get any seats, however:

If we end up with no seats, we’ll end up where the Greens were five years ago, and they look set today to take a few seats.

Politics is for the long haul. It’s not a short-term project. If you believe in something, you must plough ahead. You have to climb mountains.

From my colleague Cianan Brennan:

Sligo Leitrim looks like being very, very tight, with four candidates between 10% and 11% after 78% of boxes tallied.

Marc MacSharry (FF) is topping the poll at 15%, but is followed by Gerry Reynolds of Fine Gael in second place on 11%, closely followed by FG’s Tony McLoughlin, Sinn Fein’s Martin Kenny and Eamonn Scanlon of Fianna Fáil all on 10%.

Back to Dublin West again, where the first count is due soon. My colleague Paul Hosford says:

I have never seen anything as scattered as the transfers. People are giving 2s to everyone.

Independent candidate David McGuinness, who looks likely to come 6th in the 4-seater, says a lot of Fine Gael voters decided in the last two weeks that they wanted Joan Burton to remain in the Dáil, and that she is likely to take the fourth seat.

Second contender for quote of the day from trade unionist Brendan Ogle, who isn’t a fan of Labour deputy leader Alan Kelly: 

Labour found a way to take one of the most arrogant politicians in the history of the state in Phil Hogan and somehow ended up out-arroganting him by bringing in Alan Kelly.

Looking good to take a seat in Dublin Bay North, Seán Haughey is one of Fianna Fáil’s old guard. What does he think about a potential FG/FF coalition?

Sean Haughey Source: RTE

Predictably, he’s rather non-committal but certainly doesn’t rule it out, saying that Fianna Fáil  “will play our role, whatever that will be”.

“We have to listen to what the electorate have said to us.”

And we have our first elected TD for the 32nd Dáil. Shane Ross has just exceeded the quota in Dublin Rathdown and has been declared elected.

dublin rathdown elected

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Fine Gael TD Charlie Flanagan says today’s results are “a matter of grave disappointment”.

Inquiry into mother and baby homes Source: PA WIRE

He, like other party colleagues who have spoken today, would not be drawn to comment on the party’s campaign slogan, which appears to have grated on voters. He told Newstalk he was not “going into a post-mortem now”.

However, he said he had “every confidence” in his party leader Enda Kenny, though he hasn’t spoken to him yet today.

I saw firsthand the determination he gave the job over the last five years.

The first count in Mayo is expected around 5-6pm. Taoiseach Enda Kenny, FG running mate Michael Ring and FF’s Dara Calleary all look safe – but the fourth seat will be a fight between Michelle Mulherin, Lisa Chambers and Rose Conway Walsh.

Here’s the view from the count centre right now:

We’ve just had three more results within a matter of seconds of each other.

Fianna Fáil TD Seán Fleming in Laois has just been deemed elected.

And in Dublin Mid-West both Eoin Ó Broin of Sinn Féin and Fine Gael’s Frances Fitzgerald have been elected. Both of them exceeded the quota on the first count, with Ó Bróin edging out Justice Minister Fitzgerald for first place.

Lucinda Creighton was just booed as she entered the RDS, according to our political editor Hugh O’Connell.

Creighton says that she doesn’t know if she’ll keep her seat. Based on the current tallies, it looks like she may just lose out in Dublin Bay South. 

Mary Lou is putting the brakes on any talk of a grand coalition that has a big majority.

Mary Lou

The SF TD who has topped the poll in Dublin Central told RTE:

The last five years where Fine Gael and Labour had a record mandate, the largest overall majority in the history of the State – that was very unhelpful.

I think it made them arrogant, they were literally unassailable, they could literally do what they wished and they literally did.

Former Labour leader Eamon Gilmore has been speaking about the party’s disastrous result, with current predictions showing it will end up with somewhere between 7 and 10 seats nationwide, down from 37 in 2011.

Gilmore

Gilmore told RTE that the party’s problems began five years ago:

I think it started in 2011 when Fine Gael and Labour formed a government together and had a very difficult job to do, to take the country out of the bailout.

He said that in 2011, Labour “knew we were taking a political risk”. He said the party “had to do a lot of unpopular things” and that today is the electoral consequence of that.

What’s going to happen with the Dáil meets on 10 March to elect a Taoiseach?

phil

Micheál Martin has just told Brian Dobson that in the ‘first instance’ Fianna Fáil will go back to the Dáil looking for the support of the ‘large group of elected TDs’ who are not in Fine Gael or Sinn Féin.

When asked if that ‘first instance’ didn’t work out, he said that there is now a historic opportunity to change how things are done in the Dáíl.  He added that he was “up for” including all Dáil deputies in any plan that is focussed on the issues and on policy, not on numbers.

MM also said that he thinks FF will end up doing a lot better than commentators predicted and that a lot will go down the last seats.

Lucinda Creighton has told RTE that she has paid a certain price for standing up for what she believed in.

You’re giving yourself a disadvantage when you do something like that [leaving a party] but I didn’t want to be an independent, I wanted to give the country an alternative and with Renua we’ve done that.
It’s not a bad day, it could be better maybe. Billy (Timmins) will hold his seat in Wicklow, and I’m hopeful I’ll hold on but I don’t think we’ll know until tomorrow.  We’re building for the future.”

When asked about Soc Dems doing so well: “It’s easy to not set out a very clear stall, I wish them well.”

Shane Ross tells my colleague Daragh Brophy that it was a welcome surprise to be the first TD elected in the country:

Source: Daragh Brophy/YouTube

Dublin Central has just announced its first count and, as expected, SF’s Mary Lou McDonald has topped the poll. She hasn’t been elected yet, falling just below the quota, but should be in on the second or possibly third count.

Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe is in second place and likely to keep his seat, but the third seat will be a fight between independent Christy Burke, FF’s Mary Fitzpatrick and SD’s Gary Gannon, with just 200 votes separating them.

Sitting TDs Joe Costello (Lab) and Maureen O’Sullivan (Ind) both look unlikely to be returned. 

Strong words from Willie O’Dea, who says one reason not to have a FF-FG coalition government is because it would make Sinn Féin the biggest opposition party:

“My primary concern is the interests of this country… and I don’t think it’s in the interest of this country to have Sinn Féin in opposition”.

He says foreign investors would be turned off by that prospect, and says that the onus is on everyone to figure out a government after the trauma of a general election.

My colleague Hugh O’Connell reports that Fine Gael councillor Kate O’Connell seems confident of taking a second seat for the party in Dublin Bay South where she could unseat Renua leader Lucinda Creighton – a significant scalp.

“I don’t mind whose seat it is. I just wanted one seat for myself and preferably one for [Eoghan] Murphy as well so it’s looking good,” she told reporters a short time ago.

kate o'connell Source: Hugh O'Connell

On her battle with Creighton, O’Connell added: “It was a great battle, we enjoyed every minute of it.”

There was no actual physical battle on the ground. I just met her actually as she was leaving [the RDS], it was very cordial, we had a handshake. Putting yourself up for election is a very, very tough job and Lucinda did very well in previous elections so I admire anyone who puts their name forward.

They do it big in Offaly: Barry Cowen (FF) has been elected on the first count after he topped the poll with 12,366 votes – almost double that of his nearest rival.

Controversial Fine Gael TD John Perry, who went to court to get the party to add him to the election ticket, has acknowledged that he will not be returned to the Dáil:

Mary Hanafin (FF) has said that she believes Richard Boyd-Barrett is going to beat her to the last seat in Dún Laoghaire.

The former Tánaiste who lost her seat in 2011 has all but conceded, saying that there is a big difference between not winning and losing. She praised her team for their work and said they had enjoyed the campaign. “We did our very best,” she said.

Simon Coveney thinks people “focused on the pain” when they were deciding who to vote for.  He told RTÉ:

We clearly didn’t get our message across, I think it’s important to be honest about that.

The progress that Ireland has made, which has been extraordinary progress over the last five years, wasn’t reflected in the debate over the last three weeks. And instead people focused on the pain they had to go through to actually make that progress.

Shane Cassells (FF) in Meath West has just become the sixth TD to be elected to the 32nd Dáil – and he’s pretty excited about it.

shane cassells

This was the third-time lucky for the Navan-based councillor. He ran in the 2005 by-election to fill John Bruton’s seat and again in 2011.

The gigantic ballot paper in five-seater Dublin Bay North means that it’s unlikely there’ll be a first count until at least 8pm tonight as around 74,000 votes are counted.

My colleague Hugh O’Connell in the RDS says Independent TD Finian McGrath is nervous and reckons he’s still in a dogfight for a seat. Richard Bruton (FG) and Sean Haughey (FF) are assured of seats, and Labour’s Áodhán Ó Ríordáin also looks likely, but Tommy Broughan (Ind) and Denise Mitchell (SF) are also in the mix.

Niall Collins (FF) has just been elected in Limerick.

With his re-election there has now been an uninterrupted line from the same family in that constituency since 1948 – the last 68 years.

His grandfather served from 1948-1967, his uncles Gerry and Michael served from 1967-2007, and Niall has been there for the last 9 years.

Minister for Communications Alex White has just been eliminated in Dublin Rathdown, making him the first government minister to lose his seat. That’s a blow for Labour, who would have been hoping that he would be on of their TDs who would manage to cling on.

Flag

UPDATE TIME: Here are all the big happenings of the day so far.

  • It’s been a bad day for government parties Fine Gael and Labour, with both parties looking set to lose a large number of seats.
  • 9 TDs have been elected so far: Shane Ross (Ind), Sean Fleming (FF), Eoin O Broin (SF), Frances Fitzgerald (FG), Barry Cowen (FF), Shane Cassells (FF), Niall Collins (FF), Mary Butler (FF) and Róisin Shortall (SD), plus Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett.
  • Renua look like they may not win any seats at all.
  • The Social Democrats look set to top the poll in three constituencies.
  • Labour leader Joan Burton looks likely to keep her seat in Dublin West.
  • Both Michael and Danny Healy-Rae look set to be elected in Kerry with almost 50% of the vote altogether.
  • Minister for Communications Alex White has become the first minister to lose his seat.
  • There has been no sign of either the Taoiseach or the Tánaiste all day.
  • Sinn Féin says it won’t vote for either a FG or FF Taoiseach .
  • Micheál Martin says Fianna Fáil will not be looking to go into coalition with Fine Gael when the Dáil resumes on 10 March.

“Fianna Fáil is back!” – so says Jack Chambers, Fianna Fáil candidate in Dublin West who looks likely to be elected later this evening.

What do you make of that? Micheál Martin’s campaign was based on looking to the future rather than focusing on the party’s past mistakes – but has the country forgiven Fianna Fáil for what happened in the run-up to 2011? Let us know in the comments.

Barry Cowen says that Fine Gael and Labour “badly misread the people on the economy”.

Speaking to RTE radio, Cowen, who topped the poll in Offaly, says that he isn’t convinced FF and FG could go into government together.

I believe there are great differences between ourselves and FG, we campaigned on that basis.

I don’t believe FF and FG are compatible. They haven’t been compatible for some time.

In Dublin West, Leo Varadkar topped the poll but fell just short of the quota with 8,247 votes. He should be elected in the next count.

leo varadkar centre Source: RollingNews.ie

Róisin Shortall has just been elected in Dublin North West, where Dessie Ellis of Sinn Féin will take the second seat. Noel Rock (FG) and Paul McAuliffe (FF) are neck and neck for the third seat at approximately 4,600 votes each.

roisin shortall Source: RollingNews.ie

Roisin Shortall has now won all six elections since her first attempt in 1992, and with 24 years in the Dáil, will be the woman with the longest uninterrupted tenure in the next Dáil. Assuming she stays in office for another 9 months, she will surpass Mary Coughlan as the woman with the longest continuous period in office in Dáil history

Five is the magic number: Here’s a quick video showing the first five candidates elected today.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Catherine Murphy (SD) has been elected in Kildare North and Thomas Byrne  (FF)  has been elected in Meath East.

The results are starting to fly in now. Expect a huge amount of them in the next two hours.

Likely poll-topper Denis Naughten has arrived at the Roscommon-Galway count centre, where the first count is imminent.

Denis Naughten Source: James Fogarty

Frequent poll-topper Willie O’Dea (FF) has been elected on the first count in Limerick City. No surprises there. He has been a TD continuously since 1982, ranking him in the top 5 of the longest-serving TDs in the Dáil.

Catherine Murphy topped the poll in Kildare North – but she fought a tough battle to get here.

She first ran for the Dáil in 1989 and had to wait 16 years for her first win. She was finally elected in 2011 and was widely regarded as one of the Dáil’s strongest parliamentarians for her work on a wide range of issues, including the Siteserv controversy.

Billy Kelleher (FF) has been elected in Cork North Central, with almost twice the number of votes of his nearest rival.

cork north central

Ok folks, we’re going to wrap up this liveblog now and start a shiny new one to focus on the results as they come in over the evening. Here’s the new liveblog. Stick with us as we go into the night with what has been one of the most dramatic election counts of recent years.

In the meantime, you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat for all the latest news.

This is going to be a long night.

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