Updated 6.52 pm
IT’S SAFE TO say to people are starting to flag at the Dublin Bay North recount in the RDS.
And that’s just party supporters who each have skin in this game, not forgetting the counters whose fingers are at the whim of candidates and the returning officer.
Those staff are sat along three pens of desks as ballot papers are, pile by pile, placed on front of them once again.
The recount, granted last night at the request of Independent Senator Averil Power, is moving slowly through each of the candidates’ ballots.
When the recount was granted last night, Power trailed Independent Tommy Broughan by 67 votes and People Before Profit Councillor John Lyons by 92 votes. That result would see Power eliminated.
Today, after a recount of Broughan, Lyons and Power’s votes, that gap closed to 49 votes.
In total, 74,000 votes were cast in the constituency, meaning what is 49 votes here would be a comparatively smaller number in a smaller constituency.
The votes of Sean Haughey, Finian McGrath and Aodhan O Riordain are also being counted and it will ultimately be down to Power to decide if and when the process should stop.
Should she be eliminated ahead of Broughan as seems likely, tallies indicate her transfers would help the former Labour man. It’s even been predicted by some among his former party that it would ultimately lead to him hanging onto his seat.
Labour’s actual candidate O Riordain probably won’t be finding out today if he’s kept his seat, but he’s expected to do so.
Speaking to TheJournal.ie this morning, Broughan outlined how the process worked:
They’re looking at my papers now and then they’re going to do John Lyons and then they’re going to do Averil, because obviously there are three candidates close together.
“Then they’re going to do everybody else.
First they look through all the number ones… any queries on them? Put a flag on them. Then we go to second preference, and obviously third preference and so on as you go back through the counts.
It’s all very transparent with each of the votes that are checked by the counters scrutinised by party watchers who can politely ask for a second look at a ballot if they wish.
Each of the potential errors can then be looked at by representatives of each of the candidates, and an adjudication made.
The tortuous process has seen supplies ferried in by the parties to their activists who are trying to stay motivated.
No-one was making estimates of when the process would be concluded, but ‘in days’ probably wouldn’t be far wide of the mark.
Fine Gael’s Richard Bruton was the only person deemed elected before the recount was called.
Despite the apparent monotony of the votes being recounted, and the desire to get things finished, there are few feelings of frustration.
It’s broadly accepted in the quietening Simmonscourt venue that it’s just part of the democratic process and that as sure are there are elections there will be recounts.
And besides, what’s three or four days when you’ve five years in parliament to think of?
- With reporting by Ronan Duffy