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Dublin: 14°C Friday 24 September 2021

Counting set to get underway in Dublin Bay South by-election

Counting is set to get under way at 9am.

Image: Leah Farrell

THE COUNT IN the Dublin Bay South by-election is ready to get under way this morning.

Polling in the contest to replace Fine Gael TD and former minister Eoghan Murphy closed an 10.30pm last night, with counting ready to get under way at the RDS at 9am this morning.

The frontrunners – Labour’s Ivana Bacik, Fine Gael’s James Geoghegan and Sinn Fein’s Lynn Boylan – could face an anxious wait for the outcome, with the possibility that tallying will continue into the weekend.

Turnout in the contest picked up yesterday evening after a relatively slow start.

By around 9pm, the average voter turnout had reached 40%, compared to 34% at 8pm and 24% in the early evening, according to figures from RTÉ.

That is on par with the last by-elections in 2019, when four contests saw turnout of between 25 and 35%.

But it remains well below the 2020 general election, when turnout was 62.9% nationally, and 52% in Dublin Bay South.

This is Ireland’s first electoral contest since the pandemic began, but it remains to be seen if that impacted voter turnout.

A series of safety arrangements were put in place, to ensure the by-election was held in accordance with Covid-19 public health advice.

Hand sanitiser was available at all polling stations, while voters were asked to wear masks and observe social distancing rules when inside.

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Polling hours were extended by 30 minutes to assist Covid-19 arrangements, closing at 10.30pm instead of the traditional 10pm.

Other candidates include Deirdre Conroy of Fianna Fáil, and Councillor Claire Byrne running for the Green Party.

The Social Democrats have chosen Sarah Durcan, while the People Before Profit candidate is Brigid Purcell.

The current TDs in the constituency are Fianna Fáil’s Jim O’Callaghan, Sinn Féin’s Chris Andrews and Green party leader Eamon Ryan.

The other candidates in Dublin Bay South are Justin Barrett (National Party), Jacqui Gilbourne (Renua), Mairead Toibin (Aontu) and independents Dolores Cahill, Peter Dooley, Mannix Flynn, John Keigher and Colm O’Keeffe.

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