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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 3 June, 2020
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THE BOXES ARE open and we’ll have updates all day. 

Here’s the latest on the count: 

It’s Órla Ryan here, by the way. Thanks for joining us, we’ll keep you up to date with all the latest election news today.

ipsos Source: Ipsos MRBI

According to the exit poll, the rest of the parties’ support is as follows:

  • Independents: 11%
  • Green Party :8%
  • Labour Party :5%
  • Social Democrats: 3%
  • Solidarity/People-Before-Profit: 3%
  • Aontú: 2%
  • Others: 2%

Ipsos MRBI interviewed 5,376 people at 259 count centres across Ireland immediately after they voted.

The exit poll doesn’t predict the turnout, however, which can have a significant effect on the final vote – as was the case in the European elections.

Turnout in this general election already appears to be high – with many local media organisations reporting a turnout between 50-60% in the final few hours.

Sinn Féin is the most popular party in every age group up to 65, according to the exit poll.

When people were asked which topic was most important to them when deciding how to vote yesterday, most said health, housing/homelessness and the pension age.

Just 1% of people said Brexit – an area Fine Gael focused on during its campaign.

issues Source: Ipsos/MRBI

Here’s how the parties’ support varied over the course of the campaign, according to Ipsos MRBI opinion polls: 

ipsos campaig Source: Ipsos MRBI

The poll indicates the country now has three, not two, main parties after decades of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael dominating the Irish political landscape.

The results also highlight how much support for Sinn Féin has grown in recent years.

However, the party only ran 42 candidates in the general election and 80 seats are needed to form a government.

Pearse Doherty, Sinn Féin’s finance spokesperson, is expected to be reelected in Donegal.

Last night he shared this photo of him and party colleague Matt Carthy celebrating Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin being elected to Dáil Éireann in 1997, stating: “It’s been an extraordinary journey since.”

 

There has been much talk about turnout and whether or not holding the vote on a Saturday would affect it.

But many factors can impact turnout. RTÉ News reported low turnout earlier in the day at Malin Head polling station was put down to the fact there was a dinner dance in the area on Friday night.

That’s fair enough really.

battles

To get you all fired up ahead of the count, here is a look at some of the biggest battlegrounds to keep an eye on as results start to come in.

Some big names, including ministers, are in danger of losing their seats, as Rónán Duffy, Céimin Burke and Nicky Ryan explain.

Heather Humphreys just told Morning Ireland she’s “very happy that Leo Varadkar will continue to lead the Fine Gael party”. 

The Taoiseach performed “very well” in the TV debates, the Cavan-Monaghan FG candidate and jobs minister said.

When people who took part in an exit poll were asked which topic was most important to them when deciding how to vote yesterday, most said health and housing/homelessness.

Just 1% of people said Brexit – an area Fine Gael focused on during its campaign.

Asked if she thought it was a mistake by party strategists to focus on Brexit, Humphreys said: “No, I don’t because at the end of the day we have told people the facts and we have told them the truth.

“We have had a difficult campaign because after nine years of government people want to see something different.”

Our News Editor Daragh Brophy has been taking a look at what the likely results will mean for government formation talks. 

Short answer: It means they’re going to be difficult. 

Slightly longer answer: It means they’re going to be very, very difficult indeed and we could end up having another election. 

Read the piece here

ex2

We’re off. 

Scenes like this are being replicated across the country. 

 

c

THE BOXES ARE open and we’ll have updates all day. 

Here’s the latest on the count: 

Given the surge in support for Sinn Féin, some people believe the party’s decision to not run more than 42 candidates was a missed opportunity.

When asked on Newstalk Breakfast if the party was disappointed about the situation, Eoin Ó Broin, Sinn Féin’s housing spokesperson and Dublin Mid-West candidate, said: “I think anybody who uses the word Sinn Féin and disappointed this morning isn’t reading what I’m reading.

“There was a huge appetite for change on the doors throughout the last two or three weeks of the campaign and a significant number of voters, young people but also people of other ages, who are deeply dissatisfied with the failures of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael over the last four years, with issues like health, housing childcare and transport.”

Ó Broin said if the exit poll results – which placed Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin all on 22% – are borne out in the actual results, this will show that people are “mobilised for change” and want to see “an end to the two-party system”.

“We’re not going to know what the final shakedown of seats is until we see the counts later on today. And certainly from our point of view we fought a very positive campaign, a very pro-change policy campaign, and we’re quite satisfied with the results,” Ó Broin said.

An update on the RDS puddle. 

This was the scene close to the Dublin Bay South boxes earlier… 

Our reporter Cónal Thomas says it’s now been cleaned up.

And, don’t worry, it’s not the encroaching Dodder… It was just a small hole in the roof.

Cónal Thomas is down at the RDS and will have all the latest updates as counting begins.

Some very early tallies are in and Sinn Féin will be happy so far.

Independent candidate Peter Casey ran in both Donegal and Dublin West, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s constituency, and is looking for some help getting tallies from Dublin.

He must be basing himself in Donegal for the count.

The latest from Dublin Bay South: 

Our Editor Sinéad O’Carroll is at RTÉ HQ and has sent on the following information from from the Ipsos MRBI exit poll.

Six in 10 people who voted for Sinn Féin said party was more important than candidate, similar to those who voted for the Green Party (65%) and the Labour Party (63%), but higher than Fine Gael (44%) and Fianna Fáil (40%).

candidate or party Source: Ipsos MRBI

cand or p 2 Source: Ipsos MRBI

party leader Source: Ipsos MRBI

leader2 Source: Ipsos MRBI

Some more early tallies:

Unsurprisingly, the exit poll shows that Sinn Féin voters are most in favour of referendums on Irish unity in the next five years, followed closely by Solidarity-People Before Profit (80%) and Aontú (80%) – the latter of course founded by former SF TD Peadar Tóibín.

unity2 Source: Ipsos MRBI

unity1 Source: Ipsos MRBI

The Healy-Rae brothers are looking to retain their seats in Kerry.

Danny Healy-Rae polling well at Gneeveguilla NS in Co Kerry, in an area where supporters were asked to give their number one to him and number two to Michael Healy-Rae.

The political dynasty splits the constituency up into areas where people give Danny #1 and Michael #2, and vice versa – a tactic used to great effect in 2016.

download Source: Facebook

This must have been such a beautiful moment:

If you’re as into wolves as the above (definitely real) man, have a listen to this:


Source: Ireland 2029/SoundCloud

If you spot any interesting election news or want to share photos from count centres around the country, email orla@thejournal.ie or tweet @orlaryan. 

Sinn Féin’s director of elections Pearse Doherty has said his party will sit down with all parties and independents to discuss forming a government.

“The view from Sinn Féin is clearly that the best outcome of this election, is a government without Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael and the worst outcome would be where we have been, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil,” he said.

“There are smaller parties, there are independents that we can see the support that they will get, there’s no doubt that they will have a number of TDs elected.

“So we will be discussing with all parties and independents about whether we can form a government, that is based on fairness, that is based on the type of programme that we put forward and that’s what we promised the people before the election, that is what we will deliver after the election.”

Doherty refused to be drawn on how many seats Sinn Féin would win, but said he was proud of his party’s campaign.

“We have excellent candidates, and I haven’t even heard what the reaction here in Donegal is at this stage,” he told PA. 

“In the next number of hours will have a better indication in relation to where Sinn Féin stands in terms of seats and look some of these are going to come down, as we see in every election, some of them come down to the last twists and turns in terms of elimination, but that’s the way the polls go.

“I am very proud of all the 42 candidates who stood for us and thousands of people who campaigned for us.

“The other thing is Mary Lou has run a fantastic campaign, and she’s somebody who gets where ordinary people are, often I think that’s the difference from other political parties.”

Things are not looking great for Transport Minister Shane Ross, but it’s still early days…

image-1-162-310x415 Locations of power outages. Source: ESB/Powercheck

Speaking of Ciara, thousands of properties are without power after stormy conditions and gusts of up to 130km/h hit the country overnight.

A nationwide Status Orange alert kicked in at 5am as Met Éireann warned of extremely windy and wet weather.

Sinn Féin’s Paul Donnelly is looking as though he will come out on top in Dublin West, ahead of outgoing Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Things are also looking good for Sinn Féin in Cork South Central, with Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire currently out-polling Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and outgoing Tánasite Simon Coveney.

Google Trends has compiled stats on the most searched-for party and party leader in Ireland in the last week – Sinn Féin and Mary Lou McDonald came out on top.

Sinn Féin was by far the party people engaged with most on social media over the course of the campaign, according to data from CrowdTangle.

pasted image 0 (1)

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pasted image 0 (2)

Could the Sinn Féin surge be even bigger than predicted? 

As you may recall, Come Out Ye Black And Tans topped the Irish and UK iTunes charts in the wake of controversy over the planned commemorations event for the Royal Irish Constabulary and Dublin Metropolitan Police (which was later cancelled amid much criticism).

If you want a breakdown of the controversy, we covered it in a previous episode of The Explainer.


Source: The Explainer/SoundCloud

As expected, Mary Lou McDonald is set to top the poll in Dublin Central, followed by finance minister Paschal Donohoe.

The latest from the Dublin Bay South battleground:

Our News Editor Daragh Brophy has been taking a look at the situation in Clare, where there’s an interesting picture of FF’s support emerging in the tallies: 

The boxes have  been opened around the country, and while we’re still a long way off from having a candidate deemed elected, a number of interesting talking points have emerged from the tallies so far. 

In the constituency of Clare, for instance, the Fianna Fáil mayor who first put the government’s planned commemoration of the RIC on the agenda appears to be in the lead – slightly ahead even of his higher profile party colleague Timmy Dooley, a long-serving front-bench spokesperson until last year’s Votegate controversy

Cathal Crowe, the mayor of Clare, was the first politician to say he would boycott the planned commemoration back in early January. 

Others soon followed suit, and the controversy over the planned event dominated the news agenda for a number of days the week before the election was called. 

Two days later the planned commemoration for those who served in the RIC and the Dublin Metropolitan Police was cancelled by Fine Gael justice minister Charlie Flanagan. 

Flanagan said that he was committed to “proceeding with an alternative commemoration in the months ahead” after the backlash to the event caught the government unawares. 

According to a canvass piece from the Irish Times earlier this week, Crowe’s stance on the issue was going down well with local voters. 

Some updates from Dublin West and Cork South Central, where Sinn Féin candidates are currently out-polling Leo Varadkar, Micheál Martin and Simon Coveney.

Here are some shots of the action at the RDS count centre in Dublin:

general-election-ireland-2020 Counting has begun all over the country, including at the RDS in Dublin. Source: Niall Carson/PA Wire/PA Images

general-election-ireland-2020 A #1 vote for Sinn Féinleader Mary Lou McDonald. Source: Niall Carson/PA Wire/PA Images

general-election-ireland-2020 Counting has begun all over the country, including at the RDS in Dublin. Source: Niall Carson/PA Wire/PA Images

I’m going to hand over the liveblog to my colleague Hayley Halpin for now, thanks for staying with us so far.

Hello! Hayley Halpin here, I’ll be keeping you up to date with all the latest count day news for the next while. 

Update on Dublin West: 

The final tallies indicate Sinn Féin’s Paul Donnelly is set to take the first seat in Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s constituency – Dublin West. 

The final tally shows Donnelly at 28% while Varadkar is at 20%.

In Waterford, the Final tally has David Cullinane from Sinn Féin on 38 of first preferences. 

In non-election news, Met Éireann has just issued a Status Yellow snow and ice nationwide. 

It will kick in at midnight tonight and will remain valid until midnight tomorrow. 

The forecaster has also updated its wind warning for Ireland. A Status Yellow wind warning is now in place nationwide and will remain in place until midday tomorrow. 

The first tallies from Cork South Central show Sinn Féin’s Donnchadh O Laoghaire topping the poll on 24.8%.

Second is Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin and third is Simon Coveney from Fine Gael, who is only marginally in front of Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath by less than 1%.

The first count result is expected at around 3.30pm.

Full tally is in for Dublin Rathdown.

Transport Minister Shane Ross has brought in just 8.3%. 

100% of boxes have been tallied in Dublin Bay South. 

Green Party’s Eamon Ryan, Fine Gael’s Eoghan Murphy and Sinn Féin’s Chris Andrews look set to take seats. 

As things currently stand, it looks like Fianna Fáil’s Jim O’Callaghan could nab the final seat. 

Our reporter Cónal Thomas is down at the RDS this afternoon: 

Our reporter Cónal Thomas is down at the RDS this afternoon. 

From leaky roofs, to choruses of ‘Black and Tans’, he’s provided an analysis of how the morning at the count centre has panned out. 

It’s looking good for independent Christy Burke in Dublin Central, benefitting heavily from Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald’s surplus.

In the past hour, Sinn Féin’s Aengus O Snodaigh, who is expected to top the poll in Dublin South Central, arrived at the RDS to cheering crowds.

Asked why he thought Sinn Féin is doing so well in the General Election, he said:

“Genuine hard work, and we also listen to the people and we’ve come up with solutions, and the solutions were put before the people and they’ve spoken right across the country.

That can be seen by the number of new Sinn Féin TDs, as well as the existing ones, who are going to be elected and we will set out that programme in the future government.”

general-election-ireland-2020 Sinn Féin's Aengus O Snodaigh arrives as ballot papers are counted at the RDS in Dublin Source: Niall Carson via PA Images

“It’s quite a historic election I think, there’s a seismic shift,” Social Democrat co-leader Catherine Murphy tells RTÉ. 

“We felt on the doors that people were saying Sinn Féin as opposed to the candidate, it was very much a brand, so you knew that there was a wind in their sails at that stage and that’s how it’s transpiring.” 

She added that she’s “delighted” with the people who came out to vote for the Social Democrats. 

Sinn Féin’s Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has said he was surprised by the early tally indications that he has topped the poll in Cork South Central ahead of Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin and Tanaiste Simon Coveney.

“Yes I was surprised, that is the truthful answer, we weren’t expecting a vote like this,” he tells Press Association. 

“It’s a very competitive constituency, there are some very very big political names in it, and I think it is a significant statement in Cork obviously but across the board that we have managed to register this kind of vote in a constituency that has the Tanaiste, the leader of Fianna Fail and the Fianna Fail finance spokesperson. It was never going to be easy but we have got a massive vote here it looks like.”

Asked if the party regrets not running a second candidate in the constituency, Ó Laoghaire responded: “You have to make decisions on the basis of evidence and there was no evidence to support us running a second candidate … we could not possibly have expected that there would be scope to run a second candidate on the basis of previous elections.”

That’s all from myself, Hayley Halpin, for now. 

My colleague Órla Ryan will be taking you through the next few hours. 

Thanks Hayley.

We’ve another update from Cónal Thomas who has spoken to Christy Burke – the independent councillor is still in the running to win a seat in Dublin Central.

It’s the 10th time he has tried to win a Dáil seat.

Our reporter Conor McCrave is at the count centre in Louth and there is more good news for Sinn Féin in Gerry Adams’ former constituency.

It is a difficult day for some people in Fine Gael, government chief whip Seán Kyne is in danger of losing his seat in Galway West-Mayo South.

And Noel Rock also looks set to lose his seat in Dublin North-West.

Things are currently not looking as good as hoped for the Greens:

leo-varadkar-758a5806 File photo of Leo Varadkar Source: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

With first full tallies coming through from many constituencies, it looks as if Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin will not top the polls in their respective constituencies, with both being overtaken by Sinn Féin candidates.

As Assistant News Editor Laura Byrne writes: “In Dublin, Sinn Féin’s Paul Donnelly is predicted to top the poll in Dublin West, knocking Varadkar into second place, with the first of the full tallies reported there.

“Varadkar had topped the poll there in 2016, ahead of Fianna Fáil’s Jack Chambers.

“Today’s tally figures show a very different picture, with Donnelly taking a whopping 28% of votes tallied, with the Taoiseach well behind him on 20%.

“Donnelly, a Sinn Féin councillor, failed to take seats in 2011 and 2016, taking 6.11% and 14.38%, respectively.

“If these figures bear out, he would be well over the quota of 8,475, taking 11,838 votes, while Varadkar would be just shy of the required number, taking 8,321 votes.

“Former Tánaiste Joan Burton would lose her seat, trailing with just 4% of the votes under this tally.

“Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin is also suffering a similar fate in Cork South Central, where Sinn Féin’s Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire is expected to top the poll, taking 24.8% of votes tallied.”

Keelin Shanley’s RTÉ colleagues have been paying tribute to her since her untimely death at the age of 51 yesterday.

Jon Williams, managing director at RTÉ News, posted the below photo of her desk on Twitter.

Shanley’s colleagues have also paid tribute to her at various points during their TV and radio coverage of the election count, an event she would typically be involved in herself.

“If Keelin was still with us she’d be here today and she’d be in the thick of it and she’d be loving every last minute of it,” Rachael English said. She described Shenley as intelligent, honest, and a “wonderful, warm, funny colleague”.

Our Noteworthy colleague Maria Delaney has the final tallies from Laois-Offaly and Carlow-Kilkenny.

The tally isn’t complete yet but Sinn Féin’s John Brady is topping the poll so far in Wicklow, followed by Fine Gael’s Simon Harris.

It’s not looking great for Fianna Fáil in the constituency – both Stephen Donnelly and Pat Casey are currently polling lower than Jennifer Whitmore of the Social Democrats (the party Donnelly left to join Fianna Fáil).

My colleague Michelle Hennessy has been taking a look at some final tallies. They indicate the following results for Sinn Féin candidates:

  • Dublin South Central – Aengus Ó Snodaigh: 38%
  • Dublin Central – Mary Lou McDonald: 36%
  • Limerick County – Séighin Ó Ceallaigh: 15%
  • Dublin Rathdown – Sorcha Nic Cormaic: 11.1%
  • Mayo – Rose Conway-Walsh: 23%
  • Dublin South West – Sean Crowe: 29.6%
  • Meath East – Darren O’Rourke: 24%
  • Dún Laoghaire – Shane O’Brien: 10%
  • Wexford – Johnny Mythen: 24.5%
  • Laois-Offaly – Brian Stanley: 23.8%
  • Limerick City – Maurice Quinlivan: 23%

This just in from Conor McCrave in Louth: 

Gino Kenny, People Before Profit TD for Dublin Mid-West, has all but conceded but said his activism won’t stop.

Fianna Fáil *may* be open to talking to Sinn Féin after all.

John McGuinness told RTÉ News: “We have to talk to every party and none. We have to put aside our differences with Sinn Féin and Fine Gael. We have to take the generational message.”

His FF colleague Marc MacSharry also appeared to leave the door open to talks.

Sinn Féin’s Paul Donnelly – who looks set to top the poll in Dublin West, ahead of outgoing Taoiseach Leo Varadkar – said he is thrilled after getting a “massive” vote.

“We are talking to people, they heard the message that we were trying to sell in terms of housing and health, in terms of finance and managing the economy.

“People want something different, they told me time and time again they look at Fianna Fail and Fine Gael and they see the same. They have experienced the same and they don’t believe the manifestos they were seeing.

“They were telling me that if they were so genuine in terms of what they want to implement they have had 100 years.

“Why don’t they just do it, why are they coming and telling us now that they will do it in the next government?

“They have had their chance and they are saying it is now Sinn Fein’s chance to get in there and really make a change and a difference to them.

“They looked at our policies and they said we like them, they connect with us, they will make our lives different and that is why they came out in such large numbers to vote for Sinn Fein,” he told PA. 

Here is how things are looking in Galway West, where my colleague Céimin Burke is based today.

Patricia Ryan, the Sinn Féin candidate who looks set to top the poll in Kildare South, has responded to criticism about her taking a holiday during the general election campaign

“I didn’t do anything illegal, I was only on a holiday,” she told RTÉ.

So. Many. Ballot. Papers. 

general-election-ireland-2020 A member of the count staff at the Nemo Rangers GAA Club in Cork. Source: Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images

general-election-ireland-2020 A member of the count staff at the Phibblestown Community Centre in Dublin places a ballot paper into the slot for Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Source: Liam McBurney/PA Wire/PA Images

general-election-ireland-2020 Count staff sort ballot papers for the constituency of Dublin West at the Phibblestown Community Centre. Source: Liam McBurney/PA Wire/PA Images

brexit File photo of Gerry Adams. Source: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/PA Images

Former Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said his party would prefer a government which did not include Fianna Fail or Fine Gael.

He said: “There has been a realignment of politics across this island. This is one big step-change.”

Adams stepped down as leader in 2018.

He told RTÉ he had been confident Sinn Féin would hold its seats in the Dail but had not foreseen the extent of its success as indicated by the exit poll and early count tallies.

“It is not about who gets the most votes, it is what you do with it.

“It is how you use your political strength that you have for the benefit of everyone, not just the people that voted for you.”

6499 Labour budget File photo of Joan Burton and Brendan Howlin. Source: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

It’s not been a great day for Labour so far, who got 4.6% support in the Ipsos MRBI exit poll.

Former Tánaiste Joan Burton looks set to be one of the most high profile candidates to lose a seat. 

The final tally in Dublin West shows Burton, a former leader of the party, with a first preference share of just 5%.

Current leader Brendan Howlin polled about 12% in the final tally in Wexford, behind Sinn Féin’s Johnny Mythen on 24%.

Arriving at the RDS count centre in Dublin, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said: “Obviously this election was all about change. Sinn Fáin went to the people and we convinced them in very, very large numbers that we are the alternative, that we are the vehicle for change.

“We asked people to give us a chance to deliver the platform that we have set out and that platform is about solving the housing crisis, it is about getting to grips with the crisis in our health services, it is about giving families and workers a break and breathing space so that ordinary people begin to experience this economic recovery that they have heard so much about.”

general-election-ireland-2020 Micheál Martin voting with his family in Cork yesterday. Source: Yui Mok/PA Images

Arriving at the Cork South Central count where Sinn Féin is expected to top the poll, Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin said:

“I want to first of all thank the voters of Cork South Central because it seems from the tallies that we will win two seats here, in or around 35% of the vote, which given everything which has happened today is a very very solid performance from myself and Michael McGrath.

“We will obviously listen. The people have spoken and there is no greater democrat than I, but that said we will not preempt the outcome itself because it’s very clear to us that the destination of the final seats in many constituencies cannot be called now.”

download Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald and deputy leader Michelle O'Neill speaking to reporters at Dublin's RDS count centre. Source: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has said “the two-party system in this country is now broken” and has been “dispatched to the history books”.

Sinn Féin’s Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has become the first TD elected to the 33rd Dáil, topping the poll in Cork South Central, coming in ahead of ahead of Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin.

Ó Laoghaire was elected on the first count with 14,057 votes.

As the first TD has now been elected, we’re starting a new liveblog with all the results

Thanks for staying with us for so far.

My colleague Sean Murray will keep you up to date for the evening.

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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