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Poll-toppers: the 10 candidates who secured the most first-preference votes in this year's election

Nine of the top ten TDs were Sinn Féin representatives, showing the extent of their surge across the country.

THE 33RD DÁIL is beginning to take shape, with dozens of seats already filled as counting continues today.

Some old faces will return to Leinster House, but there have been some high-profile losses in the mix as well, including a few junior and senior government figures.

For some, their place in the next Dáil was never in doubt after they polled so strongly that they nearly could have been elected twice on their first preferences alone.

Here are the country’s 10 poll-toppers, who won an exceptional 187,577 first-preference votes between them. There’s few surprises which party many of them stood for.

Denise Mitchell (Sinn Féin) – 21,344 votes

general-election-ireland-2020 Sinn Fein's Denise Mitchell celebrates her win Source: Niall Carson/PA Images

The Sinn Féin TD was the country’s biggest first-preference candidate on Saturday, crossing the line with an incredible 21,344 votes in Dublin Bay North, 9,409 votes over the quota.

However, with no running mate her massive surplus was distributed relatively evenly across the constituency with the highest transfers going to Solidarity-People Before Profit’s Michael O’Brien and Bernard Mulvany.

Mitchell was the only TD elected on the first count in the highly competitive constituency.

Pearse Doherty (Sinn Féin) – 21,044 votes

general-election-ireland-2020 Source: Niall Carson/PA Images

Sinn Féin’s finance spokesman Pearse Doherty’s 21,044 votes in Donegal may have only been the second-highest number of first preferences this time around, but would have been enough to top the list during the last election in 2016.

His massive surplus, which saw him elected with 8,135 votes to spare, looks even more impressive when you consider that his running mate Padráig Mac Lochlainn crossed the line on 13,891 votes, also on the first count.

Their story perhaps reflects just how well the party might have performed if they had run more candidates across the rest of the country.

Speaking to RTÉ Radio afternoon, Doherty said the result showed that “politics has been transformed” in Ireland.

“The people have decided that they want real change here… hopefully as the numbers continue to roll in, that will make that option more realistic.”

David Cullinane (Sinn Féin) - 20,569 votes

brexit Source: PA Archive/PA Images

The Waterford TD was unsuccessful in the constituency in 2002, 2007 and 2011, before being elected there in 2016.

This time around, Sinn Féin’s Brexit spokesman topped the poll with 20,569 votes, 9,817 above the quota, in another strong showing for the party.

Seán Crowe (Sinn Féin) – 20,077 votes

90410224 Source: RollingNews.ie

Tallaght-based TD Seán Crowe topped the poll in Dublin South West with 20,077 first preferences.

More than half of his 8,816 surplus went to Solidarity-People Before Profit’s Paul Murphy and Sandra Fay.

He described being re-elected as “a great day and feeling” saying he was ”humbled” by the support shown to him.

Johnny Mythen (Sinn Fein) – 18,717 votes

There are few candidates who encapsulate the rise of Sinn Féin during this year’s election better than Wexford’s Johnny Mythen.

He received fewer than 800 votes in last year’s local elections, when he failed to win a seat on Wexford County Council, but won 18,717 first preferences just nine months later.

In doing so, Mythen became the county’s first Sinn Féin TD in modern times.

Kathleen Funchion – 17,493 votes

5842 SF Ard Fheis Clar (1) Source: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Funchion, who has represented Carlow-Kilkenny since 2016, regained her seat with 17,494 first-preference votes in the constituency this time around.

The party’s spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs was previously elected to Kilkenny Borough Council (a precursor to Kilkenny County Council) in 2009.

She was the first Sinn Féin representative to be elected in the county since 1923.

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John Brady (Sinn Féin) – 17,297 votes

public-services-card Source: Michelle Devane/PA Images

Brady was another first-time TD the last time out, who flew home with more than 17,000 first preferences in Wicklow this year.

He became the county’s first Sinn Féin TD ever in 2016, but seems to have made enough of an impression and surfed the wave of his party’s popularity to make it into the 33rd Dáil with more than 5,000 votes above the quota.

Imelda Munster (Sinn Féin) – 17,203 votes

6797 Drogheda protest Imelda Munster (L) with Mary Lou McDonald in Drogheda Source: RollingNews.ie

Munster had big boots to fill in her run for Leinster House, following the retirement of Gerry Adams at the dissolution of the last Dáil.

But if anything showed the faith that Sinn Féin had in her re-election, it was placing party colleague Ruairí Ó Murchú on the ticket alongside her in Louth.

Both TDs were elected on the first count, but it was Munster who drew a particularly impressive share of the vote, winning her seat with more than 17,000 first preferences.

 Aengus Ó Snodaigh (Sinn Féin) – 17,015 votes

1438 Aengus O Snodaigh Source: RollingNews.ie

Ó Snodaigh is a veteran of Dublin South-Central, having served the constituency since 2002, but nothing can have prepared him for this year’s result.

The Sinn Féin TD topped the poll with just over 17,000 votes, significantly higher than his previous best of around 9,500 in 2016.

His transfers to Solidarity-People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith also told their own story, reflecting a similar path of distribution in other constituencies across the country.

That surplus helped Smith get elected in a constituency where many felt she was in trouble before the election.

Michael Healy-Rae (Independent) – 16,818

24032016-general-election-2016-pictured-is-mic Source: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

Healy-Rae received the country’s highest number of first-preference votes in 2016, but barely scraped into the top ten this time around – becoming the only non-Sinn Féin TD to do so.

He received more than 3,000 less this time around with just 16,818, but as then, a chunk of his surplus benefited his brother Danny as the family continued in its bid to never lose an election in the Kingdom. 

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