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AS IT HAPPENED: Counts, checks and courts as Monday dragged for wannabe TDs

It’s been a long weekend. Stay with us as the count continues.

It has been one of the most dramatic elections in recent history – and it’s not over yet. With 148 seats filled, stick with us today as we follow the battles for the remaining 10 seats in the 32nd Dáil. Here is where we are right now:

  • 150 out of 158 TDs have been elected so far, with FG (49 seats) slightly ahead of FF (43)
  • A full recount began in Dublin Bay North at 11am
  • Labour needs Aodhán Ó Riordáin – or possibly Willie Penrose – to be elected today (or tomorrow) to hit 7 TDs, which would give the party speaking rights in the Dáil
  • Dublin South Central could well head to the courts
  • Longford Westmeath has started its 13th vote after a long recount of the 12th
  • Wexford has finally finished after three long days of counting.

Morning! Christina Finn here with you this rainy, Monday morning as the counting continues.

If you’re just waking up, here’s an update on where we are at:


Here’s all you need to know about the recounts that are taking place today.

The bad news: we might not have a clear election result until tomorrow at the earliest. Hang in there. We’re on the home stretch.


There are a lot of question marks over Dublin Bay North this morning. It’s due to kick-off at 11am. This one should be interesting to watch, it’s a close one.


A full recount has been granted in the constituency at the request of Independent Senator Averil Power.

It’s not all about Irish politics today. Irish film did pretty well at the Oscars last night, taking home a couple of wins.

Catch up on all the winners at the 2016 Academy Award winners here.

All those posters that have been getting in your way over the last few weeks are already being pulled down this morning.

Eliminated Dun Laoghaire candidate, Fianna Fáil’s Cormac Devlin has already started the job.

Ireland’s general election isn’t just news here, you know. It’s making headlines around the world.

The New York Time, The Washington Post and The Guardian all have coverage of the weekend’s events.


Some interesting comment in relation to the much spoken about gender divide in Irish politics.

This time around, a gender quota was introduced, meaning political parties had to put forward at least 30% female candidates. So, what were the support levels?

15/11/2011 Junior Minister Willie Penrose Resigns Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

A full recount will resume later today for the Longford-Westmeath constituency and this Labour TD might still have a chance at a seat.

Willie Penrose told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland:

To be honest, I didn’t think I was in the hunt at all, and I think I conceded on Saturday night and I think it’s an outside chance that I might survive – but you never know. The vagaries of PR are certainly on display, I think somebody could do a dissertation on PR. When you look down through some of the counts it just shows you its a wonderful system.

Here’s how it stands in that constituency at the moment.


Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has told the Today with Sean O’Rourke show on RTÉ Radio One that ”there’s not a chance in hell” of seeing a government formed before Easter.

He said all possible government combinations should be written down “no matter how mad”. Ahern said he cannot see a grand coalition of Fine Fáil and Fine Gael.

So, the big question today is… which coalition option would you prefer?

  • FG/FF
  • FF/SF/Greens/SD/Inds
  • FG/Lab/Inds/SD
  • FF/Greens/Lab/SD/Inds
  • FG/SF/Lab
  • Minority government
  • Another election

Get involved and have your say in our poll.

Things went drastically wrong for Enda Kenny this weekend.

Had things gone to plan for Fine Gael, and indeed Labour, in this election, the Dáil’s longest-serving TD would lead his party into a historic second consecutive term.

However, the political landscape has shifted drastically in the last couple of days, with many asking: Can Enda Kenny survive?


The recount dubbed ‘Dublin Bay North’s Group of Death’ should be getting underway now.


In total, over 74,000 votes were cast in the constituency.’s reporter Ronan Duffy was at the count centre last night to gauge the mood.

Catch up with his report here>

28/2/2016. General Election 2016 - Counting of Vot's Ronan Duffy chatting to Dublin Bay North candidate Sean Haughey on night two of the count. Sam Boal Sam Boal

Stay with us as the Dublin Bay North count gets under way. Our reporter Daragh Brophy is at the centre and says the ballot boxes are being set out again. Here we go again.

It’s reported that national turnout in the election stands at 65.2%. So, how does that compare to some other voter turnouts over the years?

Here we take a look:

20160218_Voters_JOU-01 (1)

From our reporter, Daragh Brophy, at the RDS:

“We’re back under way in Dublin Bay North this morning, as a full recount for the constituency gets under way in Dublin 4.

“Count staff, who worked until late last night, began again at 11am, sitting along three pens of desks.

“The candidates present had a chat with the returning officer and staff before the process began. Independent Averil Power was poring over the ballots, as staff went through them once again.

“The former Fianna Fáil politician, still a sitting senator, was granted the recount following count 13 last night.

“That followed the distribution of the votes of SocDem candidate Cian O’Callaghan. His transfers saw Power trail independent Tommy Broughan by 67 votes and People Before Profit Councillor John Lyons by 92 votes. That result would have seen Power eliminated.

“Lyons and Broughan were both on site this morning as counting got under way, as was Finian McGrath, who’s also still in the running for a seat.

“Richard Bruton was the only person deemed elected before the recount was called.”

For a full run-down on what’s been happening in the constituency to date since Saturday morning click here.

Nine ministers lost their seats, with James Reilly and Alex White being the most high-profile.

While others are awaiting recounts the only one who should be on the edge of their seat is Labour’s Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, but it looks like he might just clinch it.

We’ve summed it all up for you:

Read the list in more detail here.

Tommy Broughan, one of the candidates in Dublin Bay North, has been chatting to reporters as the RDS.

Here’s what he had to say about the process:

“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.”

Broughan said each of the potential errors would then be looked at by representatives of each of the candidates, and an adjudication made.

The returning officer has said all of the other candidates’ ballots will be examined once that’s done.

“It’s a full recount,” Broughan stressed.

Who was the best in show and got the most votes this election?

Well, it’s a mix bag of independents, party leaders and long-time TDs.

The crown for Mr Popular this time around goes to Michael Healy-Rae who smashed the poll with his first-preference votes.

You can take a look at the 10 vote-toppers here.

screengrab michael UTV / Screengrab UTV / Screengrab / Screengrab

The latest just in…

The former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern took the radio waves this morning to say that he thinks we could be waiting at least another month before we see a government being formed.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are both looking to secure support from outside their parties in the vote for taoiseach once the Dáil returns on 10 March.

Ahern didn’t hold back on giving his opinion on the scenario the political parties face.

Read about what he had to say here.

count 2

Oooof! A nice bit of shade being thrown in the direction of the politicians by the Irish Times’ assistant news editor:

The polls really were not far off at all.

Sinn Féin’s Paul Donnelly may not have nabbed a seat in the 32nd Dáil, but he’s still looking out for his constituents today:

Ben, you might not be wrong. It’s going to be a long day.

Hard task indeed, but make sure you get the cable ties down as well please Chris.

Don’t forget it’s a leap year and today is the extra day you get in 2016. Some people are spending it camped in count centres…

What are the rest of you doing today?

This doesn’t really have anything to do with the election (as far as we know) but, sure here it is anyway:

It was a good election for Sinn Féin as it’s likely to come in with 23 or 24 seats. But it wasn’t a great election, as our Hugh O’Connell explains here.

If the party were a little more transfer-friendly, they could have been salivating now at the thought of more than doubling their Dáil seats in this election…

27/2/2016. General Election 2016 - Counting of Vot Sinn Fein Dublin Candidate , Aengus O Snodaigh, Mary Lou McDonald and Dessie Ellis at the RDS count.

We’ll support any government that can do something about this weather. It hasn’t stopped raining all day in Dublin and there’s snow in some parts of the country. Spring, where are you?

Can we get some tea and blankets sent to the press area in the RDS, stat?

The latest from Wexford:

Giphy Giphy

Both candidates battling to claim the last Dublin South Central seat in the Dáil reckon the battle could end up in the courts.

Brid Smith  was 35 votes ahead of Catherine Ardagh on Saturday night.

Read more from our Daragh Brophy, who is in the RDS count centre…

Fresh off receiving the lowest amount of votes in the country (22 in Galway West), Patrick Feeney has set his sights on more important issues:

The list of ministers’ public engagements for the week has just been released with Sports Minister Michael Ring down for events in Kerry, Mayo and Galway, while Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe is addressing the Irish Hotels Federation’s annual conference tomorrow.

27/2/2016. General Election 2016 - Counting of Vot Paschal Donohoe celebrating with his supporters at the RDS. Sam Boal / Sam Boal / /

Wondering why everyone has been talking about Dublin Bay North? It’s being cheerily referred to as the ‘group of death’ and here’s what’s been going on with it so far: / YouTube

Gerry Adams has arrived at the RDS. He doesn’t look too pleased with the line of questioning from reporters…


In case you’re out of the loop, high-profile republican Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy was sentenced on Friday to 18 months in prison for tax evasion estimated to be worth almost €190,000.

Murphy has instructed his legal team to pursue an appeal.

Sinéad O’Carroll taking over here from Michelle Hennessy. There’s also a shift change in the RDS where Rónán Duffy will be subbing in for Daragh Brophy.

You can follow all his movements on @TJ_politics on Twitter.

We could be in for another long evening.


We think Daragh has a touch of Stockholm Syndrome, he hasn’t quite managed to drag himself out of the RDS.

But he is having the craic, at least.

Gerry Adams visited the RDS this afternoon to support Sinn Féin’s Denise Mitchell who is in with a chance of a seat in Dublin Bay North.

After being grilled by reporters about Slab Murphy, among other things, he bonded with Mitchell’s five-week-old nephew.

29/2/2016. General Election 2016 Counting of Votes

29/2/2016. General Election 2016 Counting of Votes Leah Farrell / Leah Farrell / /

29/2/2016. General Election 2016 Counting of Votes

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin is first out of the blocks with a post-election statement of intent.

He said that his party has won a “substantial mandate for its programme”.

We secured the largest increase in first preference votes and seats of any party.  However we also acknowledge that every one of the 158 members of the new Dáil carry their own mandate which should be respected.

He called for “cross-Dáil agreement on reforms reached before discussions on the make-up of the next government advance”. The ‘core elements’ of that reform would be:

  • Major limit on ability of government to control all business on an ongoing basis.
  • Set timings for legislation except in emergencies and an end to the practice of guillotines.
  • Earlier and more comprehensive review of legislation.
  • The establishment of an independent budget review office to review and cost all proposals brought to a vote by either government or opposition.
  • The establishment of an office of Independent Legal Advisor to the Oireachtas.
  • A new regulatory oversight process

“Once groupings are finalised in the coming fortnight, nomination to a negotiating committee would be made by each Dáil group.  They would be given a fortnight to agree core principles and asked to agree in-principle changes which would be adopted by Dáil Éireann.

“Fianna Fáil has heard the electorate and its demand for fundamental change.  We are responding to that demand in a constructive and positive way.”


We’ll have some analysis from our political editor Hugh O’Connell shortly to tell us exactly what the hell all of that means.

Speaking of respecting mandates as Martin did just there in that statement, here’s more from Gerry Adams at the RDS today.

Asked whether he believes Tom ‘Slab’ Murphy still a good republican after his tax evasion conviction and whether the party’s stance on the Special Criminal Court damaged its campaign, he said:

The answer to your first question is yes. The answer to your second question is that we were hit with everything but the kitchen sink in the course of that campaign.

He said the negativity from some sections of the media, if repeated in the North, in the assembly elections by either the unionists or the nationalists would be a very, very bad situation”.
I never thought I’d say this but the DUP could teach some of our politicians an awful lot about good manners and respecting other people’s mandates.
Strong words. 

For delights such as these from our brilliant Nicky Ryan as the recounts go on and on and on.



Wexford has finally declared who has taken the last two seats. And it’s great news for Fine Gael. Both Michael D’Arcy and Paul Kehoe have squeezed through.

That all just took 14 counts over three days.


More from Dublin Bay North.

We hope the counters and their fingers are all ok. Looks like some vital equipment has been squandered by some.


Our resident factchecker Dan MacGuill is crunching the numbers for analysis pieces we’ll be bringing you over the next couple of days.

Yes, we know, exciting.

As a teaser, he has this little factoid:

Trivia time: Before this weekend, only one woman had ever represented Galway (the whole county) in the Dáil. Ever.

“There were THREE added this weekend. REVOLUTION in the West.”



Set them free already, Dublin Bay North.

Some people love the count centre bumps, but some of these politicians didn’t get a one.


Mattie McGrath, Tipperary TD, has spent his day off catching up on some social media.

A quick sample shows lots of very happy supporters.


Ah would you look.


Local radio station has said there may be even more recounts in Longford Westmeath but there’s no official confirmation just yet.

That obviously won’t change anything though even if it does happen. Except it will delay everything again.


Choice quote from Shannonside, live from the Longford-Westmeath count centre:

We’ll be here for hours and hours and hours. You’re missing nothing here.

But there is some light at the end of the tunnel… we have a recount result and Connie-Gerety Quinn’s elimination has been confirmed.


Her 5,917 votes will now be distributed, a process that will take about 90 minutes.

Here’s the state of play now after Count 12 has been confirmed in Longford-Westmeath.

It’s really going to be an excruciating time for Labour TD Willie Penrose.


And another one done…

After a recount and recheck of ballots and threats of court action, Dublin South West has confirmed the election of Katherine Zappone.

She immediately went on the Nine News to state her delight at joining the 32nd Dáil.


And here’s what Dublin South West looks like after three days of counting.


Now, we’re looking at you Longford-Westmeath, Dublin South Central and Dublin Bay North.


Some more Facts from Dan™

At 62, Katherine Zappone is the oldest first-time TD in the 32nd Dáil. Independent Kerry deputy Danny Healy-Rae is 61 years old. She is also one of three serving Senators to be elected to the Dáil for the first time this weekend, along with Marc MacSharry and David Cullinane.

29/2/2016. General Election 2016 - Counting of Vot Eamonn Farrell / Eamonn Farrell / /

I’m signing off now but will leave you in the capable hands of Michael Shiels McNamee and Cliodhna Russell.


So that’s it for the evening in Dublin South Central.

The count has been adjourned for the night with the returning officer set to announce at 12 tomorrow how many of the 170 disputed votes are invalid.

It has been a seriously long day in Dublin Bay North since the recount got underway at 11am this morning.

But it looks like we might be heading for a breakthrough. The next count is due shortly, with Averil Power expected to be eliminated.

And Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran from the Independent Alliance is IN in Longford-Westmeath.

Averil Power is OUT in Dublin Bay North.

“I’m just so grateful to the 7,000 people in Dublin Bay North, who in a tightly-run contest, put their faith in me” – Averil Power on RTÉ News moments after being eliminated.

That’s it on our end for this evening.

After that late flurry of activity, we’re signing off.

We’ll be back with you early tomorrow to bring you all the news from the last few constituencies.

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