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Ballot papers are separated at the RDS today. Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Liveblog: The 2011 presidential election count, 9am – 6:45pm

Tallies indicate that Michael D Higgins will be elected the ninth president of Ireland – as Seán Gallagher concedes defeat. Catch up with all the latest results and analysis

THIS WAS OUR liveblog of the Presidential results day, as it happened, between 9am and 6:45pm.

Part 2 of our liveblog, carrying the news from 6:45pm onward, is here.

Good morning and welcome. It’s going to be a long day as we wait to determine who Ireland’s next president will be. If all is going to plan, ballot boxes are being opened at count centres across the country and ballot papers from the presidential election and the two referendums are being sorted out.

The presidential election ballots will be counted first with the two referendum counts not taking place until after we know who our next president will be. Indications are that that will not be until tomorrow although its hoped at some point today that the legendary tallymen can give us an idea of which way the vote is going.

We’ve more on what happens today here, but to explain briefly each of the 43 centres will report the results of their counts to the central count centre at Dublin Castle. The result of the first national count will not be announced until all 43 centres have reported their first count results.

With seven candidates in the race, it’s expected we’ll need more than the two counts that were needed in 1997 to declare Mary McAleese as president.

In Dublin West they are voting to fill the seat vacated by Brian Lenihan’s death in June. The Labour Party has done well in polling out there with indications that its candidate, Patrick Nulty, will take the seat but close behind are Fine Gael’s Eithne Loftus and the Socialist Party’s Ruth Coppinger.

Key issues include the future of Connolly Hospital which its feared could be the next to see its 24 hour Emergency Department closed.

There had been hope amongst Fianna Fáil that its candidate, David McGuinness, would retain the seat given its association with a much-respected figure like Lenihan but that appears unlikely. Nine others also appeared on the ballot paper and its safe to say they are a motley crew.

We probably know all we need to know about the seven men and women hoping to be president given the intensity and scrutiny of this campaign but what of our former presidents? Sinead O’Carroll has been finding out 11 things you might not know about the eight other people to have held the office of president in Ireland.

Turnout has been mentioned by one or two over the past 12 hours. Indications  are that it will be well down on the general election in February but that is not entirely unexpected. In 1997 turnout was 47 per cent and indications are that it will be around 50 per cent this time. Although we won’t know that for sometime yet.

What’s happening? Well boxes are being opened across the country and already a few TDs have been on the Twitter machine to give us their early impressions.

In Cork South Central, Jerry Buttimer (FG) says that things are looking ‘positive’ for Michael D Higgins but it’s early days. In Blackrock, Co Louth, Gerald Nash (Lab) says that Michael D is beating Seán Gallagher by 2:1. His party colleague Kevin Humphreys, he of hero TD fame, says that Michael D is “getting 70% from some inner city boxes”.

Big caveat on all of these though in that it is very very early days.

RTÉ’s Damien Tiernan reports from Kilkenny that Higgins and Gallagher have pulled away from the chasing pack on the initial tallies of 15 per cent of boxes. Back in the capital, indications are that Higgins is doing very well in early tallies.

Some of you are mentioning in the comments section that you had issues with how the polling was carried out yesterday and the confusion created by the two referendum ballot papers. The Irish Times carries a front page story today reporting that some people chose not to vote in the referendums at all, citing the fact they knew too little about it.

Of the presidential candidates, David Norris has been on the Twitter this morning posting a picture of the counting beginning. RTÉ is reporting some good news for him in Gay Mitchell‘s old stomping ground where apparently Norris is doing better than the Fine Gael candidate.

The Sunday Times political correspondent Sarah McInerney has tweeted from the RDS Simmonscourt where she says that Higgins is getting twice as many first preferences as Gallagher according to the early tallies.

From Donegal South West, Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty tells us that Higgins has 31 per cent with 18 boxes open followed by Martin McGuinness on 23 per cent.

Elsewhere in the world, Ireland have got off to a great start in the International Rules Series against Australia. My colleague Paul Fennessy is tapping away at the other end of the office, follow all the action here.

RTÉ Radio’s Today with Pat Kenny is on air now and going around the count centres with reporters all saying more-or-less one thing, that Michael D Higgins is performing well in the early tallies.

We have the first declaration of the day at 10.20am although this isn’t exactly scientific with Newstalk’s Marc Coleman prepared to call it for Higgins, offering his congratulations for winning on “personal qualities, not on his political views”. Steady now.

Pat Kenny briefly broke into song on air there. Not sure what to make of that but elsewhere on his programme, panellist Noel Whelan calls it for Michael D Higgins.

What’s happening out in the by-election in Dublin West you ask? Well RTÉ’s Philip Boucher-Hayes tweets that with a 50 per cent tally its Labour’s Patrick Nulty on 26.1 per cent, Fianna Fáil’s David McGuinness on 22 per cent, followed by the Socialist Party’s Ruth Coppinger on 20.3 per cent. Then comes Fine Gael, Sinn Féin and the Greens. The FF performance would be a bit of a surprise based on pre-election polling.

Things changing since Pearse Doherty reported events from Donegal South West a little while ago. Gallagher, very much against the grain nationally, is on 32 per cent, Higgins on 29 per cent and McGuinness on 22 per cent with 29 boxes open according to

Richard Moore from the Seán Gallagher camp speaking on Today with PK saying it’s “too early to tell” but that “omens aren’t looking that great.”

Paddy Power has suspended betting on the presidency and congratulated Michael D Higgins.

Richard Moore from the Gallagher camp is still on with Pat Kenny and is trying to make the best of it whilst listening back to Gallagher’s performance on The Frontline debate on Monday, a performance which appears to have done considerable damage to his chances.

Moore mentions the tweet from the ‘Sinn Féin press office’ that went out during the debate which said the man at the centre of the €5k cheque controversy, Hugh Morgan, was going to hold a press conference. That tweet came from a fake account it is important to note.

From Kildare South, reports that with 29 per cent of boxes opened in Kildare South, Higgins is on 40 per cent and Gallagher is on 31 per cent.

Back on the radio, the clip of Gallagher berating Glenna Lynch or ‘Frontline mum’ as she is now infamously known on the Pat Kenny programme is replayed earlier this week. It will not be comfortable listening for campaign Gallagher. Richard Moore has also suggested  there should be a protocol for introducing tweets in live debates. What do we think of that?

In Wicklow, former political advisor Stephen Kearon tweets that Higgins is on 35 per cent followed by Gallagher on 34 per cent with 23 per cent of the tally.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn on the Today with PK programme says he doesn’t want to be “counting chickens” at this stage. That’s a phrase you will hear more than once from Labour people today I suspect. Quinn reports that Higgins is in “good form”. He spoke to him just before he came on air.

Quinn also says that the referendum results from the vox pops carried out on Morning Ireland indicate it’s not looking good for the Oireachtas inquiries amendment but judges’ pay should cast.

From Raidio Na Gaeltachta in Galway West the tally with 14 boxes opened is Higgins 58 per cent, Gallagher 16 per cent, McGuinness 11 per cent, Mitchell 5 per cent, Norris 4 per cent, Dana Rosemary Scallon 3 per cent, Mary Davis 1.5 per cent.

In Donegal North East it is reported that Martin McGuinness is doing well on 38 per cent followed by Gallagher on 28 per cent and Higgins on 18 per cent.

In Louth, Gallagher’s home constituency, Labour TD Gerald Nash tweets that with 50 boxes open Higgins is on 34.6 per cent, Gallagher on 29 per cent and McGuinness on 21 per cent.

RTÉ One’s coverage has begun and Miriam O’Callaghan is live from Dublin Castle in a lovely red coat. Bryan Dobson is in studio in a lovely suit bringing us the first pictures of boxes being emptied in the count centres.

Ruairi Quinn touched on it earlier but it’s worth noting that it’s looking as if the Oireachtas inquiries referendum could be a ‘no’ vote. Various political commentators also calling it that way. Back on Pat Kenny they appear to be holding a post mortem of its defeat. But it’s still too early to say at this point given that counting hasn’t even begun in both referendums and won’t do until we know for sure who the next president is.

In Dublin North East we’re hearing that Gay Mitchell has 4.35 per cent in the early tallies which isn’t very good at all for the Fine Gael candidate.

RTÉ’s Paschal Sheehy reports from Cork that in the seven constituencies in Cork county and in the two Kerry constituencies including Limerick West, Seán Gallagher has work to do given that Higgins is ahead in most constituencies. He also says notably that Gay Mitchell will struggle to get beyond the “single-figures”.

David Leach, the Labour Party’s political director, is looking pretty happy on RTÉ One’s coverage. While Jack Murray, from the Gallagher campaign, says it’s looking like it will be Higgins. That’s a big admission right there. Robbie Smyth from Sinn Féin believes the result so far is showing that the party is the second biggest on the island now.

David Norris has tweeted to “sincerely thank everyone for all their wonderful support”.

Back to Dublin West for a minute where Fine Gael’s Brian Hayes tells Newstalk that he has conceded defeat in the by-election there. He’s not actually running but it appears he’s given up on party colleague Eithne Loftus’s chances. Labour’s Patrick Nulty polling strongly in the early tallies but followed close behind by Fianna Fáil and then the Socialist Party.

The first presidential candidate’s concession is in, David Norris has just been on the Newstalk saying he is “quite certain” it will be Michael D Higgins.

“I’d like to be among the first to congratulate president Michael D Higgins,” he said. Who will be the next candidate to concede we wonder?

Lots of reports of Gay Mitchell not doing very well at all across the country. Pre-election polls indicated as much but the word “disaster” for the governing party will be heard more than once today from political analysts.

RTÉ’s Damien Tiernan reports from Kilkenny that it’s a two-horse race with Higgins and Gallagher well ahead of the chasing pack. The question for the five other candidates now perhaps will be will they get enough support to ensure they can reclaim election expenses. It seems pretty certain that some will not.

Robbie Smyth from Sinn Féin very smiley on RTÉ One’s coverage. “It would have been nice to win the presidency,” he says but he appears contented with the indication that Martin McGuinness will poll well today.

A rare bit of good news for Gallagher in the Cavan-Monaghan count centre, his home constituency of course. According to the Anglo Celt newspaper: “at this very early stage, indications are that Sean Gallagher is polling very well in Cavan and appears to be the front runner”

On the point earlier of this being a bad day for Fine Gael with the performance of Gay Mitchell that will be underlined by the indications that the Oireachtas inquiries referendum will be defeated as RTÉ’s David McCullagh has just said, while the party appears to have conceded defeat in the Dublin West by-election where Brian Hayes told Newstalk it was over just a few minutes ago.

There’s no count centre in Melbourne but we have good news from there where Ireland have routed the Aussies by 80-36 in the international rules series bringing a 44-point lead into the second Test. Paul Fennessy is cock-a-hoop over on the sports desk.

Martin McGuinness is leading in Donegal North East where tallies after 12 per cent of boxes open shows him on 38 per cent, according to RTÉ.

All quiet down in Dublin Castle where our own Susan Ryan reports that the cleaners are vacuuming and RTÉ and Sky News have set up shop, presumably in anticipation of more excitement there later today but for the time being your best off with us here on the liveblog.

The Irish Times liveblog says that Dana Rosemary Scallon‘s campaign believes that she was seen as “a metaphor” for the Catholic Church, something which counted against her. What do you think of that? Let us know in the comments.

Here’s what’s happening at Dublin Castle courtesy of Susan Ryan…

The world’s media has gathered outside in anticipation of things picking up later on down at Dublin Castle…

RTÉ One has a montage of election campaign footage to the tune of Coldplay. Mary Davis is playing table tennis in it and we’re lovin’ it

David McCullagh writes more on RTÉ’s liveblog that it appears it’s all over after three hours despite predictions of a tight campaign. Higgins is well ahead, followed by Gallagher he predicts McGuinness will finish strongly in third.

The turnaround from Monday’s poll in the Irish Times which showed Gallagher 15 per cent ahead of Higgins is remarkable in many ways. Presidential polls so close to the election have been wrong before but never by so much as Gavan Reilly wrote about last weekend.

Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell is the first of his party to come out explicitly and admit it’s all over for Gay Mitchell. “Apparent congratulations” are tweeted in the direction of Higgins.

Midday and it appears increasingly likely now that based on early tallies the ninth president of Ireland will be Michael D Higgins.

Back to Dublin West where there is now a full tally and our incoming deputy editor Christine Bohan has tweeted that with all the boxes open it is Patrick Nulty (Lab) 24.3 per cent, David McGuinness (FF) 21.7 per cent, Ruth Coppinger (SP) 21 per cent, Eithne Loftus (FG) 15 per cent, Paul Donnelly (SF) 8 per cent, Roderic O’Gorman 5 per cent.

In Dublin South, we’re hearing reports that Michael D Higgins is taking 60 per cent of the vote in some boxes, all feeding into the overall view that he is doing very well indeed.

TD Denis Naughten, formerly of Fine Gael, tweets from Roscommon-South Letrim the tally so far with 40 per cent of boxes open: Gallagher 36 per cent, Higgins 33 per cent, McGuinness 15 per cent, Mitchell 6 per cent, Dana Rosemary Scallon 4 per cent, Davis Norris 4 per cent, Mary Davis 2.5 per cent.

RTÉ reports from Waterford where the presiding officer reckons we will have a first by 3.30pm.

Overall tallies so far show Higgins on at 36.5 per cent, Gallagher on 33.2 per cent with RTÉ noting that about two-thirds of these tallies would be rural votes, the rest would be urban.

We’re keeping a close eye on Dublin West where we expect a result sometime this afternoon. If the Labour Party’s Patrick Nulty takes the seat it will be the first time since 1981 that a party in government has won a by-election. But Fianna Fáil is performing very well, somewhat unexpectedly given the pre-election odds and some of the polling.

We missed this earlier but Gay Mitchell tweeted to say: “Thank you to everybody who campaigned and worked for me over the last three months” just over an hour ago.

The News at One is the News at 12.30pm as Seán O’Rourke says that Michael D Higgins is “on course” to be the ninth president of Ireland. The Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and Transport Minister Leo Varadkar will be speaking to him later. We’ll try and bring what they say to you.

Labour TD Joe Costello, Higgins‘s director of elections, tells the Seán O’Rourke that there could be multiple eliminations on the first count.

RTÉ reports from the Cavan-Monaghan where we told you earlier there was rare good news for Gallagher. With 53 per cent of boxes open, Gallagher is on 42 per cent, Higgins and McGuinness are level on 21 per cent, followed by Mitchell on 8 per cent, Norris on 3 per cent, Scallon on 3 per cent and Davis on 2 per cent.

And more good news from Laois-Offaly for Gallagher, according to RTÉ which reports on a tally of 45 per cent boxes open that he is on 39 per cent, followed by Higgins 28 per cent, McGuinness 14 per cent, Mitchell 6 per cent, Norris 4 per cent, Scallon 3 per cent, Davis 2 per cent.

Social Protection Minister and Labour TD Joan Burton has called the result in Dublin West it would seem, tweeting her congratulations on a “fantastic result” for her party colleague Patrick Nulty. He leads the tallies with all the boxes open but no count result yet.

RTÉ has done a recall poll in conjunction with Red C which asked 1,000 people how they voted as they left polling stations. More than a quarter changed their mind in the final week, 28 per cent of voters switched first preference in the final week. 58 per cent switched from Gallagher with the 71 per cent of those voting for Higgins instead.

You don’t need me to tell you that the events of the past few days have been crucial to the outcome of this election particularly for the two frontrunners in the race.

The RTÉ/Red C poll found that over half of voters who were polled said the recent controversy surrounding Gallagher affected their decision when they voted. Wow.

Dana Rosemary Scallon has been on the Twitter to thank her supporters or should I say THANK her supporters: “A massive THANK YOU to everyone who has supported me throughout this whole campaign. Thank you for standing with me,” she tweets.

Here’s how things could shape up later today. The National Returning Officer has said that if it looks like we will get a final count in the presidential election at 12.30am or 1am, then we will keep going tonight.

Earlier we spoke about what a bad day it would be for one governing party given that Fine Gael’s presidential candidate is set to lose out, as is the party’s candidate in Dublin West. The anticipated ‘no’ vote in the Oireachtas inquiry referendum could make it a triple-whammy. By contrast a good day for its coalition partner Labour which looks on course to see its candidate secure the presidency and its man in Dublin West take a seat in the Dáil.

Paschal Sheehy down in Cork reckons Mitchell could finish as low as in fifth place in that part of the country where some boxes are showing first preferences for him that can be counted on one-hand. Higgins likely to do very well in Cork, he adds.

A “complete and utter mess” is how RTÉ’s Damien Tiernan describes Fine Gael’s presidential election performance. He says two government ministers told him during the election that they should not have picked Mitchell. Ouch.

In Dublin Mid West, reports the final tally as putting Higgins on 39.45 per cent, Gallagher on 22 per cent, McGuinness on 16.3 per cent and Norris on 10.3 per cent. In Dublin South West it’s a similar result from the tally count.

Dublin South final tally puts Higgins on 50 per cent, followed by Gallagher on 20 per cent, Norris on 9.5 per cent and McGuinness on 6.5 per cent.

Liz Reddy from WLRfm tweets the first approximate turnout figure I’ve seen which is at 54.8 per cent in Waterford, down on the general election but up on previous presidential elections, I would imagine. General consensus is that turnout will come in around the 50 per cent mark, which would be up on 1997′s 47 per cent.

Clare FM journalist Gavin Grace tweets news from the West where in Clare, the tally after 30 per cent of boxes have been opened is Higgins on 41 per cent, Gallagher on 33 per cent, McGuinness on 10 per cent, Mitchell on 5.9 per cent, Norris on 3.2 per cent, Scallon on 2.8 per cent and Davis 2 per cent.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore is on the News at One and says that Higgins concentrated on his arguments for being elected rather than focus on other candidates. Speaking on the referendum on the Oireachtas inquiries which could be heading for defeat, he refuses to accept such a premise at this stage. “I think at this stage, I’d be reluctant to make any prediction,” he says. No regrets about how the campaign for the constitutional amendments was handled.

Bryan Dobson points on Twitter that Gay Mitchell is heading for Fine Gael’s worst presidential result ever. Previously the worst was Austin Currie in 1990 who finished on 17 per cent.

Eamon Gilmore also congratulated Michael D Higgins on his likely victory on the News at One: “I’m really happy for him… He ran a very positive people and I think people responded to that.”

“Bad day for Fine Gael,” admits Transport Minister Leo Varadkar on the same programme but he says he’s “delighted” for Michael D and thinks it’s good to see a “government candidate” set to win in Dublin West. Although, it’s worth nothing that Fine Gael was not describing Labour’s Patrick Nulty as a government candidate earlier this week…

Mary McAleese may have one eye on events today but she’s also officially opened an exhibition of Ireland’s historic train carriages for Heads of State at Heuston Station in Dublin this afternoon, in one of her last public events.

What’s happening in Meath East I hear you asking me impatiently? Well Dominic Hannigan TD (Lab) has tweeted to say that with 67 per cent of boxes open, Higgins is on 38, Gallagher on 32, McGuinness is on 12, Norris is on 7, Mitchell on 6, Davis on 3 and Scallon on 2.

The Irish Times notes from the first few tallies that Davis and Scallon are unlikely to qualify to have their election expenses reimbursed. Candidates who win a quarter of the quota, which amounts to over 12.5 per cent of the vote, are entitled to be reimbursed by as must €200,000

Any candidate who doesn’t win an election is of course going to be disappointed but for Davis her low score according to the tallies will be a bitter blow. She has shown progress in polls carried out prior to the campaign-proper getting underway. But the entry of McGuinness, Scallon and Norris, sent her support nosediving, for reasons not entirely clear at this point.

Cork South Central Labour TD Ciaran Lynch tweets some interesting figures from a postal vote in his constituency which showed Gallagher on 35 per cent Higgins on 21 per cent.

The postal vote was carried out before Monday’s Frontline TV debate where Gallagher was confronted with allegations of having accepted a donation of €5,000 on behalf of Fianna Fáil. There’s increasing evidence now that this very controversy has cost him the presidency.

BBC News carrying a report which details that Higgins is on course to be elected president from the early tallies. The Beeb has Higgins on 40 per cent with Gallagher on 30 per cent based on the tally counts.

Elsewhere in the foreign meeja Henry McDonald writes on that Higgins is on course to beat Gallagher with bookies having closed betting. It cites the result in Louth, Gallagher’s home constituency, where early reports had Higgins winning by a margin of 2 to 1. The Guardian has Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness as scoring around 20 per cent over all in most constituencies which is a bit higher than other figures I’ve come across which have him in the high teens.

Micheál Martin is the first party leader from the opposition to congratulate Higgins on his apparent victory. The Fianna Fáil leader praises Michael D’s command global issues in a statement:

I have known Michael D. Higgins for many years and he will make an excellent President and ambassador for Ireland.  I want to wish him well in his Presidency for which he will have my full support and that of the Fianna Fáil community across the country.

As Minister for Foreign Affairs I worked closely with Michael D. Higgins who was Labour’s Foreign Affairs Spokesperson.  His command of global issues and commitment to human rights was significant and I have no doubt that human rights and humanitarian issues will be a significant part of his presidency.

In Waterford, the result of the final tally of 100 per cent of boxes opened sees Higgins on 37 per cent, Gallagher on 32 per cent, McGuinness on 14 per cent, Mitchell on 6 per cent, Norris on 5 per cent, Scallon on 3 per cent and Davis on 2 per cent, RTÉ reports.

That’s me (Hugh O’Connell) for the time being. My colleague Gavan Reilly is stepping in to takeover the reigns and safely guide you through the afternoon’s events as the counts get underway properly. Let’s be careful out there.

Thanks Hugh – still lots of tallying action, analysis, political conjecture… and, of course, the actual results – still to come, so settle down with a good cushion. GR

Following on from Ciarán Lynch’s tweet earlier (see 13.57), the folks at Betfair Ireland have been in touch to hammer home the point that Monday’s debate was, in the eyes of the gambling public, the real turning point.

Before the debate, they’ve told us, Gallagher was priced at around 1/3 on – meaning you would have won back €1.30 for every €1 you bet. After the debate, he went out to 5/4 – where you would win €2.25 for each €1. Now, he’s at 59/1. Bet €1, win €60.

Although it should be pointed out that Gallagher’s odds have been lengthening all morning – especially given how apparent it’s become that he will lose out in the overall running – that’s still a pretty hefty switch in odds.

We are now hearing, incidentally, that the results of the national first count – which will only be available once every single one of the 43 constituencies wraps up its official counts – will now not be around until between 7pm and 8pm.

Some tally updates: Stephen Kearon, a former government advisor who’s been tallying in Wicklow, reports that with 76 per cent of boxes open, Higgins is still clearly in the lead on 42%, ahead of Gallagher on 28% and McGuinness on 11%.

Norris leads the rest on 8, ahead of Mitchell (4.7%), Davis (3.1%) and Scallon (2.3%).

Labour councillor Henry Upton has an update from Dublin South Central, where tallying is almost done – and where Seán Gallagher’s misery is compounded by coming in third place.

While Higgins coasts to the top on 40%, Martin McGuinness has taken 17% ahead of Gallagher’s 15%. Mitchell has 12%, Norris 11%, Davis 3% and Scallon 2%.

That constituency already had a massive Labour vote – electing two Labour TDs as well as one ULA candidate to its five seats in February – while Martin McGuinness’s 17% is a further boost on the 13% commanded by incumbent SF deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh.

More Gallagher misery from Louth: with 89 per cent of boxes open, Higgins is on 36 per cent ahead of Gallagher‘s 29. (h/t Nick Reilly)

Kerry County Council have tweeted what appears to be a complete tally – an unusual move, for an official body to post an unofficial count total – in the Kerry North-West Limerick constituency:

  • Higgins 38.7%
  • Gallagher 28%
  • McGuinness 17.6%
  • Mitchell 6.4%
  • Norris 4%
  • Dana 3.6%
  • Davis 2.2%

An observation from another man with plenty to smile about today, Labour councillor for Finglas Steve Wrenn: next year, as Labour celebrates its 100th anniversary, it will have Cllr Andrew Montague in the Mansion House, as Lord Mayor of Dublin, and Michael D Higgins in the Áras.

What’s more, Michael D is making some unique Irish political history of his own: he will become the first person to serve in all three branches of the Oireachtas: the Dáil, the Seanad and the Presidency.

From Breaking News on Twitter – the Laois-Offaly constituency, which remained relatively loyal to Fianna Fáil in February, is one of the few which has asserted its preference for Seán Gallagher today.

With two-thirds of boxes open, Gallagher is on 38.3%, ahead of Higgins on 29.1% and McGuinness on 13.2%. Mitchell leads the rest on 6.6%.

RTÉ’s Bryan Dobson has posted another nugget from the broadcaster’s Red C poll: 15 per cent of respondents to its telephone poll last night, who said they had voted for Fine Gael in February, voted for Gay Mitchell this time around. Fine Gael took 36% in the General Election – but Mitchell’s share will only account for around 5.5 to 6% of that.

It’s possible that both Higgins and Gallagher took more of the Fine Gael vote than the party’s official candidate. Not a great sign of how Mitchell has fared in this election – which, it may be noted, is his first ever electoral defeat.

Reuters has posted its story on Higgins’ imminent election – keeping to the international habit of referring to each candidate simply by their potted histories:

A left-wing former culture minister was on course to be elected Ireland’s president on Friday, beating a former IRA commander and a TV reality star, early tallies showed as one of his rivals conceded defeat.

Michael D. Higgins, a champion of Palestinian rights and a member of junior coalition partner Labour Party, was ahead in most voting tallies across the country, state broadcaster RTE reported.

“It’s very clear that we will have a President Michael D. Higgins,” said David Norris, a gay-rights campaigner who said he expected to come third or fourth.

Another tally from a politician in… Labour! Funny how it seems to be those who are sharing the news today… Anyway, here’s the update from with 99 boxes open, from Cllr Seamus Ryan: Higgins 43.5%, Gallagher 32%, McGuinness 10.6%, Mitchell 5.6%, others below 4 each.

That’s a pretty massive bump for Higgins in Clare, where Labour took 14.8 per cent in February. He has, in effect, almost tripled the vote. It’s logical to surmise that many of those votes came from those who picked Fine Gael in the general election – their three candidates took 42% there just eight months ago.

A full tally from Dublin South Central, which is Gay Mitchell’s home turf: Higgins 41, McGuinness 17, Gallagher 15, Mitchell 12, Norris 11. Ouch. That’s from Bernard Cantillon’s Twitter.

David McCullagh’s been on RTÉ to give some details of the Red C telephone poll from last night:

  • Higgins 42
  • Gallagher 27
  • McGuinness 14
  • Norris 8
  • Mitchell 7
  • Scallon 2
  • Davis 2

All of those seem to be within the margin of error of the tallies coming in today, with Higgins coming in at just under 40 per cent, it seems.

62% of FF voters in the General Election in 2011 – and 45% of those who gave the party a third term in 2007 – voted for Seán Gallagher, according to the Red C poll. That’s a pretty high party loyalty, it appears – raising question marks about whether Gallagher could have actually benefitted from embracing his Fianna Fáil history instead of trying to downplay it.

A final tally from Louth, where Sean Gallagher voted – and came second. Higgins with 36%, Gallagher 30%, McGuinness 20% and the rest (led by Norris) on 5% or under.

More from RTÉ:

- 17% of ALL VOTERS – that’s one in six people – dumped Gallagher after the FF donations furore.

- Half of Higgins voters said the Gallagher controversy had copperfastened their votes.

- Two-thirds of the voters Gallagher lost – around 12% of the entire voting public – left him for Higgins.

And that, as they say in baseball, was the ball game.

Even more from RTÉ: the Higgins-Gallagher split was quite uniform across the country except for Dublin. In the three non-Dublin European constituencies, Higgins’ vote was around one sixth higher than Gallagher’s.

In Dublin, though, Higgins is likely to take 46 per cent – compared to Gallagher’s 16. That’s nearly triple the vote.

Anyway, back to Bernard’s tweet at 14:56, a quick glance at how other candidates are doing on their home turf.

Mary Davis is a voter in Dublin North-East, where she’s taken 4.5% (Higgins on 43.1%). In her more native Mayo, she was on 9% (Higgins 40%).

Sean Gallagher voted in Louth, where he’s on 30% compared to Higgins’s 36%. In his native Cavan-Monaghan, he has topped the poll: with 44% compared to Higgins’ 21%.

We’re hearing that the first count in Wicklow may be late due to a polling discrepancy – i.e. the number of ballot papers versus the number of voters who showed up.

Quick TV interview with Patrick Nulty there, who seems pretty confident – all but saying it, basically – that he’ll win the Dublin West by-election.

A recap on the first preference tally there: Patrick Nulty (Lab) 24.3, David McGuinness (FF) 21.7, Ruth Coppinger (SP) 21, Eithne Loftus (FG) 15, Paul Donnelly (SF) 8.5, Roderic O’Gorman (Green) 5.

David McGuinness’s camp doesn’t seem to be throwing in the towel just yet – “we are in contention”, he says. FF believe the Sinn Féin vote (which is local to McGuinness’s home turf) and the Fine Gael support could help them out.

It must be said, though, that if Ruth Coppinger is eliminated, her 21% is likely to heavily favour Nulty. There’s also a sound logic to the notion that Eithne Loftus’s Fine Gael vote would benefit the Labour man.

An official first count – the first of the day – from Dublin Mid-West:

  • Michael D Higgins: 40.3%
  • Seán Gallagher: 22.1%
  • Martin McGuinness: 15.9%
  • David Norris: 10.2%
  • Gay Mitchell: 6.2%
  • Mary Davis: 3.1%
  • Dana Rosemary Scallon: 2.0%

RTÉ’s pundits all seem to be in agreement – and perhaps rightly so – that Fianna Fáil can be happy with their performance in Dublin West, even if David McGuinness can’t stop Patrick Nulty from winning the seat for Labour.

Their reasoning is that while Brian Lenihan was a popular candidate, McGuinness has increased the party’s share of the vote – and proven that there is life after Lenihan in that constituency.

Nonetheless, Fianna Fáil is now without a TD anywhere in the Greater Dublin area.

Former Labour senator Kathleen O’Meara has been on the tweet machine to say today is “a great day for the nation!”.

“Good to have been beaten for the nomination by the final winner. Congrats Michael D!,” she says.

That’s her, on the right there, as Michael D was announced as the official Labour nominee.

Another official count – from Dublin South-West:

  • Michael D Higgins 40.1%
  • Sean Gallagher 22%
  • Martin McGuinness 16.6%
  • David Norris 8.6%
  • Gay Mitchell 6.5%
  • Mary Davis 3.1%
  • Dana Rosemary Scallon: 2.1%

It’s a “very disappointing day for Gay Mitchell and for our party”, says junior finance minister Brian Hayes, who is from that constituency and who is in the RTÉ studio.

We have another full tally, from South Kerry, courtesy of Kerry County CouncilHiggins 38%, Gallagher 30%, McGuinness 15%, Mitchell 7%, Norris 4%, Dana 4%, Davis 2%.

Pearse Doherty, on RTÉ, affirming that Monday night’s debate changed the entire campaign. You’ll need to look far and wide to find someone who disagrees.

The postal votes in Cork South Central, via Paschal Sheehy on RTÉ: Gallagher 211; Higgins 128.

Juxtapose those with the full tally from Stephen Spillane (15:33) and you see just the scale of the changes since Monday night.

Here’s an interesting one… from Sinn Féin councillor, in Wicklow, John Brady:

Wicklow Fine Gael TD Simon Harris has claimed he gets more votes in Greystones than Gay Mitchell got in Wicklow

Stephen Kearon’s tallies from there seem to bear fruit. His tally of boxes has Mitchell on 2,380 votes (4.74%) of the poll – while Harris, in the 2009 local elections, took 3,119 votes.

Indeed, Harris got 8,726 votes this time around – one of the three FG candidates, who between them got 39.6%. That’s eight times what Mitchell has taken there this time around.

Donegal – just as it did in Lisbon 2! – has gone against the grain: neither constituency there has backed the winner, Michael D Higgins.

Donegal North-East has seen Martin McGuinness – who lives just across the border – top the poll, while the South-West (formerly a Fianna Fáil heartland) has given it to Sean Gallagher.

Three full tallies to bring you:

In Clare, Higgins has taken 43%, ahead of Gallagher on 32%, and McGuinness on 10%. Gay Mitchell (6%) leads the rest. (via @cgrif)

In Longford-Westmeath, Higgins has taken it: 36%, Gallagher 33%, McGuinness 12%, and Mitchell (8%) ahead of the others. (via @breakingnewsie)

In Dublin North-Central: Higgins 45.9%, Gallagher 20%, McGuinness 11.7%, Norris 10.5%, Mitchell 5.8%, Davis 3.5%, Scallon 2.5%. That’s from Labour TD Aodhán Ó Riordáin.

We’re hearing that the actual first count is now starting in Wicklow, after officials managed to overcome the earlier discrepancy in figures (see 15.22). As ever, however, the staff and supporters are looking at a long night.

Enda Kenny concedes: “Gay Mitchell is a good man, though in this election the people made a clear choice as to the kind of President they wish to represent them for the next seven years.” (via Suzy Byrne)

Gerry Adams says he wishes to compliment Martin McGuinness, a “trailblazer” for being the first Sinn Féin man to contest a presidential election. (I thought McGuinness was a Sinn Féin candidate?)

“This is just something that the establishment in Dublin… they’re just going to have to get used to this,” he tells RTÉ, referring to Sinn Féin’s apparent arrival on the electoral scene.

Gerry Adams says there is a reason why Sinn Féin spokespersons use the language they use. Bryan Dobson puts it to him that they don’t wish to offend dissidents. Adams disagrees, and says it’s because they don’t want to offend IRA victims’ families, but “there are also other issues”.

Results from Kildare North:

  • Michael D Higgins: 45.8%
  • Sean Gallagher: 26.9%
  • Martin McGuinness: 8.8%
  • David Norris: 8.1%
  • Gay Mitchell: 5.5%
  • Mary Davis: 2.8%
  • Dana Rosemary Scallon: 2.1%

“It was Frontline wot done it,” says Noel Whelan. (If you missed the reference, this is what it refers to…)

Frank Flannery, a senior FG party insider, is being particularly evasive on RTÉ One when being asked by Miriam O’Callaghan on his opinions of Gay Mitchell. Oooh.

We are on alert for a first count in the Dublin West by-election.

Here we are: Dublin West by-election, first count.

Gary Bermingham 0.52%
Barry Caesar Hunt 2.17%
Benny Cooney 0.14%
Ruth Coppinger (SP) 21.12%
Paul Donnelly (SF) 8.89%
Brendan Doris 0.27%
John Frank Kidd 0.87%
Eithne Loftus (FG) 14.74%
David McGuinnes (FF) 21.69%
Patrick Nulty (Lab) 24.27%
Peadar O’Ceallaigh 0.11%
Roderic O’Gorman (Green) 5.01%
Jim Tallon 0.2%

The seven non-party candidates in Dublin West are all eliminated on the first count.

Ranking the other six in order:

Patrick Nulty (Lab) 24.3%
David McGuinness (FF) 21.7%
Ruth Coppinger (SP) 21.1%
Eithne Loftus (FG) 14.7%
Paul Donnelly (SF) 8.9%
Roderic O’Gorman (Green) 5.0%

That, one would think, is a Labour victory. We shall see.

The final tallies from the North East:

Meath East: Higgins 39, Gallagher 30, McGuinness 12, Norris 8, Mitchell 6, Davis 3, Scallon 2. (via Dominic Hannigan TD)

Louth: Higgins 36.5, Gallagher 29.5, McGuinness 20, Norris 5.4, Mitchell 4, Davis 2.3, Scallon 2.2. (via Drogheda Independent)

Philip Boucher-Hayes, on RTÉ Radio 1, says he believes there has been “a special instruction” from Fianna Fáil HQ to treat Dublin West – whatever happens – as a victory of sorts.

Eamon Gilmore, on telly, says he wishes Joe Costello “my heartiest congratulations” on the “well-run, disciplined and positive campaign” he ran for Michael D Higgins.

Joe Costello, who was Higgins’ campaign boss, had earlier said it “certainly looks” like his charge will be the winner.

As we joke in the media industry, “CROWDS GATHER”. Here’s my colleague Hugh O’Connell‘s snap from the media centre in Dublin Castle – compare it to Susan Ryan’s photo from 11.48!

Some words from Micheál Martin on the Dublin West by-election:

I am extremely proud of David’s performance in the by-election today [...] David is an example of the renewal that is taking place within Fianna Fáil.  We will continue in our role as the main opposition party and hold the Government to account in a constructive and proactive way.

I have no doubt that David McGuinness’ performance during the campaign and the election itself shows he has a great future in public life.

We have another first count from Dublin West – this time in the Presidential race:

  • Michael D Higgins 43.2%
  • Seán Gallagher 24.1%
  • Martin McGuinness 11.9%
  • David Norris 10.1%
  • Gay Mitchell 5.3%
  • Mary Davis 3.3%
  • Dana Rosemary Scallon 2%

Seán Gallagher has conceded the election.

In the last hour I’ve called Michael D. Higgins to congratulate him on his performance and his success in this election. He will have my full support as President and I sincerely thank him for a positive campaign. His slogan stated that he would be a President to be proud of and I believe he will be that President.

First count from Dublin South:

  • Michael D Higgins: 51.1%
  • Sean Gallagher: 20%
  • David Norris: 9.8%
  • Gay Mitchell: 7.3%
  • Martin McGuinness 6.5%
  • Mary Davis: 3.3%
  • Dana Rosemary Scallon: 2%

That result in Dublin South – the fifth, of 43, is particularly hard-hitting for Gay Mitchell. They had 36% of the vote there in February, taking three seats out of five. Taking 7.3% – only a fifth of that – will be disappointing for the party.

The RTÉ TV folks are discussing David Norris’s rise and fall. Norris was encouraged to get back into the campaign by the Sunday newspapers, it is suggested. “The kiss of death,” Bryan Dobson says, leading to laughs all round.

Another result – number 6 – from Dún Laoghaire:

  • Michael D Higgins 52.5%
  • Seán Gallagher 17.7%
  • David Norris 10.2%
  • Gay Mitchell 7%
  • Martin McGuinness 6.9%
  • Mary Davis 3.5%
  • Dana Rosemary Scallon 2.2%

And another, from Dublin South West:

  • Higgins 40.1%
  • Gallagher 22%
  • McGuinness 16.6%
  • Norris 9.6%
  • Mitchell 6.5%
  • Davis 3.1%
  • Scallon 2.1%

Result number seven is from Donegal North-East – and it’s turning the tide.

  • Martin McGuinness 32.2%
  • Sean Gallagher 28.2%
  • Michael D Higgins 23.1%
  • Dana Rosemary Scallon 6.7%
  • Gay Mitchell 4.9%
  • David Norris 2.8%
  • Mary Davis 2.1%

Dublin North is number eight:

  • Michael D Higgins: 44.8%
  • Sean Gallagher: 25.5%
  • Martin McGuinness: 10.4%
  • David Norris: 9.8%
  • Gay Mitchell: 4.4%
  • Mary Davis: 3.2%
  • Dana Rosemary Scallon: 1.8%

Alan Shatter denies that the government failed to adequately inform the public about the two referendums they were voting on. They were two pressing issues, he says, but he “very much understands” that the Oireachtas inquiries referendum was “complicated” by those who opposed it.

Pearse Doherty, on RTÉ Radio 1, says there was absolutely no “orchestrated ambush” on Sean Gallagher on Monday night – and has insisted, for the sake of certainty, that the Twitter account which posted that Tweet on Monday night was not a Sinn Féin account.

Now. With eight results in, out of 43, here’s where we are:

- It’s not official yet, but Michael D Higgins will become the ninth president of Ireland. He will easily top the poll, currently standing on 44.3 per cent, and ought to make it to the quota when transfers kick in.

- Seán Gallagher will still finish second, having won 23 per cent of votes so far. Martin McGuinness – who has broken the mould by topping the poll in Donegal North-East – will likely come third, with 12%.

- It looks like David Norris might defeat Gay Mitchell for fourth place; Norris has 9% right now to Mitchell’s 6%.

Dublin West by-election second count – this is after the six non-party candidates are eliminated: a few hundred votes distributed, with those spread across the board.

It hasn’t materially altered the order of the candidates; both Roderic O’Gorman (Green) and Paul Donnelly (SF) have been eliminated, and this is where the transfers will start to kick in. There are four left in the running.

Two more counts from Dublin: in Dublin South East, Higgins has taken a whopping 53.5% of the vote, leaving Gallagher on 13.7%, Norris in third on 11.7%, Mitchell on 8.2%, McGuinness on 7.5%, Davis on 3.2% and Scallon on 2.2%.

In Dublin Central, it’s Higgins again, on 44%. Gallagher has 16.4% – just ahead of McGuinness on 16.1% – while Norris has 12.9%. Gay Mitchell falls to 5%, ahead of Davis (2.9%) and Scallon (2.7%).

Pearse Doherty is being quite adamant (admittedly having being pushed on the issue by RTE Radio 1′s Mary Wilson) that Hugh Morgan is not a member of Sinn Féin.

Something we neglected to bring you earlier: in four boxes in Cork North Central – of eighty-something in total – there was not one Gay Mitchell vote.

A final tally in Wexford: Higgins 36.5%, Gallagher 34%, McGuinness 14%, Mitchell 6%, Norris 5%, Scallon 3%, Davis 3%. That’s from Breaking News.

Paddy Power has paid out, in the last hour, on Michael D Higgins’ victory.

Result number 11: Donegal South-West, and for only the second time – and, indeed, the second in Donegal – Higgins hasn’t led the poll.

That honour goes to Sean Gallagher who takes 32.3%, ahead of Martin McGuinness on 28.4%. Higgins is on 23.1%, ahead of local woman Dana on 5.8%. Gay Mitchell gets 5.3%, David Norris 3% and Mary Davis has 2.1%.

First count from Tipperary South, which is number 12 – and it’s a narrow win for Higgins.

  • Michael D Higgins 35.4%
  • Sean Gallagher 34.1%
  • Martin McGuinness 13%
  • Gay Mitchell 7.8%
  • David Norris 4.4%
  • Dana Rosemary Scallon 3%
  • Mary Davis 2.4%

Frank Flannery is making more frank (sorry) admissions on Radio 1. He acknowledges that Gay Mitchell regularly became “cross-sounding” on the campaign trail, and admits that ‘the conversation’ which shapes the election in the final phases didn’t include him.

Would FG have won if Pat Cox had been the candidate? “That is something we will never know,” he says.

OK. With 12 constituencies in, here’s how we stand:

- Michael D Higgins: 42.2%
- Sean Gallagher: 23.7%
- Martin McGuinness: 13.9%
- David Norris: 8.6%
- Gay Mitchell: 6.2%
- Mary Davis: 2.9%
- Dana Rosemary Scallon: 2.5%

More on the Paddy Power payout: the bookie tells us they’re paying out “over €350,000″ to winning betters.

“It was a rollercoaster ride of an election for those punters who backed Higgins but their patience and trust in him paid off in the end,” says Sharon McHugh of PP.

Ita McAuliffe, the Labour Party’s general secretary, says she’s “delighted” to hear the phrase ‘President Michael D Higgins’, “of whom we will be all proud at home and abroad”.

Mary Davis has also, now, officially conceded.

On Twitter, she has written:

@md_higgins Congratulations Michael and wishing you every success for the next 7 years in the Aras.

We have an unlucky (!) thirteenth first count – but Higgins won’t think it unlucky. He has taken a huge victory in Dublin South Central.

- Michael D Higgins 39.9%
- Martin McGuinness 16.6%
- Sean Gallagher 15%
- Gay Mitchell 12.1%
- David Norris 11.4%
- Mary Davis 2.7%
- Dana Rosemary Scallon 2.3%

That’s McGuinness’s best performance in Dublin – a second-place finish – and another disappointing turnout for Gay Mitchell, who represented that constituency in the Dáil for 26 years.

Here’s Kildare South, which is the 14th to give us a first count:

- Michael D Higgins 40.2%
- Sean Gallagher 31.4%
- Martin McGuinness 11.5%
- David Norris 6.3%
- Gay Mitchell 5.4%
- Mary Davis 3%
- Dana Rosemary Scallon 2.1

David Norris‘s spokesperson Paul Allen is on TV3 News, saying he is still confident that Norris can reach the magic threshold of 12.5%.

This is the first time that we’ve broached this subject today: electoral expenses. Candidates can recoup up to €200,000 of their expenses, but in order to do so each candidate needs to get one quarter of the quota in terms of votes by the time they are eliminated.

This means that a candidates doesn’t need to reach the 12.5% per cent of the total vote on the first count; they just need to get to that level by the time they are eliminated from the race.

It’ s almost certain that Dana Rosemary Scallon and Mary Davis are going to lose their expenses – and equally so Gay Mitchell, for whom Fine Gael had reportedly remortgaged its headquarters on Mount Street in Dublin.

Mary Lou McDonald is on TV3, and denies that they decided to run Martin McGuinness (again, a non-Sinn Féin candidate) in order to consolidate their ground before the local elections in 2014. It was to offer “a real alternative”, she says.

Now. Here’s the first count in Galway East, where there were 46,681 valid votes:

- Michael D Higgins 46.2%
- Sean Gallagher 28.9%
- Martin McGuinness 10.4%
- Gay Mitchell 6.2%
- Dana Rosemary Scallon 3.6%
- David Norris 2.5%
- Mary Davis 2.3%

Something to note from Higgins’ impending win: it creates a vacancy for another presidency – that of the Labour Party.

Higgins is currently the head of the party, but had pledged to leave the party if he was elected. Does that create a vacancy for Fergus Finlay or Kathleen O’Toole, perhaps?

Here’s Sligo-North Leitrim’s official first count:

- Michael D Higgins 36.5%
- Sean Gallagher 29.3%
- Martin McGuinness 16.1%
- Gay Mitchell 7%
- David Norris 4%
- Dana Rosemary Scallon 3.8%
- Mary Davis 3.3%

…and here is the first count from Dublin North East:

- Michael D Higgins 43.9%
- Sean Gallagher 21%
- Martin McGuinness 13.2%
- David Norris 10.3%
- Gay Mitchell 5.1%
- Mary Davis 4.4%
- Dana Rosemary Scallon 2.2%

Here’s the state of play after the third count in the Dublin West by-election:

Ruth Coppinger, SP: 9368
Eithne Loftus, FG: 5942
David McGuinness: 8720
Patrick Nulty: 10186

So, Eithne Loftus is eliminated and her near-6000 votes are now being split and sent around. Her transfers will be conclusive in deciding whether it’s Coppinger or McGuinness who is next eliminated.

Eamon Gilmore has just arrived at Dublin Castle.

Ah, Wicklow, you really do know how to play with us. The latest we’re hearing from there is that the Returning Officer, Patricia Casey, found 16 ballot papers which appear, somehow, to belong to Dublin Central (according to the imprints stamped on them). They were among the spoiled votes, however, which means they’re not holding things up.

That’s really baffling though – Dublin Central is north of the Liffey; how did 16 ballots end up in Wicklow?!

Alrighty. Here’s Cork East:

- Michael D Higgins 36.6%
- Sean Gallagher 34.4%
- Martin McGuinness 13.8%
- Gay Mitchell 6%
- David Norris 4.3%
- Dana Rosemary Scallon 3%
- Mary Davis 2.1%

Cork North West is in, and it’s a victory for Gallagher:

- Sean Gallagher 38.4%
- Michael D Higgins 34.3%
- Martin McGuinness 11.6%
- Gay Mitchell 7.6%
- David Norris 3.7%
- Dana Rosemary Scallon 3%
- Mary Davis 1.5%

Michael D Higgins’ official Twitter account:

Hi everyone, while we still don’t have a confirmed 1st count, it’s looking incredibly encouraging. We’ll be back after the result #aras11

Gay Mitchell has conceded defeat:

This afternoon I telephoned Michael D. Higgins and congratulated him on his success in becoming the President-elect. Mr. Higgins will make an excellent President and his wife, Sabina, will be an excellent first lady. My loyal support is with them and I wish them every blessing for the years ahead

Now – although their counts aren’t kicking off until tomorrow, RTÉ’s Ingrid Miley has been on air to report that there was a formally tally on the Oireachtas inquiries referendum carried out in Wexford.

That’s the constituency of Brendan Howlin, the minister who is (theoretically, at least) responsible for that referendum. And the news, for him, isn’t good. Ingrid tells us that the tally is 45% in favour, 55% against the referendum.

There’s also been a loose tally in Longford-Westmeath, where the 30th Amendment looks likely to be beaten too. That’s a noteworthy result because it’s the constituency housing the town of Abbeylara, where John Carthy’s shooting by Gardaí led to the Oireachtas inquiry that ultimately fuelled this referendum.

Two more to bring you – first, Cork East…

- Michael D Higgins 36.5%
- Sean Gallagher 34.4%
- Martin McGuinness 13.77%
- Gay Mitchell 6%
- David Norris: 4.3%
- Dana Rosemary Scallon: 3%
- Mary Davis: 2.1%

…and the result in Limerick City:

- Michael D Higgins 37.7%
- Sean Gallagher 17%
- Martin McGuinness 9.2%
- David Norris 4.6%
- Gay Mitchell 4.3%
- Mary Davis 2.3%
- Dana Rosemary Scallon 1.4%

Martin McGuinness has added his congrats to Michael D Higgins “on his election as President of Ireland”.

Also, Cork South West – a victory for Gallagher:

- Sean Gallagher 35%
- Michael D Higgins 33.9%
- Martin McGuinness 13%
- Gay Mitchell 8.5%
- David Norris 4.3%
- Dana Rosemary Scallon 3.2%
- Mary Davis 2.2%

Martin McGuinness’s full statement:

In the course of the past four weeks I have campaigned in every one of Irelands 32 counties. Thousands of people have worked on my campaign and I wish to extend my thanks to each and every one of them. I also want to thank all of those who came out and voted for me yesterday.

I wish to extend my congratulations to Michael D, his wife Sabina and his family. He will make a fine President and I wish him well for his seven years in the Aras.

I am delighted with the strong vote I have received. My message of positive leadership, patriotism and commitment clearly was resonating with tens of thousands of ordinary Irish people. I believe that Irish people do want a new type of politics and a new Republic based upon equality and respect.

Here’s Mayo – which has four FG TDs:

- Michael D Higgins 38.3%
- Sean Gallagher 25.2%
- Martin McGuinness 11.9%
- Mary Davis 9.4%
- Gay Mitchell 9.2%
- Dana Rosemary Scallon 3.2%
- David Norris 2.8%

That was Martin McGuinness, offering his official congratulations to Michael D Higgins “on his election as President of Ireland”.

…and here, as the results begin to pour in, is Meath East:

- Michael D Higgins 38.1%
- Sean Gallagher 32.2%
- Martin McGuinness 11.7%
- David Norris 6.7%
- Gay Mitchell 6.3%
- Mary Davis 2.8%
- Dana Rosemary Scallon 2.3%

…and with that flurry of results, this is Gavan Reilly signing off and handing you over to Susan Daly who will bring you into the evening stretch. GR

So that’s Martin McGuinness, Gay Mitchell, Seán Gallagher, David Norris, and Mary Davis who have conceded that Michael D Higgins is the next President of Ireland.

Is Dana Rosemary Scallon going to add her voice to the others’ any time soon?

This just in:

“Dana Rosemary Scallon  wishes to congratulate Mr Michael D Higgins on his election as Uachtaran na hÉireann.  ‘His wife Sabina and his family are a great support to him and I hope that their time is Aras an Uachtaráin will be happy and successful. I’m sure  the supporters in Galway are particularly proud of him at this time’. Dana Rosemary Scallon.”

LIVEBLOG: The 2011 Presidential election count (part 2) >

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