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all politics is local

These are the key stats to help you understand who's winning and losing in the local elections

Here are the metrics that will help you understand what’s going down today.

CANDIDATES AND POLITICAL parties will be anxiously awaiting results this morning with counting in the local elections set to get underway across the country at 9am.

Success can be measured in a variety of different ways and pundits and politicians alike will be focusing on a variety of different metrics. 

Can Sinn Féin better its disastrous 2019 results?

Can Fianna Fáil remain the biggest party of local government?

Will Fine Gael enjoy a Harris hop?

These are some of the questions that we will soon have answers to, but to make all our lives easier we thought it would be useful to lay out the land as it currently is. 

Here are some of the key metrics that this election will be judged on and some useful figures and stats to have close to hand as results start to roll in.

How did the parties fare in the last local elections? 

This is probably the most straightforward marker of success that the parties will be looking at when judging their performance – how many seats they win this time compared to last.

With 949 seats up for grabs across Ireland’s 31 local authorities (the same amount as 2019), here’s how many seats each of the parties bagged in 2019. Turnout for that year was 49.7%.

  • Fianna Fáil – 279 (26.9% of first preference votes)
  • Fine Gael – 255 (25.20%)
  • Sinn Féin – 81 (9.50%)
  • Labour – 57 (5.70%)
  • The Green Party – 49 (5.60%)
  • Social Democrats – 19 (2.30%)
  • People Before Profit-Solidarity – 11 (1.90%)
  • Independents and others, including Aontú -198 (22.40%)

Aontú, a smaller political force in 2019 than now, took three council seats and were rolled in with Independents by pollsters but are expected to perform more strongly this time round.

Top spot

Last time round, Fianna Fáil won the highest first preference vote share in 17 of the 31 local authorities. So one of the interesting things people will be watching for this time is whether Fianna Fáil can retain the top spot, particularly in the face of rising support for Independent candidates. 

In 2019 Sinn Féin lost 49% of its councillors, but remained the third largest party at local level. 

For this election, Sinn Féin is running the most candidates it ever has with 335. In recent weeks, party leader Mary Lou McDonald has refused to be drawn on what success would look like.

Instead, she has simply said Sinn Féin would love to be the biggest party at local government level.

Where are the women?

Another dimension people may be interested in is how women fare compared with the last local elections.

Ireland has far more limited female political representation than other EU countries.

As it stands, 22% of local electoral areas in Ireland have no female councillors.

In 2019, some 562 women ran in the local elections – just over a quarter of candidates.

Of these, 225 were elected, equating to 23.7% of all councillors. 

This year, data collated by Women for Election shows that 681 women are standing in the local elections – more than ever before and 21% more than last time.

Pundits will be keeping a close eye to see how the electorate responds and to see if Ireland will be able to improve its current ranking of 22 out of the EU27 for the number of women in local politics. 

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