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President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina casting their votes at St Mary’s Hospital in the Phoenix Park this morning Sam Boal/

Turnout picks up in final hours of voting in elections and divorce referendum

Polling stations close at 10pm tonight.

LAST UPDATE | May 24th 2019, 7:00 PM

TURNOUT WAS LOW this morning as the Irish public went to cast their vote in the European and local elections, and the referendum on divorce – but picked up a bit in the evening as people returned from work.

Voters in Limerick, Waterford and Cork city are also voting to decide on whether or not they will have directly elected mayors.

Polling stations opened at 7am and will remain open until 10pm tonight.

The majority of voters will receive three ballot papers when they arrive at their polling station. If you want to see what they’ll look like before you go in, you’ll find them here

Figures from each of Ireland’s three European constituencies show that turnout remains low across the country.

RTÉ reported that turnout in Dublin stood at between 2.4% and 9% by lunchtime; this had increased to 17%-50% by 9pm.

The Turnout in Cavan was around 8-9% according to RTÉ, 12-14% in Monaghan, 8%-18% in Louth, 8%-9% in Meath, and up to 17% in Limerick

Stronger figures are being reported in Ireland South and Midlands North West, which are showing turnouts ranging from 30s to the mid-50s. Turnouts are reported to be highest in the west of the country.

Up to 30% of the electorate in Clare had turned out to vote by 6pm, and voting stations were “starting to get very busy”, according to Clare FM.

Meanwhile, Galway has quite a high turnout of between 40% to 54%. Sligo has seen a voter turnout or between 53% to 55%.

In Donegal, turnout was between 35% to 51% by 9pm, (it had been at 15% at lunchtime).

Turnout in Kerry had been quite low, averaging 28%. Local news sources also reported a similar uptake in figures in Kilkenny (from 19% to up to 55%).

Voting has been quite high in Waterford (up to 44%), Wexford (up to 56%) and Wicklow (between 46% and 49%).

004 Taoiseach votes_90571649 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar casting his vote in Scoil Thomáis, in Castleknock, Dublin this morning LEAH FARRELL LEAH FARRELL

By comparison, last year’s presidential election saw a national turnout of just over 56%, while the figure for the referendum on the 8th amendment last May was over 64%.

However, turnout for the local and European elections is traditionally lower, dropping to 51% in 2014.

Today’s figure will also increase significantly after 5pm, when voters cast their ballots after they finish work.

vote 016_90571643 Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald TD casting her vote in St Joseph's School in Cabra, Dublin earlier. Sam Boal Sam Boal

An exit poll on the results of the European and local elections and the divorce referendum is expected before midnight.

RTÉ and TG4 will announce the result of their Red C exit poll, and the results will be read by David McCullagh and Páidí Ó Lionaird live on The Late Late Show tonight.

Ballot boxes will be opened at 9am tomorrow and results will begin to emerge across the country tomorrow, continuing into Sunday, but it may be early next week before the final results are all confirmed.

With reporting from Michelle Hennessy and Gráinne Ní Aodha.

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