A polling station sign in Ranelagh this morning. Sam Boal/

Polls close in Dublin Bay South after first election of the pandemic

40% of voters cast a ballot in the constituency.

LAST UPDATE | Jul 8th 2021, 10:57 PM

POLLS HAVE CLOSED in the Dublin Bay South by-election, the first election to be held in Ireland during the pandemic.

Turnout was initially low throughout the day, but picked up later into the evening.

Voter turnout was around 40% by 9pm, according to figures from RTÉ News.

Earlier, at 5pm, only 24% of voters had shown up to cast their ballot.

Turnout was highest in Ringsend, reaching 44% by 9pm.

It was 40% in Harold’s Cross and 41% in Sandymount, while Ranelagh saw the lowest turnout by a distance at 27%.

Candidates have been campaigning in the constituency for a number of weeks to replace the former Fine Gael TD Eoghan Murphy, who resigned his Dáil seat in April.

Polls were open from 7am until 10.30pm tonight. (Polling hours have been extended by 30 minutes to assist Covid-19 arrangements, closing at 10.30pm instead of the traditional 10pm.)

As part of a number of pandemic-related health measures, voters were asked to bring their own pens or pencils to the polling station.

Pencils were still available at the polling stations if required, but voters were asked to bring their own as part of efforts to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

Voters were also being requested to vote during quieter periods, to use hand sanitiser and not to “linger inside the building to chat to friends or neighbours”.

Face coverings were needed inside the polling station.

“If you do not have a pen or pencil, the polling staff will provide you with a new pencil. There is no need to return the pencil to the polling staff,” the Dublin City Returning Officer said last month.

Counting will take place tomorrow at the RDS in Ballsbridge, but social distancing will be maintained within the centre and access will be restricted to “election staff, candidates, their agents and media”.

Dublin Bay South is home to the affluent suburbs of Terenure, Rathmines, Rathfarnam and Ballsbridge, but also has one of the highest proportion of renters in any constituency, with 43% registered as tenants rather than homeowners.

With reporting from the Press Association.

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