Sinn Fein's Chris Andrews celebrates being elected in Dublin Bay South. Niall Carson/PA Wire

As it happened: Sinn Féin surge sees party sweep to 37 seats as last seats filled in general election 2020

Ministers Regina Doherty, Mary Mitchell O’Connor and Shane Ross are among the high-profile names to lose their seats.

COUNTING IN THE general election began yesterday and continued today across the country until all 159 seats in the 33rd Dáil are filled.

We kept you up to date with all the latest news throughout the day.

Here’s a round-up of what you need to know:

Good morning, it’s Órla Ryan here again.

Thanks for staying with us over the weekend. We’ll keep you up to date with all the latest election news today.

First up, here is complete list of all the TDs elected so far.

Counting is complete in 13 of 39 constituencies and the remaining 26 courts will resume this morning.

The story of the election so far has been the Sinn Féin surge – the party has won the highest percentage of first preference votes and has secured 29 seats to date.

general-election-ireland-2020 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the count centre in Phibblestown Community Centre in Dublin yesterday. Liam McBurney / PA Wire/PA Images Liam McBurney / PA Wire/PA Images / PA Wire/PA Images

To get you fully up to speed, here are the key points of the election to date.

One of Sinn Féin’s biggest coups has come in Leo Varadkar’s own constituency Dublin West, where Paul Donnelly was elected at the first count.

To get a grip on how significant that result is: no outgoing Taoiseach has ever failed to top the poll in their home constituency the next time out. Added to that, the last time a Taoiseach failed to get his running mate elected was in 1989. 

We’re not at the finish line just yet but some of the focus has turned to seat projections and possible government formations.

Could there be a coalition between two of the three biggest parties, most likely backed by independents and/or smaller parties, or a Sinn Féin-led government, for example?

Here we take a look at the coalition options for the next government, and where party leaders stand on the issue.

pjimage-29-7 Regina Doherty, Shane Ross and Ruth Coppinger ave all lost their seats.

A number of sitting TDs and ministers have lost their seats including Fine Gael’s Regina Doherty, Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection; Fine Gael’s Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Minister of State for Higher Education; and independent Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport.

Other high-profile names who lost their seats include Ruth Coppinger of Solidarity-People Before Profit; Labour’s Joan Burton, a former Tánaiste; and Fianna Fáil’s Lisa Chambers.

Another casualty of the election is the Independent Alliance – the collection of independent TDs who propped up the Fine Gael government after the 2016 election.

Out of six candidates elected four years ago, none remain part of the alliance today – after two members left midway through the Dáil term.

The alliance, which took the decision to enter into government, has ended through a combination of retirements and losses on election night.

Shane Ross, sports minister and the most high-profile member of the alliance, suffered an early defeat in Dublin Rathdown, while in Longford-Westmeath Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran also seems to have lost out.

Ahead of the election, ministers Finian McGrath and John Halligan announced that they wouldn’t be contesting the vote – decisions that considerably diminished the power of the alliance even before a single vote had been cast.

My colleague Dominic McGrath has taken a look at the rise and fall of the alliance. 

Roisin Shortall, co-leader of the Social Democrats, has been elected in Dublin North West on the fourth count with 8,148 votes.

Éamon Ó Cuív (Fianan Fáil), Mairéad Farrell (Sinn Féin) and Noel Grealish (independent) have been elected on the eighth count in Galway West.

Labour leader Brendan Howlin has been re-elected in the Wexford constituency on the eighth count with 12,930 votes.

More from my colleague Céimin Burke in Galway West:

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In a development that may help cross-party relations, a couple who ran for election in the same constituency for different parties have both been elected in a dramatic final count.

Holly Cairns, who ran for the Social Democrats, and Christopher O’Sullivan, who ran for Fianna Fáil, took the second and third seats in three-seater Cork South West in the early hours of this morning.

0026 Leaders Debate Micheál Martin, Leo Varadkar and Mary Lou McDonald ahead of the RTÉ Prime Time debate last week. Leah Farrell / Leah Farrell / /

As speculation about possible future coalitions mount, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has already made contact with a number of smaller political parties.

Speaking on Morning Ireland, McDonald reiterated that her preference is for a government without Fianan Fáil or Fine Gael.

However, she said she will speak to every party and independents about government formation.

McDonald said Sinn Féin has already been in touch with the Green Party, the Social Democrats and Solidarity-People Before Profit, and will also talk to independents and Labour, “everybody outside the old two”, to establish “whether or not there are the numbers to deliver a government without Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael”.

McDonald added: “Of course I’ll talk to Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar and I think the democratic thing is for them to speak to me too. I’ll speak to everyone because that’s what grown-up people do.”

She said she expects Sinn Féin to get more than 30 seats and said, in hindsight, the party should have run more candidates.

“Hindsight is a great thing, of course we should have fielded more candidates (had we know how well we would do). Certainly if I were a political clairvoyant, of course we would have run more candidates.”

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin yesterday appeared to somewhat soften his stance on going into government with Sinn Féin, having repeatedly ruled out such an option during the campaign.

Martin yesterday said there are “significant issues to be resolved” but refused to rule out a coalition with Sinn Féin.

“We’ll assess it when the full count is in and the full number of seats are in. I’m a democrat. I listen to the people, I respect the decision of the people,” he told RTÉ.

However, outgoing Taoiseach Leo Varadkar appears less open to talks with Sinn Féin. Speaking at the RDS count centre yesterday he said Fine Gael will not change its mind about not wanting to form a coalition with Sinn Féin.

Varadkar said he had made his party’s position “very clear” during the campaign and that Fine Gael had won votes on that basis. “My position hasn’t changed,” he added.

Is Leo Varadkar’s role as leader of Fine Gael at risk given the party’s drop in support?

Paudie Coffey, Fine Gael Senator and former TD, has called on Varadkar to reflect on his position, telling Waterford’s WLRFM: “Fine Gael, I think took their eye off the ball … and the people have sent a strong message.”

The results are coming in thick and fast now, here is the latest list of elected TDs

Sinn Féin’s Chris Andrews has been elected in Dublin Bay South on the eighth count, with Fine Gael’s Eoghan Murphy (the outgoing Housing Minister) and Fianna Fáil’s Jim O’Callaghan being elected without reaching the quota.

Fine Gael’s Kate O’Connell has failed to retain her seat.

I’m handing over the liveblog to my colleague Conor McCrave now, thanks for staying with us so far today.

Fine Gael’s John Paul Phelan and Fianna Fáil’s Jennifer Murnane O’Connor have both been elected to the Carlow-Kilkenny constituency on the eighth count. 

There is one more seat to fill in the five-seater – Sinn Féin’s Kathleen Funchion and Fianna Fáil’s John McGuinness have already secured two seats. 


Fianna Fáil’s Justice Spokesperson Jim O’Callaghan describes a “volatile electorate” moments after he is re-elected in the Dublin Bay South constituency. 

A Downing Street spokesperson has weighed in following the surge in support for Sinn Féin, insisting that the UK’s “close” relationship with Ireland would continue. 

“We are of course following the results of the Irish election carefully,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said.

“The UK and Ireland are close neighbours and friends and we look forward to continuing to work together.”

The spokesman added: “The close relationship between the UK and Ireland will continue regardless of the election result.”

Sinn Fein’s Pauline Tully takes the third seat in Cavan-Monaghan. 

Pauline Tully

Matt Carthy (SF) and Heather Humphreys (FG) were both elected on the first count yesterday after both exceeded the 12,031 quota based on first preference votes. 

The counts are coming in thick and fast from across the country but as it stands, Sinn Féin has secured 33 seats, outdoing its last general election results, and ahead of Fianna Fáil’s 19 seats. 

Fine Gael sits on 17 seats at the moment, and others including the Green Party and Social Democrats have also increased their seats compared to the last Dáil. 

results liveblog

Labour Leader Brendan Howlin yesterday said he did not want to be in government without a sizeable number of Labour TDs and said he had not heard from Mary Lou McDonald. 

Today, since he was re-elected, he says McDonald has been trying to contact him and that he missed the call. 

Independent Christy Burke is attempting to make it to the Dáil for a 10th time this year and it looks set to be tight as the results of Dublin Central are emerging. 

People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny had yesterday considered himself out of the running to be re-elected. 

But the race is hotting up and transfers could be crucial to keeping him in the running to take the fourth seat if he can leapfrog Fianna Fáil’s John Curran on the next count. 


With Fianna Fáil’s Mary Fitzpatrick eliminated in Dublin Central, all eyes will turn to her transfers.

Independent Christy Burke and Social Democrat Gary Gannon will both be hoping for her transfer votes to clinch the fourth seat in the constituency. 

The Green’s Neasa Hourigan and outgoing finance minister Paschal Donohoe are almost certain to join the already elected Mary Lou McDonald to complete the four-seater lineup. 

Clare has yet to elect any TDs to the four seats which are up for grabs. 

The Green Party’s Roisín Garvey has just been eliminated and her 7,339 votes will now be distributed among the remaining five candidates. 

roisin garvey

People Before Profit’s Gino Kenny, who had conceded defeat early yesterday, has just been elected to Dublin Mid West on the ninth count. 

Outgoing minister of state Michael D’Arcy has been eliminated in Wexford, while fellow outgoing minister of state Paul Kehoe is trailing last of the candidates in that constituency. 

Kehoe is likely to take much of D’Arcy’s transfers though, which should push him ahead of Fianna Fáil’s Malcolm Byrne. 

James Browne of Fianna Fáil and independent Verona Murphy both look set to secure a seat. 


Holy medals and hole-y shoes – Fianna Fáil’s Cathal Crowe has his own traditions on election count days as he looks safe for a seat in Clare, where a candidate has yet to be elected. 

I’m going to hand you back to my colleague Órla Ryan who will keep you in the loop as the rest of the afternoon unfolds. Thanks for following the election results with

Thanks Conor.

An update from Tipperary is just in – on the eighth count, independent Mattie McGrath and Sinn Féin’s Martin Browne have joined Michael Lowry (who topped the poll and was elected on the first count yesterday).

Meanwhile Sinn Féin’s Réada Cronin, Fine Gael’s Bernard Durkan and Fianna Fáil’s James Lawless have taken the final three seats in Kildare North.

Sinn Féin’s Claire Kerrane has taken the final seat in Roscommon-Galway.

Fine Gael candidate and former minister James Reilly has been eliminated in Dublin Fingal.

A full list of elected TDs can be read here.

After securing the fourth and final seat in Dublin Mid West, PBP TD Gino Kenny said: “It’s a great feeling and I dedicate this to all my comrades in the party and the people who have been campaigning for medical cannabis over the last three and a half years.”

Kenny had all but conceded defeat yesterday. 

Gotta love the drama of PR-STV all the same.

Life comes at you fast.

Verona Murphy, was ran as an independent candidate after being dropped by Fine Gael over controversial comments about Direct Provision and immigrants, has been elected in Wexford.

Bad news for Fine Gael Senator Catherine Noone who has been eliminated in Dublin Bay North.

Noone’s campaign was dealt a serious blow after she said Leo Varadkar was “autistic”, “on the spectrum” and that he “doesn’t know what to do with himself” in social situations.

She later apologised and withdrew the remarks.

Speaking to Channel 4 at the RDS, outgoing Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said:

“There is nothing inevitable about what the nature of the next government will be…

“My own party, Fine Gael, wants to be in and wants to lead the next government and we have yet to see how many seats we are going to have and what will be the seat difference between ourselves and Fianna Fáil.”

We’ve a breakdown of potential coalition options for the next government here.

Speaking about his own campaign in Dublin Central, Donohoe said: “You judge any personal campaign by whether you get elected or not and I think I’ll see the answer to that in the next few hours.”

Counting has been completed in Dublin Central where there was a serious battle for the fourth and final seat.

The Green Party’s Neasa Hourigan, Fine Gael’s Paschal Donohoe (the outgoing Finance Minister), and the Social Democrats’ Gary Gannon have now been elected.

At times fewer than 300 votes separated the candidates in line for the final seat – Gannon, former lord mayor Christy Burke, and Fianna Fáil’s Mary Fitzpatrick.

It was Burke’s 10th attempt at winning a Dáil seat.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald easily topped the poll in the constituency on the first count yesterday.

Earlier, Gannon told us he was ”cautiously optimistic”.

Meanwhile Labour’s Alan Kelly and Fianna Fáil’s Jackie Cahill have taken the final two seats in Tipperary.

Fianna Fáil’s Pádraig O’Sullivan has taken the second seat in Cork North Central.

A full list of elected TDs can be read here.

It appears as though there is more disquiet about Leo Varadkar’s position in Fine Gael.

Fine Gael’s Richard Bruton (the outgoing Minister of Communications, Climate Action & Environment) has been elected in Dublin Bay North.

The agony and the ecstasy.

general-election-ireland-2020 Fine Gael's Kate O'Connell is embraced after she lost her seat in Dublin Bay South. Niall Carson / PA Wire Niall Carson / PA Wire / PA Wire

general-election-ireland-2020 Roisin Shortall, co-leader of the Social Democrats, celebrating being elected in Dublin North West. Niall Carson / PA Wire Niall Carson / PA Wire / PA Wire

The latest from Carlow-Kilkenny and Dublin South Central.

The latest from my colleague Bethany Langham at the RDS where Patrick Costello (Green Party) has been elected and Paul McAuliffe (Fianna Fáil) looks set to be. 

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said a border poll appeared “inevitable” within the next decade following Sinn Féin’s electoral success.

The former Fianna Fáil leader said: “I think a border poll is inevitable. If you ask me when that is, I think it’s probably five years off at least.

“I think the Sinn Féin position is it should be held within five years. So let’s say we are talking about it being five years off, I do not think you are going to get the circumstances where it would become a condition of government that it has to be held in the short term.

“But it will be inevitable over this decade.”

On BBC Radio 4’s World at One he warned against rushing towards a poll on reunification before extensive preparatory work had been completed.

“It can only be done when the preparation is done, when the case is made, when it has been well explained, when people know the outcome,” he said. “To try and push it or rush it, which some people will probably try to do, would be a grave mistake.”

Meanwhile Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill has said it was a “good day” for Sinn Féin.

Speaking at Stormont, O’Neill commented: “Today is a good day on the back of what is a game-changer election for Sinn Féin in the 26 counties.

“The people have spoken in large numbers, they have thrown their support behind Sinn Féin. I think that our message of change has very much resonated with the voters.

“They were tired of the status quo, they were tired of the establishment parties and their arrogance, they were tired of the fact they have been failed on the housing and health front.

“We’re very grateful for all those people who came out and voted in such large numbers for the Sinn Féin team.

“We now are involved in the next stage of that which is wait until the votes are all counted towards the end of today but Mary-Lou [McDonald] has already reached out to the other smaller parties who also had a message of change to look about how we can form a government that actually reflects on the needs of citizens.

“We’ll be very true to the mandate which we sought from the people.”

Asked how far up the agenda will preparation for a united Ireland be, O’Neill said: “We said we want to negotiate a programme for government that delivers on what we said to the electorate throughout this election campaign.

“We have provided solutions in terms of the health crisis and the housing crisis so we will want to work with others to establish a programme for government that reflects how we can deliver upon those promises.

“But obviously we are Irish republicans, there is no secret of that, and clearly we will have asks in terms of the republican project, clearly we will have asks in terms of the kind of society we want to build.

“But obviously at the end of the day we have said there should be unity referendum within five years so that’s the position we will take into negotiations.”

When asked if she believes Ireland has moved closer to unification, she said: “Yes, I absolutely do. We have said things are going in this direction for some time, I think for a number of reasons not least the fact that the unionist majority, the very basis on which this northern state was founded, is gone and has been gone over the last number of elections.

“But I think this is a seismic election shift in the 26 counties, Sinn Féin are the largest party in the 26 counties, I think that is significant in itself.”

Turns out Paschal Donohoe is a big Arnie fan. Who knew.

Speaking to reporters at the RDS, including our political correspondent Christina Finn, Paschal Donohoe has once again ruled out Fine Gael going into coalition with Sinn Féin. 

Donohoe has also backed Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to remain as leader of Fine Gael following the party’s poor performance in the general election.

Speaking after being elected in Dublin Central, Donohoe expressed full confidence in Varadkar.

He said: “I absolutely support Leo Varadkar in his continued leadership of Fine Gael. The issues we have to reflect on as a party, how we respond back to the message that the people of Ireland have sent to us, will be best led if it is led by Leo.”

“We are a party of the centre and the party that has looked to bring economic and social change to our country but we recognise, and we did so in the campaign, that for many people, that change was not enough.

“We have become associated with the status quo. We will change that and we will change that under the leadership of Leo Varadkar.”

His comments come after others in the party said Varadkar should reflect on his position.

Four TDs have been elected in Clare: independent Michael McNamara, Sinn Féin’s Violet-Anne Wynne, Fianna Fáil’s Cathal Crowe and Fine Gael’s Joe Carey.

Timmy Dooley (FF) has lost his seat there.

Crowe, the Mayor of Clare, who was among the first people to boycott the since-cancelled controversial Royal Irish Constabulary commemoration service.

Meanwhile Fianna Fail’s Barry Cowen has been elected in Laois-Offaly on the eighth count.

general-election-ireland-2020 Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald pictured after being elected in Dublin Central yesterday. Niall Carson / PA Wire/PA Images Niall Carson / PA Wire/PA Images / PA Wire/PA Images

Mary Lou McDonald has said she “may well be the next Taoiseach”.

In an impromptu walkabout around Dublin’s Moore Street, the Sinn Fein president was asked whether she will be the next leader of Ireland.

“I may well be the next Taoiseach, yes,” she said.

I’m going to hand the liveblog over to my colleague Sean Murray now. Thanks for staying with me so far.

Before I go, here’s a reminder that a full list of elected TDs can be read here.

Thanks Órla.

And in that vein, here’s how the national picture is currently looking. Sinn Féin won’t be winning any more seats, but are sitting pretty on their highest ever result – 37.

national picture 7

Stephen McDermott has put together this list of the 10 candidates who secured the most first-preference votes in this year’s election.

Nine of them are in Sinn Féin. A gold star to whoever guesses who the other one is.

poll toppers

We’ve a final result from Dublin North West.

Fianna Fáil’s Paul McAuliffe – who’s currently the Dublin Lord Mayor – has won the last seat ahead of Solidarity-PBP’s Conor Reddy.

dublin north west

Here’s what Fianna Fáil’s Paul McAuliffe has had to say after being elected in Dublin North West.

He says putting a government together is the responsibility of “every party” and that they all need to work together to make it a reality.

Another example of Fianna Fáil being willing to enter into government with Sinn Féin?

There are some very tight constituencies with seats still up for grabs. 

Minister for Education Joe McHugh could be in trouble in Donegal.

Independent Thomas Pringle has proven very transfer friendly and looks good for a seat.

They’re onto the eighth count there now, with three seats left after Sinn Féin won the first two.


Speaking of tight races, try picking who’ll lose out in Louth as four into three just won’t go.

Will Labour’s Ged Nash benefit the most from Green Party transfers?


An update from Kildare South.

Fine Gael’s Martin Heydon and independent Cathal Berry have taken the final seats. 

Fianna Fáil’s Fiona O’Loughlin lost out on the eighth and final count.


Ah this is nice.

Labour’s Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, who looks set to take a seat in Dublin Bay North, welcoming his mam and dad to the count centre in the RDS.

All to play for there, still, as they enter the 12th count.

Back to Donegal now. 

Independent Thomas Pringle has been telling RTÉ that he’d be willing to work with Sinn Fein for a left-led government.

Results of the latest count in Kerry.

Fine Gael’s Brendan Griffin has exceeded the quota and he’s in.

So is independent Danny Healy Rae and he’ll join his brother Micheal in the 33rd Dáil.

“Olé, olé” is the chant from the Healy-Rae supporters.

One more seat left for grabs in Kerry. 

Fine Gael’s Alan Farrell has won a seat in Dublin Fingal after the 11th count. 

dublin fingal

The final count is in from Louth. This was one of the most fiercely contested constituencies.

No one meets the quota but three of them have been elected – Ged Nash (Labour), Fergus O’Dowd (Fine Gael) and Peter Fitzpatrick (independent). 

Declan Breathnach (Fianna Fáil) has lost out at the last.

Image from iOS (24) RTÉ RTÉ

The latest result comes from Cork North Central.

Fine Gael’s Colm Burke and Solidarity-People Before Profit’s Mick Barry have taken the last two seats.

As expected, government chief whip Seán Kyne has lost his seat.

His party colleague Hildegarde Naughton has taken the last seat in Galway West.

Here’s confirmation of the make-up of Cork North Central and Louth.

cork north central 1

louth 1

Fianna Fáil’s Brendan Smith is on course to take a seat for Fianna Fáil in Cavan-Monaghan alongside Niamh Smyth.

He tells RTÉ News it wasn’t a mistake to run three candidates in the constituency.

“I don’t know how right the strategy was when we were looking for one seat to run two candidates,” he says. 

“People in the media – the national narrative in 2011 was that Fianna Fáil wouldn’t survive… I was sincerely hoping we would come back in this election in the early 50s (seats).”

He says party leader Micheál Martin doesn’t need to consider his position. 

Yes or no, should FF go into government with Sinn Féin? “No,” Smith says. 

It’s very much endgame now – albeit a long evening ahead in some count centres.

133 of the 160 seats have been filled.

national picture 8

We’ve more on those comments from Mary Lou on the possibility of becoming the next Taoiseach here

She said: “We have commenced discussions and contact with the leaders of the Green Party, Social Democrats, People Before Profit, the Labour Party.

“I hope we will meet over the coming days to explore in real terms whether we have the numbers and whether the political will exists to deliver that new government that is clearly demanded.

“We are absolutely clear we won’t do another five years in the same way as the last four years panned out.”

Danny Healy-Rae is talking about smelling blood on RTÉ News now.

He says Fianna Fáil might have thought they smelt his blood but it wasn’t his blood.

He retained his seat on the sixth count.

On his controversial “planet” comments, he says what he said came out wrong.

He says attacks from the media on him attack the people he represents. 

We’ve a count coming in Dublin South West.

There’s only one seat filled here. 

And Paul Murphy has exceeded the quota and has been elected. He benefited hugely from Sinn Féin transfers. 

There are still three seats left there. Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone is down but not out… yet. 

dublin south west 1

Nicky Ryan stepping in for my colleague Sean, who’s running off to cover a breaking story.

Here’s a look at how things stand right now:

37 seats are going to Sinn Féin, followed by 29 for Fine Gael and 28 for Fianna Fáil – the rest are spread out amongst other parties, with 26 left to be filled.


childrens-hospitals-chief-named PA Archive / PA Images PA Archive / PA Images / PA Images

James Reilly was a significant voice in the previous Fine Gael-Labour coalition government, but after losing his Dáil seat in 2016 and failing twice more to get it back, he’s retiring from politics.

He told RTÉ News:

My current reflection is, after 13 years in public life, I owe my wife a debt of gratitude, and I promised I wouldn’t spend more than 10 years, so I’m going back to look after my family and practice [medicine].

Read more here.

Lads, we’re on count 11 in Wicklow, and still only one candidate has been elected. It looks like Jennifer Whitmore will take another seat for the Social Democrats after the next count.

Or maybe the one after that?

Or maybe this count will just continue for all eternity?

Pat Casey has been eliminated, another hit for Fianna Fáil.

Mary Lou and Brendan are wasting no time.

As it stands, the Labour party would form a very minor part of any further government – they have just four seats, although could pick up another few if things go their way in the coming hours. Remember, they won 37 seats last time they were in coalition in 2011.

Still, all voices will be crucial if Sinn Féin want to get an confidence and supply agreement up and running. Here’s a quick reminder of what that is.

Noel Rock is undergoing a quick rebrand after losing his seat.


We have another elimination in Dublin South-West, this time it’s Fianna Fáil’s Charlie O’Connor.

Independent TD Katherine Zappone is still more than 1,000 votes behind Fianna Fáil’s John Lahart, who is currently in line to take the final seat.

Will the next few transfers be enough to save her?


Here’s what Sean ran away from this liveblog to suss out:

sinn-fein-publish-policy-document-on-energy-efficient-housing Leah Farrell / Leah Farrell / /

A video being shared on social media shows newly re-elected Sinn Féin for Waterford David Cullinane shouting “Up the ‘RA”.

“They didn’t break the hunger strikers, they didn’t break Bobby Sands and Kevin Lynch, they’ll never break us, they’ll never break Sinn Féin,” he says. Kevin Lynch died in the Maze Prison in 1981 and had run for election in the Waterford constituency.

He concludes: “What we say is, up the Republic, up the Ra, and tiocfaidh ár lá.”

Speaking to Matt Cooper on The Last Word on Today FM this evening, Cullinane said that he “never distanced himself at all from the IRA, or from Bobby Sands, and the people who died on hunger strike, or for those were involved in the armed struggle.

I’m never one who will distance myself from Sinn Féin’s past, or the IRA’s past. I don’t agree with everything the IRA did. Of course I don’t. Do I think Martin McGuinness was wrong to join the IRA? No I don’t… the bottom line is that the IRA is gone, it doesn’t mean we don’t celebrate or commemorate those volunteers.

Sean Murray back here to take the liveblog back from Nicky’s eminently capable hands.

Mary Lou McDonald was just on the RTÉ Six One News, and was asked about David Cullinane’s “up the Ra” video.

She said she hadn’t seen the video and this was the first she’d heard of it.

“He has to explain it,” she added.

In other news, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has won a seat in Laois-Offaly for Fine Gael.

Green Party’s Pippa Hackett would need an awful lot of transfers to secure a seat.

laois offaly

All the seats in Kerry are now filled.

Fianna Fáil’s Norma Foley has won the last seat ahead of party colleague John Brassil who had been seeking re-election.

norma foley

While Saoirse McHugh didn’t make it for the Green Party in Mayo, she does has a very lovely dog.

Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath is speaking now on the RTÉ Six One News.

He says his party acknowledges Sinn Féin won the popular vote.

“The reality is it is a very changed landscape in the Dáil,” he says. “The onus is on Sinn Féin to build that.”

McGrath says he doubts Mary Lou McDonald will have the numbers to form a stable government with the smaller parties and independents.

He says Fianna Fáil has “never shirked its responsibility” but “paid the price for that” through the confidence and supply agreement. 

He’s asked who the Taoiseach will be in the 33rd Dáil. “That remains to be seen,” McGrath says. 

The Social Democrats have had a smart election, targeting specific seats and are on course to win six of them.

Bethany Langham spoke to Cian O’Callaghan who’s in the mix to win a seat in Dublin Bay North for the party.

He says the Social Democrat message resonated with people.

Mary Lou McDonald is due to address reporters in the next few minutes.

I’m sure she’ll have seen the video of Cullinane by now.

Our reporter Conor McCrave is reporting from the scene, and will bring us updates.

Donegal’s constituency has finished the final count.

It’s Fianna Fáil’s Pat the Cope Gallagher who loses out. He had first won a seat in the county in 1981.

Independent Thomas Pringle, Fine Gael’s Joe McHugh and Fianna Fáil’s Charlie McConalogue have completed the five-seater line-up.

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With the loss of Pat the Cope Gallagher, it’s turning out to be a really bad day for Fianna Fáil.

Outgoing TDs like Timmy Dooley, John Curran and Declan Breathnach are among those who’ve lost out today. 

Chip van operators will be hoping for a second election sometime in the near future.

In Dublin South West, Fine Gael’s Colm Brophy has won a seat.

Katherine Zappone is still clinging on, but could be eliminated in this next count.

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Duncan Smith, meanwhile, has taken the final seat for Labour in Dublin Fingal.


Labour got battered in the 2016 general election. And it’s failed to make strides in this election to win back the electorate.

After another disappointing day at the polls, Conor McCrave takes a look here at if there’s a future for the Labour party.

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Mary Lou McDonald has been speaking to reporters.

She says Sinn Féin TDs will meet tomorrow or Wednesday and begin discussing its plans for government negotiations. 

She reiterates her preference for not having Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil in government, but indicates she’s willing to talk to anybody.

On David Cullinane’s comments, she says that his “Up the Ra” comments were part of a “broader longer speech”. 

On whether she’ll be Taoiseach, she says she’s already “Taoiseach of Cabra” and that’s a start.

David Cullinane was there too.

He said yesterday was an “emotional” day. He says the 30-second clip was part of a “longer, broader” speech. He says the comments weren’t about the “here and now” but the past.

“The IRA is gone as everybody knows, and I celebrate that the same as anyone else,” he says.

And we have a full set of TDs in Laois-Offaly.

Former Sinn Féin TD – and now independent – Carol Nolan has been elected on the 11th count, along with Fianna Fáil’s Seán Fleming.

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Back to Mary Lou McDonald, she’s said that comments such as those made by Cullinane “can serve as a distraction”. 

She said “I’m not their mammy” and she doesn’t censor her TDs. But she expects them not to create “distractions”. 

The last seats in Dublin Bay North are expected to be filled very, very soon.

That’s almost every seat in Dublin now filled.

There are still two more to go in Dublin South West. Fianna Fáil’s John Lahart and the Green Party’s Francis Duffy look in the driving seat to get in ahead of Katherine Zappone.

Here’s another look at the national picture now with only a few seats left. 

Sinn Féin still in the lead in terms of seats but Fianna Fáil should eclipse them before the counting is over.

If you’ve not checked it out already, our election centre has all the info you need to know.

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Interesting here from Labour’s Aodhán Ó Ríordáin.

He doesn’t think Labour have a mandate to enter government.

Fianna Fáil’s Seán Haughey, meanwhile, is opening the door for his party to get into government formation talks with Sinn Féin.

In Wicklow, we’ve finished the 13th count now.

Jennifer Whitmore is just 12 votes off the quota for the Social Democrats.

Joe Behan’s votes are now going to be distributed.

Almost there now with Fine Gael’s Andrew Doyle and Green Steven Matthews locked in an almighty tussle for the last seat.

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And Kevin Boxer Moran – who was in contention right to the last – has failed to keep his seat.

Fianna Fáil takes two seats in Longford-Westmeath with Joe Flaherty and Robert Troy while Fine Gael’s Peter Burke also gets in.

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It’s all over in Dublin South West.

And Minister Katherine Zappone has lost her seat.

Fianna Fáil’s John Lahart takes a seat.

And, joining his wife Catherine Martin in the 33rd Dáil, is Green Francis Duffy.

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The last few TDs coming in now.

They should be finished in Sligo-Leitrim tonight.

Independent Marian Harkin has just passed the quota.

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Eight. Seats. Left. 

Will we get them all tonight? I’ve my doubts over one.

Prove me wrong, Cavan-Monaghan. Prove me wrong.

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Labour’s Jan O’Sullivan – who lost her seat – has just tweeted this message, tagging other women who’ve lost their seat at this election:

“We have achieved a lot for women’s rights and shaping a more inclusive and tolerant Ireland but sad that many brave women I have worked with cross party on these issues have lost seats.”

Katherine Zappone has been saying she now plans to bow out of Irish politics after losing her seat in Dublin South West. 

“I always felt I was a bit of an accidental politician,” she says.

Fianna Fáil’s Robert Troy is speaking to Claire Byrne on RTÉ now.

He’s commiserating with his colleagues who failed to be elected.

“Quite clearly, our message did not resonate with the public,” he says. “We were punished for facilitating that government for the length of time that we did.”

The Fianna Fáil recriminations over confidence and supply goes on. 

He says Mary Lou McDonald should be allowed to go and see if she has enough support from left parties to form a government. 

We have a 14th count from Wicklow.

Jennifer Whitmore has exceeded the quota and takes a seat for the Soc Dems. 

Simon Harris (FG), Stephen Donnelly (FF) and Steven Matthews (Green) look good to take the rest of the seats. Andrew Doyle (FG) looks like missing out.  

Whitmore’s surplus will now be distributed, but that shouldn’t take long. 


Jennifer Whitmore is talking to Claire Byrne now.

She said the “long wait has been worth it”. 

The Social Democrats have had a great election, from two to six seats. 

One big feature of this election was how Sinn Féin’s huge surpluses were distributed.

The main beneficiaries were Solidarity-People Before Profit candidates.

I’ve had a look at this in more detail here.


We are so very close to being finished, with just seven seats left.

It shouldn’t be too much longer before a final vote in Wicklow, and fingers crossed, Sligo-Leitrim as well.

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The Social Democrats are enjoying themselves anyway, according to columnist Lise Hand.

Interesting take here from Fianna Fáil’s Malcolm Byrne, who failed to hold on to the seat in Wexford he won in a by-election in November.

He says he respects the mandate given to Sinn Féin and that they should seek a government.

“Fianna Fáil must accept that we will form a centrist opposition,” he says.

There’s clearly a difference of opinion emerging within Fianna Fáil over what way it should go next.

Two more candidates elected in Sligo-Leitrim on the 15th count, and that’s that for that constituency.

Three of them were slugging it out for the two seats.

Fianna Fáil’s Marc MacSharry retains his seat, while Frank Feighan benefits from transfers to win a seat for Fine Gael.

Fianna Fáil’s Eamon Scanlon has just missed out.

And we’ve a full result in Wicklow, and here’s who’s got in:

  • Simon Harris (FG)
  • Stephen Donnelly (FF)
  • Steven Matthews (Green)

Fine Gael’s Andrew Doyle has lost his seat.

And that’s 158 of the 160 seats filled.

Over to you, Cavan-Monaghan.

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We’re down to the bitter end in Cavan-Monaghan.

Robbie Gallagher’s been eliminated and his votes will be redistributed.

Seems a formality now for Smith and Smyth to be elected.

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We’ll be here with you until we have all 160 seats filled.

Will they finish the count in Cavan-Monaghan by midnight?

Poll Results:

Yes (157)
No (133)

In other news, Mary Lou McDonald has been speaking to BBC’s Newsnight.

Here, she says what a Sinn Féin government would ask of the EU.

The Green Party are keeping it in the family in south Dublin.

After Catherine Martin won a seat in Dublin Rathdown yesterday, her husband Francis Duffy won a seat today in Dublin South West.

They were there with their family to celebrate earlier today.

I, for one, am here for all the memes on Twitter urging Cavan-Monaghan to get a move on.

Must still be nervy for the candidates though. Fianna Fáil look good for the last two seats. 

And here we go, the result from Cavan-Monaghan is in. The final result in the country!

Brendan Smith and Niamh Smyth elected.

Two sitting FF TDs re-elected. 


And at the the time of 12.06 am, that’s it for the liveblog.

Signing off for the night! 

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