Sunday 25 September 2016

The morning after the earthquake before – the summary so far

The top ten things we have learned from the General Election 2016 count so far

Barry Lennon

Published 27/02/2016 | 22:30

Following counting across the country into the early hours, more than half the seats have been filled – 91 of 158.

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The most recent results have come from Cork East where Labour's Sean Sherlock, Fine Gael's David Stanton and Fianna Fáil's Kevin O'Keeffe  were elected on count eight in the last hour.

A total of 18 constituencies have completed counting.

Another 21 have been adjourned and some will restart between 9am and 11am today.

Wexford has adjourned its count until 10am on Monday morning. Only 52 votes separate the lower two candidates in Wexford.  A full recount is to take place on Monday from 10am after a request from Sinn Féin.

The Government parties have experienced heavy losses at the polls today but there has been successes on other fronts.

Leo Varadkar is elected at Phibblestown Community Hall in Dublin 15. He is pictured alongside his Mum and Dad Miriam and Ashok Varadkar.
Pic Steve Humphreys
Leo Varadkar is elected at Phibblestown Community Hall in Dublin 15. He is pictured alongside his Mum and Dad Miriam and Ashok Varadkar. Pic Steve Humphreys

Here are the top ten things we have learned from the General Election 2016 count so far:

1. Ministerial office will not save you

Leo Varadkar is elected at Phibblestown Community Hall in Dublin 15. He is pictured alongside his Mum and Dad Miriam and Ashok Varadkar.
Pic Steve Humphreys
Leo Varadkar is elected at Phibblestown Community Hall in Dublin 15. He is pictured alongside his Mum and Dad Miriam and Ashok Varadkar. Pic Steve Humphreys

The stage is set for some high-profile departures as Ministers have been eliminated and tallies indicate more are to follow.

Communications Minster Alex White was first to go, former Justice Minister Alan Shatter followed while Minister Jan O’Sullivan and Junior Ministers Kathleen Lynch and James Reilly look like the could be in serious trouble.

Counting of ballot papers in Tipperary Credit: Frank McGrath
Counting of ballot papers in Tipperary Credit: Frank McGrath

2. Labour need a serious overhaul

It has been a bad day at the office for Labour. Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin admitted that the party “had to rebuild.”

The demise will be hard to stomach as the Party Leader Joan Burton had to fight for her seat.

3. The slowest count centre has become the fastest

AAA's candidate Ruth Coppinger and Fianna Fail candidate Jack Chambers during a radio interview at Phibblestown Community Hall in Dublin 15.
Pic Steve Humphreys
27th February 2016
AAA's candidate Ruth Coppinger and Fianna Fail candidate Jack Chambers during a radio interview at Phibblestown Community Hall in Dublin 15. Pic Steve Humphreys 27th February 2016

Laois was the first constituency to finish counting after holding the title of one of the slowest count centres.

The county used to be part Laois-Offaly, but has since lost two seats which has appeared to have made all the difference.

4. Gender quotas have worked

It appears gender quotas have worked – especially in parties experiencing growth.Fianna Fáil looks likely to have the most women added to their parliamentary party.

Anne Rabbitte, Margaret Murphy O’Mahony, Fiona O’Loughlin, Jennifer Murnane O’Connor and Mary Butler are looking certain to be elected and Catherine Ardagh, Niamh Smyth and Lisa Chambers are all in contention.

5. Green Party can be forgiven

Voters appear to have forgiven the Green Party after their 2011 wipe-out, though progress is small. Eamon Ryan has a good chance Dublin Bay South and Catherine Martin has been elected in Dublin South.

6. Support for Independents is growing

Shane Ross was the first elected TD in country and was soon joined by Sean Canney in Galway East, Michael Lowry in Tipperary and Denis Naughten in Roscommon. Growth for independents set to continue as counting drags on into Monday.

7. Mick Wallace can’t take support for granted

Mick  Wallace’s drop in support was the biggest shock to the Independent brand. The Wexford TD looks to be in a struggle for the last seat after topping the polling last time out in 2011.

8. The Social Democrats have made fine debut performance

For General Election first timers the Social Democrats have done well. They were the first party to return all their sitting TDs and Dublin candidate Gary Gannon has done well even if he fails to get elected.

9. Others will make a move for power

Health Minster Leo Varadkar has said he will expect other parties to make a move as the parties now look at their coalition options as Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin did not rule out doing a deal with Fine Gael entirel yesterday.

10. Fine Gael’s second best election

Tallies and opinion polls suggest Fine Gael will register their second most number of TDs. However, the 2016 will feel like a defeat after the high of 2011.

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