'Given a choice between stability and chaos, people wanted chaos: Seven things we know so far
THIS count may last for a number of days, but the repercussions may last a generation or two. Here's some of the main talking points so far:
*It’s taken 100 years but civil war politics is over.
Fine Gael and Fianna Fail are likely to bring in less than 50pc of the vote between. Voters are swinging left in record numbers and the political landscape is going to have be redrawn.
*All the pre-election talk about coalition options was warranted.
The party leaders hated journalists asking who they would do business with but it turns out that if we are to have a new government a lot of people are going to have to eat their words.
*The country is in total recall.
Fianna Fail is back as a serious political force. Despite the outgoing coalition’s best efforts to remind us that Micheal Martin wrecked the place, voters have decided he’s not such a bad fella after all.
*Nobody is going to Washington for St Patrick’s Day.
Baring a miracle there won’t be a new government formed by March 17 so Barack Obama is likely to cancel this year’s celebrations at the White House.
*Given a choice between stability and chaos, people wanted chaos.
We are into unprecedented territory but there is little doubt that voters weren’t in the mood for Fine Gael’s motto ‘keep the recovery going’. Enda Kenny’s plan was to bore the country into submission but today the country (not just the west) is awake.
*The unemployment numbers are set to jump.
Fine Gael and Labour face the loss of up to 30 seats meaning that after years of claiming to reduce the live register they will be adding to it over the next few days
*And some big names will be on the list
The likes of ministers Joan Burton, Alex White, Paschal Donohoe, James Reilly Jan O'Sullivan and Kathleen Lynch are in fights for their political lives, while Mick Wallace and Maureen O'Sullivan are also struggling in the early tallies