Monday 17 June 2019

Elections 2019: Turnout mixed across country with voting over at 10pm

Long ballot papers causing problems in polling stations

President of Ireland Michael D Higgins & his wife Sabina vote during the European Election, Divorce referendum & Council election at St Mary's Hospital in the Phoenix Park Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
President of Ireland Michael D Higgins & his wife Sabina vote during the European Election, Divorce referendum & Council election at St Mary's Hospital in the Phoenix Park Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Sinn Fein MEP Lynn Boylan, Sinn Fein TD Eoin O' Broin & their dog Cooper arrive to vote during the European Election, Divorce referendum & Council election at Scoil Aine, New Road, Clondalkin. Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar casting his vote at Scoil Thomáis in Castleknock for the European, local elections and referendum 2019 Pic: Mark Condren
President of Ireland Michael D Higgins votes during the European Election, Divorce referendum & Council election at St Mary's Hospital in the Phoenix Park Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Sinn Fein MEP Lynn Boylan & Sinn Fein TD Eoin O' Broin's dog Cooper arrives to vote with his owners during the European Election, Divorce referendum & Council election at Scoil Aine, New Road, Clondalkin. Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Sinn Fein MEP Lynn Boylan, Sinn Fein TD Eoin O' Broin vote during the European Election, Divorce referendum & Council election at Scoil Aine, New Road, Clondalkin. Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Presiding Officer Carmel McBride and Garda Adrian McGettigan carry a ballot box the polling station on the island of Inishbofin. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Ralph Riegel and Elaine Keogh

Turnout at the local and European elections and referendum was mixed across the country.

In Dublin, turnout was reportedly slow for most of the day, but there were reports of up to 30pc turnout in Galway, and 28pc in Kerry.

President of Ireland Michael D Higgins & his wife Sabina vote during the European Election, Divorce referendum & Council election at St Mary's Hospital in the Phoenix Park Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
President of Ireland Michael D Higgins & his wife Sabina vote during the European Election, Divorce referendum & Council election at St Mary's Hospital in the Phoenix Park Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

More than 6,500 polling stations around the country opened at 7am and will close shortly at 10pm.

Two of the 13 elected Irish MEPs face an uncertain wait as to when they can take their seats due to the Brexit delay.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar casting his vote at Scoil Thomáis in Castleknock for the European, local elections and referendum 2019
Pic: Mark Condren
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar casting his vote at Scoil Thomáis in Castleknock for the European, local elections and referendum 2019 Pic: Mark Condren
President of Ireland Michael D Higgins & his wife Sabina vote during the European Election, Divorce referendum & Council election at St Mary's Hospital in the Phoenix Park Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar meets with Derek Clarke and his three son's Derek (8), Daniel (7) and Oliver (4) while casting his vote at Scoil Thomáis, Laurel Lodge, Castleknock, Dublin 15 for the European, local elections and referendum 2019. Pic:Mark Condren 24.5.2019
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar casting his vote at Scoil Thomáis, Laurel Lodge, Castleknock, Dublin 15 for the European, local elections and referendum 2019. Pic:Mark Condren 24.5.2019
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar casting his vote at Scoil Thomáis, Laurel Lodge, Castleknock, Dublin 15 for the European, local elections and referendum 2019. Pic:Mark Condren 24.5.2019
Voting at Scoil Thomáis, Laurel Lodge, Castleknock, Dublin 15 for the European, local elections and referendum 2019. Pic:Mark Condren 24.5.2019
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar casting his vote at Scoil Thomáis, Laurel Lodge, Castleknock, Dublin 15 for the European, local elections and referendum 2019. Pic:Mark Condren 24.5.2019
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar casting his vote at Scoil Thomáis, Laurel Lodge, Castleknock, Dublin 15 for the European, local elections and referendum 2019. Pic:Mark Condren 24.5.2019
Sinn Fein MEP Lynn Boylan, Sinn Fein TD Eoin O' Broin & their dog Cooper arrive to vote during the European Election, Divorce referendum & Council election at Scoil Aine, New Road, Clondalkin. Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar casting his vote at Scoil Thomáis, Laurel Lodge, Castleknock, Dublin 15 for the European, local elections and referendum 2019 Pic: Mark Condren
Presiding Officer Carmel McBride and Garda Adrian McGettigan carry a ballot box the polling station on the island of Inishbofin. Niall Carson/PA Wire
President of Ireland Michael D Higgins votes during the European Election, Divorce referendum & Council election at St Mary's Hospital in the Phoenix Park Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Sinn Fein MEP Lynn Boylan & Sinn Fein TD Eoin O' Broin's dog Cooper arrives to vote with his owners during the European Election, Divorce referendum & Council election at Scoil Aine, New Road, Clondalkin. Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Residents on remote Atlantic islands off the coasts of Donegal, Galway and Mayo cast their votes a day early (Niall Carson/PA)

Ireland has received two of the 27 places formerly reserved for the UK which are being redistributed among 14 member states.

The UK is participating in the poll, with British MEPs set to attend the inaugural plenary session of the new parliament on July 2.

Sinn Fein MEP Lynn Boylan & Sinn Fein TD Eoin O' Broin's dog Cooper arrives to vote with his owners during the European Election, Divorce referendum & Council election at Scoil Aine, New Road, Clondalkin. Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Sinn Fein MEP Lynn Boylan & Sinn Fein TD Eoin O' Broin's dog Cooper arrives to vote with his owners during the European Election, Divorce referendum & Council election at Scoil Aine, New Road, Clondalkin. Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

As a result, those elected in last place in Ireland’s Dublin and South constituencies must wait to see if they can take their seats.

In President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina voted on Friday morning at their local polling station at St Mary’s Hospital in Dublin’s Phoenix Park.

Presiding Officer Carmel McBride and Garda Adrian McGettigan carry a ballot box the polling station on the island of Inishbofin. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Presiding Officer Carmel McBride and Garda Adrian McGettigan carry a ballot box the polling station on the island of Inishbofin. Niall Carson/PA Wire

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar voted at around midday at his local polling station in Castleknock. After marking the ballot papers, he joked to reporters: “I really had to think about the transfers.”

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald voted at St Joseph’s School on the Navan Road in Dublin.

In Cork, Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin was accompanied by his wife Mary and their children Micheal A and Aoibhe as they all cast their votes at St Anthony’s Boys National School in Ballinlough.

Residents on remote Atlantic islands off the coasts of Donegal, Galway and Mayo cast their votes a day early on Thursday.

Local council elections are also being held on Friday, as is a referendum on divorce laws - with a Yes set to reduce the lengthy period separated couples have to wait before they can obtain a formal divorce.

Voters in Cork, Waterford and Limerick will also be able to participate in separate plebiscites on government proposals to create directly elected city mayoral positions with executive functions.

Counting in the local elections and divorce referendum will begin on Saturday morning.

The European election count for Ireland’s three constituencies - Dublin, South, and Midlands-North-West - will commence on Sunday morning at centres in Dublin, Cork and Castlebar, Co Mayo.

A Europe-wide embargo means the first results in that poll cannot be declared until 10pm that night.

If previous elections are a guide, counting is likely to continue through into Monday. Counting in the mayoral plebiscites is likely to get under way in the three impacted cities on Monday.

The European and local government elections will be the first electoral test for Ireland’s main parties since the inconclusive general election of 2016.

The result delivered a hung parliament and precipitated months of negotiations between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, two parties with a century-old enmity dating back to Ireland’s Civil War.

While Friday’s elections focus on European and council issues, the results will no doubt be interpreted as a public judgment on Fine Gael’s performance in government and how effectively Fianna Fail has managed the delicate balancing act of holding an administration to account while at the same time propping it up.

Other smaller parties in the Oireachtas parliament, such as Sinn Fein, the Green Party and Labour, will hope to be the beneficiaries of any potential public disaffection with “new politics”.

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