Thursday 20 June 2019

Who are the winners and losers in the 2019 local and European elections?

Winners and losers: Sinn Fein’s Mary Lou McDonald and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan reflect on the European and local elections which saw the Greens up and SF down on votes. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Winners and losers: Sinn Fein’s Mary Lou McDonald and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan reflect on the European and local elections which saw the Greens up and SF down on votes. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald pictured at the count centre in the RDS. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

The local election counts are in full swing and we have a good idea of what's to come in the European election results from Friday night's exit poll.

So, who are the winners and losers so far?

The Losers

Mary Lou McDonald

Mary Lou McDonald is facing huge questions about her leadership as Sinn Fein continues to haemorrhage council seats across the country.

Sinn Fein’s vote has collapsed in the capital five years after Sinn Fein made significant gains in both the local and European elections in 2014.

Sitting MEP Lynn Boylan is facing a scrap to keep her seat and Sinn Fein only barely managed to win one council seat in Ms McDonald’s Dublin Central Constituency. The party could lose seven seats on Dublin City Council.

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Sinn Fein leader Mary-Lou McDonald (Niall Carson/PA)

The collapse in Sinn Fein’s votes has been replicated across the country – with losses in Cavan, Offaly, Galway, Tipperary and Louth expected.

On Saturday Ms McDonald was forced to admit her party suffered a significant defeat.

"We'll dust ourselves down and we'll get back at it because that's what political activism is all about," she said.

This is the second election blow to Ms McDonald’s leadership and comes after Liadh Ni Riadh failed to make any impact in the presidential campaign.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar had failed to live up to expectations in his first major election campaign as Fine Gael leader.

Mr Varadkar and his supporters forced former Taoiseach Enda Kenny from office after two disastrous election campaigns under the Mayo man’s premiership.

Under Mr Varadkar’s reign, Fine Gael has slashed taxes, increased welfare payments and promised massive public infrastructure investment.

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar arrives to cast his vote. Photo: PA

However, the first real test of his leadership has fallen flat with Fine Gael looking to only make relatively small gains while in government at a time of economic prosperity.

Fine Gael TDs are already questing Mr Varadkar’s leadership and asking questions about his loyalty to embattled Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy.

Meanwhile, Mr Varadkar’s ill judged comments about a mortuary in University Hospital Waterford ahead of the campaign looks to have cost the party in the city. 

However, party strategists insist Fine Gael will hold their seats in the city.

THE WINNERS

Eamon Ryan

Eamon Ryan and the Green Party defied all expectations and made major gains in last Friday’s election. In both the European and local elections the Green Party’s vote has hit record breaking highs.

Former Minister of State Ciaran Cuffe is odds on to top the poll in the Dublin constituency for the European Parliament while Green candidates Saoirse McHugh in Midlands Northwest and Grace O’Sullivan in Ireland South are in the mix for seats.

In Dublin, the party has picked up council seats across the capital and are expected to be a real force on several local authorities. 

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Green Party leader Eamon Ryan. Photo: Tom Burke

Micheal Martin

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin’s campaign to revive his party made further strides in the Friday’s elections.

Fianna Fail has struggled in Dublin since the collapse of the economy but the party is on track to make significant gains in the local elections.

The party will be the largest party in Dublin City Council which will give Fianna Fail significant say over housing policy in the capital.  The party also expects to pick up seats in Galway, Cork, Kerry and Wexford.

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Fianna Fail’s Micheal Martin at the count in Cork’s Nemo Rangers Sports Centre. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Meanwhile, Fianna Fail TD Billy Kelleher is set to take a European Parliament seat in the Ireland South constituency while Former Minister of State Barry Andrews is in the mix in Dublin.

However, there will be questions for Mr Martin about the party’s strategy in Midlands Northwest where Brendan Smith (6pc) and Anne Rabbitte (3pc) both look set to lose out on a seat.

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