Green wave sweeps over council and Euro polls

Divorce referendum certain to pass by overwhelming majorityBallot boxes opened at 9am on Saturday

The ballot boxes are opened at the RDS in Dublin on Saturday morning. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Kevin Doyle

A 'Green wave' swept across the country to bring the party into contention for three European seats.

In a remarkable result, Eamon Ryan's Green Party also looks set to achieve an unprecedented support level in the local elections.

Ballots are counted at the RDS in Dublin. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

This will leave its representatives well-placed to control the balance of power in county councils where they will be able to influence decisions on transport and planning.

And if the result was to be repeated in a general election, the Greens would almost certainly have the option of being in the next government.

But the prospect of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil collapsing the Government any time soon has receded because an RTÉ/TG4 Exit Poll shows they are tied on 23pc.

According to the poll, sitting Green Party councillor Ciaran Cuffe is on course to top the European poll in Dublin with 23pc.

Having their say: President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina cast their votes. Photos: Kyran O’Brien

Fine Gael should retain its four MEP seats with Mairead McGuinness the runaway favourite in Midlands North West and Sean Kelly on top in Ireland South.

Former Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald is on course to finish second in the capital on 14pc. Deirdre Clune and Maria Walsh will both be in the hunt for the final seats in their constituencies. Fianna Fáil's Barry Andrews has a very strong chance of taking a seat in Dublin, as does Billy Kelleher in Ireland South.

But once again the party had a disastrous day out in Midlands North-West where Brendan Smith and Anne Rabbitte have a combined vote of just 9pc.