It is now Sunday evening in the Republic of Ireland, and most seats have been decided in their general election. The overall result is clear, with the governing Fianna Fail party decimated, their government partner the Green Party completely eliminated from the Dail, and opposition parties Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Fein winning record numbers of seats.
Fine Gael had earlier hoped to be able to govern alone with the support of some of the numerous independents, but instead will almost certainly govern in a large coalition with the second-biggest party, Labour. Ireland’s political system for the last ninety years has been dominated by two centre-right parties, who today only hold approximately 93 out of 166 seats in the Dail. It would probably make more sense for Fine Gael to go into government with Fianna Fail, with whom they share more ideology and who have been reduced to minor party status. Old habits die hard, however, and Fianna Fail have been blamed for the collapse of Ireland’s economy. After 14 years of sharing the opposition benches with Labour, Fine Gael look set to form government with them. This government will have over two-thirds of the seats in the Dail.
At the moment, 150 seats have been filled in the Dail, with twelve seats in three constituencies yet to be decided. Races in these three constituencies were delayed by extremely close counts at key points of elimination. The results are as follows:
|Party||Seats won||Seats leading||Total|
|United Left Alliance||5||0||5|
The wipe-out of Fianna Fail hit them all over the country. In 2007, they won 19 of 47 seats in County Dublin. This time they only won one. They fell from 14 to 5 in Connacht and Ulster, losing their deputy leader Mary Coughlan in Donegal South West. In County Cork, they won five seats, down from nine, with their new leader Micheál Martin cushioning the blow. His constituency of Cork South-Central was the only place in the country where Fianna Fail managed to win two seats. In 2007 they managed to win two seats in 32 constituencies. There wasn’t a single constituency that didn’t elect a Fianna Fail member in 2007, but this time a majority of constituencies did not elect anyone from that party.
Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Fein made gains all over the country. Labour is now the largest party in Dublin, with 18 of 47 seats, up from 9 in 2007. In addition, the United Left Alliance, which includes the Socialist Party and other left-wing groups, won four seats in Dublin, and an additional seat in the country. All six Green Party seats were lost.
I have produced maps that attempt to display graphically and geographically the results of the election. Due to multi-member districts this is difficult to demonstrate. I have produced a map with a dot for every TD, with dots distributed evenly within each constituency, and then randomised within that constituency. It gives you a general sense of the representation of the parties. You can see them below the fold:
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