Europe 2009 – Irish results


6:05pm – Voters in Ireland and the Czech Republic went to the polls on Friday. Czechs will still vote on Saturday, and neither country will count their European Parliament ballots until Sunday evening, so we don’t have any information about the European results.

However, Ireland also went to the polls to elect local government councillors and fill two vacant Dail seats: one in Dublin South and the other in Dublin Central. Votes are starting to be counted now and we should have some results within two hours.

6:17pm – In Dublin South, a by-election is being held to fill the seat of Fianna Fail TD Seamus Brennan, who died in July 2008. Fine Gael recruited RTE Economics Editor George Lee as their candidate, in a move reminiscent of Maxine McKew in Bennelong. Early first preferences in Dublin South have Lee winning 70% of first preferences.

6:21pm – In comparison, in 2007 the 3 Fianna Fail candidates in Dublin South polled just over 41%, compared to 27% for the 3 Fine Gael candidates, although both parties elected 2 TDs, with the fifth seat going to Eamon Ryan of the Green Party.

6:28pm – Dublin Central is the constituency of former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, who polled 36.8% of the primary vote. The other seats were won by another Fianna Fail TD, a Labour candidate and independent Tony Gregory. Gregory’s death in 2008 triggered the by-election.

While Dublin South seems a fait accompli, you could argue that Dublin Central is a four-way race between Fianna Fail (running Bertie’s brother Maurice Ahern), Fine Gael, Labour and independent Maureen O’Sullivan.

7:12pm – The current figures in Dublin Central:

  • Paschal Donahue (FG) – 21%
  • Ivana Bacik (LAB) – 20%
  • Maureen O’Sullivan (IND) – 20%
  • Maurice Ahern (FF) – 15%
  • Christy Burke (SF) – 9%

It appears that Fianna Fail will definitely fail to win this seat.

7:39pm – So the numbers in Dublin Central are remaining steady. If this is so, it appears that Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein preferences will flow to Maureen O’Sullivan, putting her in first place when you narrow it to a three-horse race. Either Labour or Fine Gael is then eliminated, and whichever remains has to get a large slow from the other to defeat O’Sullivan. Considering Sinn Fein and Green preferences, I tend to think it will be a race between O’Sullivan and Labour, with Labour needing a very strong preference flow from Fine Gael to win.

8:22pm – The Green Party are performing very badly on local councils, and it appears they will lose many of their seats. They polling 2-3% in many places.

8:58pm – Even though the Irish aren’t formally counting European votes tonight, it appears that there are some reports coming through from scrutineers. In Dublin, it appears that Labour and Fine Gael safely are on track for one seat, while Joe Higgins of the Socialist Party is performing strongly.

9:02pm – Various results in North-West Ireland indicate that Libertas leader Declan Ganley is performing well, including polling 31% in Sligo.

9:05pm – Ganley is also polling well in Clare and Donegal. It appears the polling figures underestimated his support.

10:13pm – North-West Ireland update: Libertas’ Declan Ganley and independent Mareen Harkin performing well. Pat ‘the Cope’ Gallagher (Fianna Fail) not performing as well as expected.

10:21pm – Dublin Central has long been dominated by the Ahern family, with Bertie Ahern’s brother Maurice running for Fianna Fail. Yet Maurice Ahern is on 12%, with Maureen O’Sullivan on 26%, and Fine Gael on 22%.

10:23pm – Apparently Ciaran Cuffe, who is a Green Party TD, has raised the prospect of the Green Party withdrawing from the government, which would likely bring down the government and bring on a general election.

10:31pm – Tonight has been horrible for the Green Party. Their polling numbers are extremely low and their council numbers have been decimated. You would have to think they are at risk of being wiped out in the Dail at the next election. If they were to bring down the government and go back to first principles, could that be the only way to salvage their base? It’s possible the government could fall over the next year without the involvement of the Green Party, so wouldn’t it be better for them to pick key issues to play hardball with Fianna Fail, and be willing to ultimately pull out if need be.

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  1. If memory serves, and a quick look at wikipedia backs me up, then if FF lose 2 seats, they will be down to 74 TDs. With the 6 Greens, 2 Prog Dems and 4 Independents this takes them to 86 TDs. This is still a workable majority but it will add to the bargaining power of FF’s independent partners now that FF-Green-PD no longer gets them over the majority line. I hope I got my sums right here…

  2. I’m also not entirely surprised at the lack of success of the Greens. being in a conservative government in times of economic crisis wouldn’t seem to auger well to a left-of-centre party like the Greens. And the two old parties (FG & FF) are both quite conservative – is being in Govt worth the pain?

  3. Stewart J :
    is being in Govt worth the pain?


    The government and coalition arrangement has been tenuous for a while, but they never really had a legitimate reason to pull out without looking like opportunists. At this point it doesn’t matter. They’re on the brink of being annihilated if there’s a general election. If they ever want to be in government again, or even exist as a political party with parliamentary representation they should resign from government.

  4. I agree Oz, I would hope they did pull out because they would indeed have nothing to lose by doing so, yet I fear Sergeant, Gormley, White, Cuff et al are far too honourable to do so – especially Sergeant.

  5. I think the Greens will be completely wiped out unless they pull out here. They need to go back to the principles that the Greens are known for and fight for those and it is the only way they will survive.

  6. I am here in Sligo on the tally.
    Ganley got 10.5% on the tally.
    Stop spreading blatant untruths

  7. If the EU didn’t have their silly rules requiring countries to hold their results until Sunday evening, we wouldn’t have to speculate like this.

  8. And while we’re here, if Ganley only got 10.5% perhaps we could find out where the votes DID go?

  9. Being in government with a conservative party at this time was always going to be tough for the Greens, but it was even tougher because most of their supporters wanted them to be in government with Fine Gail, not Fianna Fail. The Greens MPs wanted this as well, and thought they would be able to achieve it, but the way the numbers panned out it just wasn’t an option. At the time it seemed like a good idea to go into government with Fianna Fail, and I would have supported it, albeit reluctantly. But the global financial crisis made it the worst possible timing for such a decision, and the Greens will pay for it for a long time. Pulling out now might help, but the most important thing is to hold as much of the party together as possible behind whatever decision is made – they only chance of recovery is to at least retain a substantial membership who understands it wasn’t so much bad decisions as bad luck that got them here.

  10. Stephen L’s response of course exemplifies the problem of entering Govt with a second choice party and maybe getting some of your agenda implemented, or staying out of Govt (maybe bringing on an early election AND being blamed for it) and achieving nothing. This is the inevitable problem of being a minor (left) party with supporters and members further to the left of the leadership/MP’s. As it happens, the GFC is something that had been warned about, but as these things go I can imagine that the temptation of being able to get some of your policies initiated would have been a stronger lure (and might even have been seen as possibly the only chance for quite some time).

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