Election 2020: Sinn Féin on course for historic high of 30 seats

Ipsos MRBI poll shows three main parties set for extraordinary tie in their share of the vote

By Harry McGee Pat Leahy 

Doherty Pearse.jpg 3

    Glasgow-born Pearse Doherty out campaigning for votes in Donegal.

    Sinn Féin looks poised to win at least 10 extra seats in the 33rd Dáil as it has benefited from a dramatic surge in support from the voters in the general election. 

    As counting continues in the 39 constituencies, tallies indicate that Sinn Féin can make gains in 12 constituencies, with the possibility of gaining seats in one or two more.

    That will take its Dáil representation to beyond 30 seats for the first time, a historic high for the party.

    In contrast, both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are unlikely to make any material gains. The prospects of any combination of parties reaching a majority of 80 now looks remote, unless there are fundamental shifts in terms of declared positions on coalition partners.

    BURTON Joan at peace park, Castlebar

    Joan Burton, the former Labour leader has lost her seat. Picture by Bill Heaney

    An illustration of the level of Sinn Féin’s support has been the huge personal votes amassed by key party figures including leader Mary Lou McDonald, David Cullinane, Pearse Doherty, Dessie Ellis, and Aengus Ó Snodaigh, all of whom received between 1½ and two quotas each.

    Party strategists have said if it had run second candidates in some constituencies its total would have reached 40.

    In contrast, neither Fianna Fáil nor Fine Gael look in a position to make anticipated gains, with Fine Gael seats in danger in Dublin North-West, Dún Laoighaire, Galway West, and Meath East, where Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty could be a high-profile loser.

    Fianna Fáil seats look vulnerable in Roscommon-Galway; Kildare North and Mayo, where its Brexit spokeswoman Lisa Chambers is in difficulty. In addition, target seats in Dublin Central, in Dublin South-Central, and in Dún Laoghaire now look increasingly unlikely.

    Among the well-known figures whose seats are vulnerable are Minister for Transport Shane Ross in Dublin Rathdown, Minister for Children Katherine Zappone in Dublin South-West. She led for the Government on the child abuse scandals.

    Former Labour leader Joan Burton seems certain to lose her seat in Dublin West where Sinn Féin’s Paul Donnelly has topped the poll ahead of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

    Sinn Féin, according to the tallies, could make gains in unexpected constituencies including Galway West; Tipperary; Roscommon-Galway; Mayo, Wexford, and possibly in both Kildare constituencies.

    Counting of votes cast in Saturday’s ballot began at 9am on Sunday.

    Early tallies are starting to emerge around the country, with 16 out of 121 Sligo boxes open in Sligo Leitrim , Sinn Féin is marginally ahead on 21 per cent while Fianna Fáil is on 20 per cent , according to the tally.

    Fine Gael is on 10 per cent, Labour 4 per cent and Greens 2 per cent.

    With one-fifth of boxes open in Cork North-Central and Cork South-Central, Sinn Féin seemed on course to hold both its seats.

    Meanwhile, fears for beyond controversial Danny Healy-Rae’s seat in Kerry seem misplaced with one-third of boxes open.

    Live updates from the counts are available on our election 2020 live blog.

    An Ipsos MRBI exit poll published on Saturday night indicated Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Sinn Féin were set for an extraordinary tie in their share of the vote.

    The results of the poll for The Irish Times, RTÉ, TG4 and UCD are as follows: Fianna Fáil 22.2 per cent, Fine Gael 22.4 per cent, Sinn Féin 22.3 per cent, the Green Party 7.9 per cent, Labour 4.6 per cent, the Social Democrats 3.4 per cent, Solidarity-People Before Profit 2.8 per cent and Independents/others 14.5 per cent.

    The poll was taken on Saturday at 250 locations across the State, among 5,376 respondents who had just voted. It has a margin of error of 1.3 per cent.

    There will be live coverage of the count over the next few days on with our liveblog, podcasts and analysis as well as up to the minute results from all constituencies.

    One comment

    1. Looks now that Sinn Fein got the biggest vote of the three main parties and very much shines a light on an impending United Ireland.

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