General Election 2020 – Rolling Updates

 

18:59

Thomas Pringle, Charlie McConalogue and Joe McHugh have been elected to the 33rd Dail.

Long standing TD and former MEP Pat the Cope Gallagher has lost out on a seat and will not be returning to the next Dail.

18:27

While awaiting the final declaration, indications are that Pat the Cope Gallagher may lose his seat.

Fianna Fáil tallies are suggesting the final three seats belong to Charlie McConalogue, Thomas Pringle and Joe McHugh.

18:08

It looks as though no party will get more than 40 seats in the general election.

Fianna Fáil has suffered a number of losses today that has hurt their chances of leading the next government.

Fianna Fáil need everything to fall their way to hit the 40 mark.

Sinn Féin will finish with 37 TDs - a 15 seat gain.

While Fine Gael is going to be somewhere in the mid 30s.

It means there could be as little as two seats between the two largest parties - and that even a Fianna Fail/Sinn Fein coalition might not command a Dáil majority.

On the back of it Mary Lou McDonald has said she believes she can be Taoiseach and has started talking to other parties about supporting her.

There's about 25 seats still to fill, and they could influence negotiations over the next few weeks very significantly.

18:06

In the Sligo Leitrim constituency, the 12th count is underway.

Marian Harkin, Marc MacSharry, Eamon Scanlon, Frankie Feighan, Thomas Walsh and Declan Bree are all still in the race.

17:38

Counting continues this evening with the 9th count underway.

Independent John O'Donnell has been eliminated.

 

Fianna Fail Councillor Ciaran Brogan says he is confident that his party will hold onto their two seats in Donegal in the form of Pat the Cope Gallagher and Charlie McConalogue.

However, he says Brexit has been a deflection of the real issues on the ground:

16:19

Things are heating up in the Aura Leisure Centre as 5 candidates are now vying for the remaining 3 seats.

Fine Gael candidate Martin Harley has been eliminated from the race on the 7th count.

His transfers are now being counted.

 

Joe McHugh is banking on distributions from Martin Harley and Independent John O'Donnell to get him past the post:

15:35

Nationally, it's been a tough day for Fianna Fáil as counting continues in the general election.

The party is missing out on seats and second seats across the country that could have a huge impact on formation talks for the next government.

It's lost seats in Roscommon Galway, Dublin Midwest, Kildare North, Kildare South and Wexford.

While Timmy Dooley looks set to lose his seat in Clare though that will be taken by his Fianna Fail running mate Cathal Crowe.

The party also lost a battle for a third seat in Carlow Kilkenny with sitting TD Bobby Aylward losing out to the Green Party's Malcolm Noonan.

Alan Kelly has taken a seat in Tipperary on what's looking like a bad day for Labour.

15:11

Aontu Candidate Mary T Sweeney has been eliminated on the sixth count following the distribution of Green Party candidate Michael White's votes.

Her 3,600 votes will now be distributed among the remaining six candidates in the race for the last 3 seats in the constituency.

14:39

The 9th count is underway in the Sligo Leitrim Constituency with the Independent Sean Wynne's votes being distributed.

The top three as it stands is Independent Marian Harkin is on 8,502 votes followed by Fianna Fail candidate Marc MacSharry on 7,733 and fellow party member Eamon Scanlon on 7,186.

14:12

Counting at the Aura Leisure Centre in Letterkenny is continuing this afternoon.

Green Party candidate Michael White has just been eliminated on the 5th count following the distribution of Peter Casey's votes.

Seven candidates remain in the race for the last 3 seats in the Donegal constituency.

13:16

Independent Peter Casey has been eliminated on the 4th count in the Donegal constituency.

Following the distribution of Arthur McGuinness and Niall McConnell's votes no candidate has reached the quota to take one of the remaining seats.

The distribution of Peter Casey's votes will now get underway.

12.16

As the counting of General Election votes cast in Donegal continues at the Aura Leisure Centre in Letterkenny, the third count has been completed.

This involved the distribution of Padraig Mac Lochlainn's votes. The count saw no-one elected, and the elimination of Independents Arthur McGuinness and Niall McConnell.

 

11.22

In Sligo Leitrim, the seventh count is underway, with Labour's Nesa Cosgrove's votes now being distributed.

Independent Mary O'Donnell, Renua's Oisin O'Dwyer, Aontu's Dr Ann Mc Closkey, Independent Paul Mc Weeney and Independent Bernie O'Hara were all eliminated earlier.

Sinn Fein's Martin Kenny is still the only TD elected, Independent Marian Harkin and Fianna Fail's Marc Mc Sharry are still some way off the quota, but well placed to take the next two seats.

The fourth seat will see a fight between Fianna Fail's Eamon Scanlon, Fine Gael's Frank Feighan and Fine Gael's Thomas Clarke.

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O7.50

As discussions move towards who will form the next government, informal discussions between parties have already begun.

Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin says he will speak to everyone, including Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald.

However, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar insists he will stand by Fine Gael's commitment not to enter into coalition with Sinn Fein...............

 

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Monday 07.00

82 seats remain to be filled as general election counting resumes across the country, three of them in Donegal.

78 out of 160 TDs have been elected to the 33rd Dail.

29 of them are Sinn Fein, Fianna Fail have secured 16, while Fine Gael are on 14.

Elsewhere, 8 Independents have been elected, 5 from the Green Party, while the Social Democrats and SOL/PBP have two each.

Labour and Aontu sit on one each.

As counting gets back underway, some parties have endured some high-profile losses.

Fine Gael have lost both a Minister and Junior Minister in Regina Doherty and Mary Mitchell O'Connor.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross lost his seat, while Fianna Fail's Lisa Chambers was eliminated in Mayo.

Former Labour Tánaiste Joan Burton, Solidarity's Ruth Coppinger have also lost their seats.

*  This page is being updated regularly, keep scrolling down for more. Remember, a live feed from the count at the Aura Leisure Centre is available on the Highland Radio News and Sport Facebook page, Twitter @highlandradio and other Social Media.

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00.30 - The counting of votes in the Donegal constituency has seen the distribution of Pearse Doherty's surplus of over 8,000 votes, with the count now suspended until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.

The third count will see the distribution of Padraig Mac Lochlainn's surplus. Four outgoing deputies are now in the mix for the last three seats, with one of them set to lose their seat.

Charlie McConalogue (FF) is on 8,871, Pat the Cope Gallagher (FF) on 8,661, Thomas Pringle on 8,270 and Joe McHugh on 8,093.

In Sligo Leitrim, the second count saw the distribution of Martin Kenny's surplus of almost 3,000 votes. Marian Harkin (Ind) is now on 7,462, Marc McSharry (FF) on 7,182, while three candidates are battling it out for the fourth seat.

Eamon Scanlon (FF) is on 6,355, Frankie Feighan (FG) on 5,457, and Thomas Walsh (FG) is in 4,809)

Counting has been suspended until Monday morning.

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Pat the Cope Gallagher believes he is still very much in the mix.......

Independent Thomas Pringle is in the hunt for the final seat, he says he will never engage in the auction politics that he says has charactised some independents.

He believes he is very much in the mix for the last seat...........

As the distribution of Pearse Doherty's surplus, the remaining candidates are watching what happens with interest.

One of them is Charlie McConalogue, who is expected to be returned. It's a very different story to his poll topping performance in 2016.

He says he never expected to replicate that...........

*  This page is being updated regularly, keep scrolling down for more. Remember, a live feed from the count at the Aura Leisure Centre is available on Highland Radio's Facebook page 'highlandhub', and also Twitter @highlandradio and other Social Media.

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Pearse Doherty and Padraig Mac Lochlainn have been elected to Dail Eireann on the first count in Donegal, with an unprecedented share of the first preference vote in the Donegal constituency. The tallies were extremely accurate, as the figures show.

Sinn Féin’s Martin Kenny has been elected in Sligo-Leitrim with 15,035 first preference votes.

The quota was just over 12,000.

Fianna Fáil’s Mark MacSharry is still in the running alongside former TD and MEP Marian Harkin.

There could be a battle under the way between either Fine Gael’s Frank Feighen or Thomas Walsh and Fianna Fáil’s Eamon Scanlon.

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Note - We are still awaiting a first count announcement, with suggestions that it will be at 9 o'clock tonight. Here's a reminder of the final tally, which we have had for several hours at this point.

 

Peter Casey  Ind - 1,142      1.5%

Pearse Doherty  SF-  20,909    27.1%

Pat The Cope Gallagher FF -   7,523     9.7%

Martin Harley  FG -   3,034    3.9%

Padraig Mac Lochlainn  SF -    13,804    17.9%

Charlie McConalogue  FF-    8,322       10.8%

Niall McConnell  Ind  -     565    0.7%

Arthur McGuinness  Ind  -      61   0.1%

Joe McHugh  FG  -    7,614      9.9%

John O'Donnell  Ind  -     4,741     6.1%

Thomas Pringle  Ind  -      5,459        7.1%

Mary T Sweeney  Aontu  -    2,373       3.1%

Michael White  Green  -     1,646     2.1%

Remember, this is a rolling update, scroll down for audio clips and much more detail which emerged as today's events unfolded.

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Independent Candidate John O'Donnell has conceded that he will not get a seat this time around, but says he will build on this campaign and contest the next General Election, whenever that may be.

He told Greg Hughes and John McAteer that from a national point of view, he would like to see Sinn Fein in government to implement its manifesto...........

It looks like the fight for the final seat in Donegal will be between Pat the Cope Gallagher and Thomas Pringle.

Former Cllr John Campbell is a key member of Thomas Pringle's team, he says it's too close to call..............

A Donegal Fianna Fail Councillor says it may be time for a change of leadership in the party.

Cllr Martin McDermott, a poll topper in Inishowen in the 2019 local elections, says it's clear that the Confidence and Supply agreement badly hit his party, and change is needed.............

*  This page is being updated regularly, keep scrolling down for more. Remember, a live feed from the count at the Aura Leisure Centre is available on Highland Radio's Facebook page 'highlandhub', and also Twitter @highlandradio and other Social Media.

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Outgoing Minister Joe McHugh has reiterated that his party will not go into coalition with Sinn Fein, despite Mary Lou McDonald's party's stong national performance, nowhere more strongly than in Donegal, where they are set to top the poll with both candidates elected on the first count.

Speaking to Greg Hughes a short time ago, Minister McHugh acknowledged that Fine Gael faced an uphill struggle this time around..................

Meanwhile, Independent Peter Casey says his campaign couldn't have been worse.............

 

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Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin is softening his stance on the possibility of his party entering into coalition with Sinn Fein, having previously ruled it out completely.

Today, he said he would have to reflect on the outcome of the election, and take into account what the people have said.

However, he stressed there is still a major gulf between the two parties.........

His Fianna Fail colleague Robert Troy says discussions need to be held with all parties on government formation.........

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The first TD elected in the country was Sinn Fein's Donnchadh O'Leary in Cork South Central, with his party colleague Johnny Guirke elected in Meath East.

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The Green Party in Donegal say they will run candidates in every electoral area in Donegal in four years time, after securing 2.14% of the vote in Donegal this time out.

Michael White secured 1,646 votes, almost 1,000 more than Paula Flanagan in 2016.

Party member Conal Boyle says this is building the structure for a stronger showing in the future..........

 

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Final Tall in Full -

Peter Casey  Ind - 1,142      1.5%

Pearse Doherty  SF-  20,909    27.1%

Pat The Cope Gallagher FF -   7,523     9.7%

Martin Harley  FG -   3,034    3.9%

Padraig Mac Lochlainn  SF -    13,804    17.9%

Charlie McConalogue  FF-    8,322       10.8%

Niall McConnell  Ind  -     565    0.7%

Arthur McGuinness  Ind  -      61   0.1%

Joe McHugh  FG  -    7,614      9.9%

John O'Donnell  Ind  -     4,741     6.1%

Thomas Pringle  Ind  -      5,459        7.1%

Mary T Sweeney  Aontu  -    2,373       3.1%

Michael White  Green  -     1,646     2.1%

Breaking News - Both Sinn Fein candidates are set to be elected on the First Count in Donegal.

An initial constituency-wide tally gives Pearse Doherty 20,990 votes, 27.1% of all votes cast in the constituency, while Padraig Mac Lochlainn who lost his seat in 2016 now looking to return with 13,804 votes, 17.9% of all votes cast.

Of the other outgoing TDs Charlie McConalogue (FF) is on 8,322, JoeMc Hugh (FG) is on 7613, Pat The Cope Gallagher (FF) is on 7,523 and Independent Thomas Pringle is on 5,459.

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Tallies are now coming in from the Donegal Electoral Area, but nothing yet from the Glenties area, the heartland of both Pearse Doherty and Pat the Cope Gallagher.

These are the Donegal tallies, with the overall percentages in brackets beside them.

Peter Casey  Ind - 1%  (1.72)

Pearse Doherty  SF- 28.1%  (18)

Pat The Cope Gallagher FF - 4.7%  (5)

Martin Harley  FG - 8%  (2.5%)

Padraig Mac Lochlainn  SF - 2.5%  (23.87)

Charlie McConalogue  FF- 2.3%  (15)

Niall McConnell  Ind  - 0.5%  (.75)

Arthur McGuinness  Ind  -  0.1%  (.01)

Joe McHugh  FG  - 7.4%  (11.5)

John O'Donnell  Ind  -  0.6%  (7.74)

Thomas Pringle  Ind  -  31.2%  (7.86)

Mary T Sweeney  Aontu  - 2%  (3.25)

Michael White  Green  -  1.6%  (2.54)

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In the Sligo Leitrim constituency, which encompasses parts of South Donegal, Sligo tallies have been completed with Martin Kenny leading for Sinn Féin on 18%, closely followed by Fianna Fáil's Marc MacSharry 15% and his Fianna Fáil colleague Eamon Scanlon on 14%.

Independent Candidate Marian Harkin is polling at 12%, as well as FG Cllr Thomas Walsh on 12%. It's expected to be a tough battle, with Fine Gael Senator Frank Feighan still considered to be in the mix, with boxes in Leitrim and North Roscommon currently being tallied, a key battle ground for him.

Sources at the count centre in the Sligo Park Hotel say it could be 8pm or 9pm tonight before we have a first count.

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Nationally, a number of government Ministers look set to lose their seats as Sinn Féin candidates are surging across the country.

Independents Shane Ross and Katherine Zappone both look set to lose their seats in Dublin Rathdown and Dublin South West.

Regina Doherty is likely to be edged out in Meath East.

While Junior Ministers also likely to lose out - Andrew Doyle in Wicklow, one of Paul Kehoe or Michael D'Arcy in Wexford, Damien English in Meath West too. Ciaran Cannon in Galway East is vulnerable.

Sinn Féin is going to top the poll in a number of constituencies and a number of candidates who lost their council seats just 7 months ago look set to enter the Dail.

Mairead Farrell in Galway West, Johnny Mythen in Wexford and Sorca Clarke in Longford Westmeath among them.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil looking like they're going to be battling for the final seat in a lot of areas as the Sinn Fein wave takes over.

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Final tally percentages from the Letterkenny area -

 

Peter Casey  Ind - 1.4%

Pearse Doherty  SF- 18.7%

Pat The Cope Gallagher FF - 4.6%

Martin Harley  FG - 1.1%

Padraig Mac Lochlainn  SF - 23.4%

Charlie McConalogue  FF- 10.7%

Niall McConnell  Ind  - 0.7%

Arthur McGuinness  Ind  -  0.1%

Joe McHugh  FG  - 15.7%

John O'Donnell  Ind  -  10.9%

Thomas Pringle  Ind  -  3.3%

Mary T Sweeney  Aontu  - 5.8%

Michael White  Green  -  3.6%

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Sinn Fein Cllr Gary Doherty was the party's third candidate in 2016, when Sinn fein lost a seat in Donegal.

He told Catherine Gaffney he's confident the party will take two seats, but it's unclear what will happen after that.....

Meanwhile, poll topper Pearse Doherty is also Sinn Fein Director of Elections nationally.

He says there is an appetite for change, and his party leader will be entering into discussions on that basis........

 

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Final percentage from Inishowen tallies -

Peter Casey  Ind - 3%

Pearse Doherty  SF- 12.4%

Pat The Cope Gallagher FF - 0.7%

Martin Harley  FG - 0.8%

Padraig Mac Lochlainn  SF - 39.6%

Charlie McConalogue  FF- 27.6%

Niall McConnell  Ind  - 1%

Arthur McGuinness  Ind  -  0.2%

Joe McHugh  FG  - 8.1%

John O'Donnell  Ind  -  0.7%

Thomas Pringle  Ind  -  1.2%

Mary T Sweeney  Aontu  - 2.3%

Michael White  Green  -  2.5%

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Rough tallies with boxes opened in Inishowen, and parts of Letterkenny and Fanad.

 

Peter Casey  Ind - 1.1%

Pearse Doherty  SF- 9.9%

Pat The Cope Gallagher FF - 3.3%

Martin Harley  FG - 1.1%

Padraig Mac Lochlainn  SF - 23.6%

Charlie McConalogue  FF- 14%

Niall McConnell  Ind  - 0.4%

Arthur McGuinness  Ind  -  0.1%

Joe McHugh  FG  - 20%

John O'Donnell  Ind  -  21.9%

Thomas Pringle  Ind  -  0.6%

Mary T Sweeney  Aontu  - 2.9%

Michael White  Green  -  1%

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Outgoing Health Minister Simon Harris says when votes are counted, Fine Gael may have no option but to form a grand coalition with FF..................

His party colleague Heather Humphries says despite the exit poll result - her party will NOT form a government with Sinn Fein................

Fianna Fail Director of Elections Dara Calleary says the party appears to be doing better in the regions, but acknowledges they have some major battles ahead..................

Counting is getting under way across the country as ballot boxes are opened.

Don't forget there's a live feed from the Donegal count in the Aura Leisure Centre on Facebook, and regular updates across social media.

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Counting of votes cast in Donegal takes place at the Aura Leisure Centre in Letterkenny.

Nationally, an exit poll suggests it will be a three way tie between Fine Gael, Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil.

The Ipsos MRBI exit poll for RTE and the Irish Times says the three largest parties are all on 22 per cent support.

When it comes to seats that's likely to leave Sinn Féin in the low 30s given they only ran 42 candidates.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil will both likely end up somewhere in the 40s

What it means is a titanic battle for the final seats in constituencies across the country and transfers will be absolutely crucial.