Irish Republican News · February 27, 2016
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Sinn Fein ‘has broken the duopoly’
Sinn Fein ‘has broken the duopoly’

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Prominent figures in the Dublin government are set to lose their seats as early estimates from the count centres have borne out exit poll predictions that revealed a last-minute swing back to the opposition parties and independents, with Sinn Fein now in a pivotal position.

There are few areas of the state where Sinn Fein is not in contention for at least one seat, according to the tally reports, and the party is set to almost double their presence in parliament.

The sharp decline in support for Fine Gael and Labour is the others key factor which look set to creates a political revolution in the Dail. Many commentators are confidently predicting the end of civil war politics and a realignment along a long-awaited left-right divide.

It was the second-worst election for Fine Gael in recent decades, and one party strategist has even warned that a lack of lower-order preferences could leave it as the second largest party in the Dail behind Fianna Fail.

In a tweet, Sinn Fein’s Chris Hazard, pointed out that it was the first time in the history of the 26-County state that Fianna Fail and Fine Gael jointly polled less than 50%. “Sinn Fein has smashed the old duopoly,” he said.

Last night, the Irish Times published an exit poll showing the parties’ vote shares to be: Fine Gael 26.1 per cent; Labour 7.8 per cent; Fianna Fail 22.9 per cent; Sinn Fein 14.9; AAA-PBP 3.6 per cent; Greens 3.5 per cent; Social Democrats 2.8 per cent; Renua 2.6 per cent; and Independents 16.1 per cent.

This morning RTE’s exit poll showed support for Fine Gael at 24.8 per cent, Labour is at 7.1 per cent, Fianna Fail at 21.1 per cent and Sinn Fein at 16 per cent. It shows Independents are at 11 per cent; AAA-PBP at 4.7 per cent; Social Democrats at 3.7 per cent; Green Party at 3.6 per cent, the Independent Alliance at 3 per cent, Renua is at 2.4 per cent and Others at 2.6 per cent.

TALLIES

With one third of the boxes counted in Louth, things are shaping up well for Sinn Fein who appear almost certain to claim two seats. The party have captured an estimated 28 per cent of first preference votes, followed by Fine Gael on 20 per cent and Fianna Fail on 17 per cent. Labour fared poorly on less than 10 per cent.

In an extraordinary outcome in Dublin Midwest, Eoin O’Broin of Sinn Fein looks assured of a seat with more than a quota and may be accompanied by fellow Right2Change candidate Gino Kenny of People Before Profit. In Dublin Fingal, the controversial former Minister for Health and outgoing Minister for Children James Reilly, looks to have lost his seat with just 7% in the tallies.

Sinn Fein’s Dessie Ellis (pictured) and Roisin Shortall will take the first two seats in Dublin North-West, with the second SF candidate, Cathleen Carney-Boud, Fine Gael, and Fianna Fail competing for the third.

Dublin West, has turned out to be the battleground it had been predicted to be, and Labour leader Joan Burton, socialist Ruth Coppinger, Sinn Fein’s Paul Donnelly and Fianna Fail’s Jack Chambers are in a 4-way fight for 3 seats.

Indications from Dublin Rathdown are that Labour minister Alex White will lose his seat, while independent Shane Ross will top the poll and Fine Gael’s Alan Shatter will also hold on. In Dublin Central, Mary Lou McDonald has topped the poll, with independent republican Christy Burke also in with a chance of a seat, possibly at the cost of Labour’s Joe Costello.

With 25 per cent of boxes tallied, Anti-Austerity Alliance candidate, Cllr Mick Barry looks set to win a breakthrough seat in Cork North Central along with Sinn Fein’s Jonathan O’Brien, while Ministers of State Kathleen Lynch of Labour and Dara Murphy of Fine Gael fighting it out with for the final seat.

In Meath East, Sinn Fein’s Darren O’Rourke is on 14 per cent and could be in with a chance of the final seat. The sitting Labour TD, Dominic Hannigan, looks doomed at 7 per cent. In Meath West, sitting Sinn Fein TD Peadar Toibin appears to have topped the poll.

Sinn Fein’s Maurice Quinlivan is expected to take a breakthrough seat in Limerick for his party, and a parallel result is likely in Waterford where David Cullinane is in second place on 20%. However, there is a fly in the ointment for SF in Kerry, where the Healy-Rae dynasrty of independents may have a second seat at the expense of Martin Ferris.

Indications are Social Democrat leader Catherine Murphy will top the poll in Kildare North in a generally strong showing for her new left-of-centre party. The People Before Profit/Anti-Austerity Alliance is also set to take several seats after gaining almost 10% of votes in Dublin.

STATEMENT

Speaking as the polls closed last night, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams thanked party candidates and their families, canvassers and supporters.

“In particular I would like to thank the citizens who have come out to invest their votes and their hopes in Sinn Fein,” he said.

“Sinn Fein stood in this election as the party with a plan for a fair recovery, for 250 thousand jobs, for investment in health, housing and for fair taxation.

“Sinn Fein is the only party with a plan to reclaim the republic promised in the proclamation and to deliver Irish Unity.

“In this election Sinn Fein faced the three establishment parties and sections of the media, who promoted the politics of fear and tax breaks for the better off at the cost of housing and health.

“Their only interest in the north has been to score cheap political points, rather than build on the achievements of the peace and political processes.

“Over the course of this campaign we have presented a real alternative to the failed politics of 94 years of cronyism, conservatism and inequality embodied by Fine Gael and Fianna Fail.

“I believe this election will see an increase in support for Sinn Fein and for progressive politics.”

© 2016 Irish Republican News