Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams is on course to win a seat for the party in Louth as his party looks set to achieve a historic breakthrough in Friday's general election in the 26 Counties.
Speaking last night following a heavy turnout, Mr Adams praised those who turned out to vote for Sinn Fein.
“I want to thank everyone who voted for Sinn Féin today and everyone who worked for us.
“We are very hopeful that today’s poll will usher in an increase of republican TDs in the next Dáil and the beginning of a realignment of Irish politics."
Mr Adams said he would be "very happy" if the party can return 8 or 9 Sinn Fein TDs -- and early indications from the count centres across Ireland indicate that it looks set to possibly exceed this total.
With 30 per cent of boxes open in his Louth constituency, Mr Adams appears to be vying with Fine Gael's Niall O'Dowd to top the poll.
Sinn Fein are also looking strong in another eight constituencies, particularly in Donegal, Dublin and Cavan/Monaghan, where a second seat for the party is a possibility.
The party seems likely to be competitive for the last seat in up to another seven constituencies, including unexpectedly strong performances such as John Brady in Wicklow and Maurice Quinlivan in Limerick City.
However, there are the usual health warnings regarding these early predictions from the notoriously biased tallymen and tallywomen.
A meltdown is on the cards for Fianna Fail, with no seat safe for the party. In particular, outgoing Tanaise Mary Coughlan could lose her seat to Independent Peter Pringle in Donegal South-West.
Fine Gael remains on course to become the largest party, with the party set to win four out of five seats in Enda Kenny's Mayo constituency.
The results will be published here as they become available this afternoon.