Talk of snap general election as votes are counted

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There is growing speculation of a general election in the 26 Counties later this year after Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin appeared open to forming a coalition with the Green Party following Friday’s local elections.

The Greens have tripled their vote and look well placed to make gains in the Dublin parliament.

A previous coalition government between Fianna Fail and the Greens was in power in 2008 during the most serious economic crash in the history of the state, but Mr Martin (pictured, right) did not see that as a problem.

“Obviously we worked well with the Greens in the past in government through very difficult times,” he said. “I would argue that the Fianna Fáil-Green government was far stronger on climate change than the Fine Gael-Labour government and indeed the Fine Gael-Independent government.”

Fianna Fail, who currently prop up the minority Fine Gael government, have also had a positive local election so far, making gains and re-emerging as the largest party in several councils across the country.

Green Party leader and a former cabinet minister, Eamon Ryan (left), was ebullient about his party’s performance and said he now anticipates a “rainbow coalition with a range of different parties” in local government. However there are already signs of tensions over his party’s future political strategy, with European parliament candidate Saoirse McHugh saying she would resign if the Greens entered a coalition government with Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil.

Fianna Fail currently prop up a minority government led by Fine Gael. Commentators have frequently suggested that either party could seize an opportune time for an election.

Fianna Fáil councillor and former cabinet minister Mary Hanafin has said there is now little choice but to call a general election this year. She said to do otherwise would allow a series of potentially damaging by-elections to take place.

“It has to be this year,” she said. “The Government does not have time on its hands because of four by-elections that will have to take place and why would it wait for those to happen with all the potential they will have for a protest vote?”

Despite a poor performance for Fine Gael, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has refused to rule out calling a General Election in the autumn. He blamed a last-minute controversy surrounding Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey for damaging the party.

and a dubious injury claim fall from an “unsupervised” hotel swing

It emerged that Ms Bailey made a dubious injury claim after falling from an “unsupervised” hotel swing. She claimed to have had trouble moving and sitting after the July 2015 accident, ran a 10km race in her local area just three weeks after the swing fall.

“Certainly a lot of our candidates have said to me that it came up on the doors and did us some reputational damage,” said Mr Varadkar.

Meanwhile, a returning Sinn Féin councillor has admitted the party’s performance in the local elections around the country is “disappointing.”

Sinn Fein’s support has dropped to just under 10% of voters in the local elections, down from over 15% in 2014.

It has lost half of its support in Dublin from the previous election in 2014. It was also down across the state, but with significant variations.

Waterford Councillor John Hearne was re-elected on the first count, but was not celebrating. He said he believes his party’s voter base didn’t turn out.

“I think it was a very middle class election,” he said. “I think that the people who know the power of the vote actually came out and voted strongly and they were going to vote for the same old boys’ clubs. They didn’t want it to change

“The landlords don’t want any change, the banks don’t want any change, all the vested interests wanted it to stay the way it’s staying,” he added.

Peope before Profit/Solidarity also had a surprisingly difficult election in a performace which sharply contrasted with their increased support in the Six Counties. While the party quadrupled its councillors in the North earlier this month, its overall vote in the South looks to be down by a third.

“Not a great day for the left,” said party leader Richard Boyd-Barrett yesterday. “The working class did not come out to vote. A lot of seats we’re fighting for are going to come down to transfers.”

The election has raised questions about the effect of demographic changes and displacement in working class communities as a result of the housing crisis. Voting patterns may have changed as a result of the arrival of young professionals and international workers who can afford the monthly rental costs now required. Turnout in some areas of Dublin fell below 20%.

“The big hit we took is that our traditional strong areas didn’t turn out to vote,” said Mr Boyd-Barrett.

Elsewhere, Republican Sinn Fein veteran Tomas O Curraoin retained his council seat in Conamara South, although party colleague Diarmuid MacDubhghlais failed to match his performance in Finglas in Dublin. Eirigi’s best performance was in Dublin’s Southwest Inner City, where Damian Farrell reached 7%.

But Aontú have been celebrating strong results for their first election. They have challenged for seats in several across the state and secured their first big win with Sarah O’Reilly in Cavan County Council. She was elected on the first count, topping the poll in her area with 1,704 votes. Party leader Peadar Toibin said he was putting put the larger parties “on notice” that Aontú would be willing and ready to contest the next general election when it is called.

 

The following is the current state of the parties across the state, with 667 out of 949 seats filled:


FF: 26.8% (+1.7) 196 seats
FG: 24.7% (+1.1) 170 seats
SF: 9.7% (-5.9) 58 seats
Lab: 5.9% (-1.4) 38 seats
Green: 5.7% (+4.1) 41 seats
SocDem: 2.2% (+2.2) 11 seats
S-PBP: 2.0% (-1.1) 9 seats
Ind/Others: 22.3% (-1.2) 144 seats

 

These local councils have completed their first count:

Dublin City:


FF: 18.1% (+3.7)
Green: 15.1% (+10)
FG: 13.7% (-0.3)
SF: 12% (-12.2)
Lab: 10.2% (-2.5)
SocDem: 7.1% (+7.1)
S-PBP: 5.4% (-3)
Ind/Others: 18.4% (-2.8)

Roscommon:


FF: 33.1% (-2.2)
FG: 16.2% (-5.9)
SF: 7.4% (-0.6)
Ind: 43.2(+10.2)

Wexford:


FF: 30% (+2.6)
FG: 25.1% (+0.5
Lab: 8.9% (+0.5)
SF: 7.5% (-4.5)
S-PBP: 1.8% (-) I4C: 1.3(+1.3)
Ind/Others: 25.4% (+0.3)

Offaly:


FF: 40% (+5.8)
FG: 21.6% (+4.3) Renua: 11.4% (+11.4)
SF: 4.6% (-12.7)
SocDem: 2.1% (+2.1)
Green: 1.9% (+1.7)
Ind: 20.0% (-9.6)

Sligo:


FG: 30.3% (+5.3)
FF: 28.6% (-1)
SF: 8.2% (-2.1) I4C: 4.6% (+4.6)
S-PBP: 4% (+1.3)
Lab: 1.4% (-2.7) Renua: 0.9% (+0.9)
Green: 0.5% (+0.5)
Ind: 21.4% (-6.8)

Kilkenny:


FF: 41.1% (+3.8)
FG: 32.1% (+2.1)
Lab: 7.5% (-3.7)
SF: 6.4% (-3.5)
Green: 3.8% (+0.3)
S-PBP: 0.6% (-0.4)
Ind: 8.5% (+1.5)

Kerry:


FF: 25.8% (+3.6)
FG: 21.9% (-)
SF: 13.4% (-0.8)
Lab: 4.5% (-2.1)
Green: 3.1% (+3.1)
SocDem: 1.7% (+1.7)
Ind/Others: 31.1% (-3.4)

Clare:


FF: 38.6% (+2.9)
FG: 31.7% (+0.2)
SF: 4.9% (+0.6)
Lab: 1.0% (-2.2)
Green: 4.0% (+3.0)
SocDem: 1.7% (+1.7)
Ind/Others: 18.2% (-4.8)

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown:


FG: 27.3% (-0.9)
Green: 19.7% (+12.7)
FF: 17.6% (-1.1)
Lab: 11.8% (-1.4)
S-PBP: 6.6% (+3.2)
SF: 3.4% (-4.3)
SocDem: 1.6% (+1.6)
Ind/Others: 12.1% (-3.5)

South Dublin:


FF: 19.6% (+6.2)
FG: 17.5% (-0.5)
SF: 11.6% (-12.4)
Green: 9.6% (+7.5)
S-PBP: 8.7% (-0.6)
Lab: 8.4% (-1.8)
SocDem: 4.9% (+4.9) I4C: 0.9% (+0.9)
Ind/Others: 18.7% (-4.1)

Wicklow:


FG: 26.2% (+6.4)
FF: 22.1% (+2.2)
SF: 7.8% (-8.7)
SocDem: 5.3% (+5.3)
Green: 5% (+2.6)
Lab: 4.6% (+1.5)
S-PBP: 1.5% (-0.6)
Ind/Others: 27.5% (-8.8)

Cavan:


FF: 38.9% (-1.7)
FG: 33.4% (-3.5)
SF: 12.4% (-5.9)
Aontú: 7.7% (+7.7)
Lab: 2.2% (+1.6)
S-PBP: 1.6% (+1.6)
Ind: 3.9% (+0.1)

Cork County Council:


FF: 33.7% (+4.9)
FG: 31.9% (+4.4)
SF: 5.4% (-8.4)
Lab: 3.3% (-4.2)
Green: 2.2% (+2.1)
SocDem: 2.2% (+2.2)
Ind/Others: 20.1% (-0.1)

Fingal:


FF: 17.3% (-0.7)
FG: 17% (+2.3)
Green: 14.1% (+9)
Lab: 13.2% (+1.9)
SF: 9.1% (-5.5)
SocDem: 5.9% (+5.9)
S-PBP: 4% (-5.8)
Ind/Others: 19.5% (-7.0)

Cork City:


FF: 24.5% (-1.1)
FG: 20.6% (-2.4)
SF: 12% (-9.3)
Green: 10.3% (+7.5)
Lab: 5.6% (-0.4)
S-PBP: 3.2% (-0.9)
SocDem: 2.8% (+2.8)
Ind/Others: 21% (+3.8)

Galway City:


FF: 20.5% (+1)
FG: 15.8% (+0.1)
Green: 9.4% (+7.2)
Lab: 7% (-3.9)
SocDem: 6% (+6)
SF: 5.4% (-4.1)
S-PBP: 2.4% (-2.6)
Ind/Others: 33.5% (-3.6)

Leitrim:


FF: 34.4% (+0.7)
FG: 24.7% (-2.6)
SF: 17.2% (-2.0)
Green: 2.2% (+2.2)
Ind/Others: 21.6% (+1.7)

Limerick


FG: 34.2% (+1.5)
FF: 26.6% (+0.8)
SF: 6.0% (-7.0)
Green: 4.9% (+4.9)
Lab: 4.0% (-2.6)
SocDem: 2.8% (+2.8)
S-PBP: 1.6% (-)
Ind/Others: 19.9% (+4.0)

Monaghan:


SF: 34.4% (-)
FG: 24.4% (-5.2)
FF: 24.6% (+0.9)
Green: 2.5% (+2.1)
Ind/Others: 14.0% (+3.0)

Tipperary:


FG: 27.1% (+1.0)
FF: 26.2% (+2.5)
SF: 6.3% (+3.7)
Lab: 5.1% (2.8)
Ind/Others: 35.4% (+3.2)

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