Bad weather slows early Meath East byelection turnout

Higher voter numbers foreseen later in wake of snowfall

Polling stations in the Meath East constituency saw a low turnout early today. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Polling stations in the Meath East constituency saw a low turnout early today. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Wed, Mar 27, 2013, 15:33

Varying weather conditions early today have not helped levels of voter turnout in the Meath East byelection, under way since this morning.

Polling stations have seen low voter numbers, with snowfall apparently sealing many workers' decisions not to vote until later in the day.

An increase in voter numbers can be expected, particularly later in the evening, dependent on conditions.

The two leading candidates, Fine Gael’s Helen McEntee and Senator Thomas Byrne from Fianna Fáil, have expressed confidence they will win the seat.

Strategists for the four major parties agree it is going to be a very tight race and the outcome will depend on turnout and transfers.

That analysis is based on a midweek polling day, the closing of voting stations an hour earlier than normal at 9pm - and the weather.

Other candidates in the election are Sinn Féin's Darren O’Rourke, Ben Gilroy (Direct Democracy); Charlie Keddy (Independent); Séamus McDonagh (Workers' Party); Mick Martin (Ind); Gearóid O’Brien (Ind); Sean O Buachalla (Greens) and Jim Tallon (Ind).

The counting of votes begins tomorrow morning.