Election 2016: Hung Dáil predicted as voters go to polls

Recent surveys suggest Fine Gael and Labour Coalition may fall short of majority

Voters go to the polls today in an election that could see a hung Dáil as its final outcome.

More than 3.2 million people are eligible to vote in 40 constituencies being contested by 552 candidates, a slight drop on the number that contested the 2011 general election.

Recent opinion polls suggest the Government parties may fall short of a majority. No competing blocs have registered enough support to easily form a government either.

Polling stations open at 7am and remain open until 10pm. The counting of votes begins tomorrow, with the first counts expected in the late afternoon.


Voters will elect 157 of the 158 members of the 32nd Dáil, with Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett automatically returned. The 32nd Dáil, reduced in size by eight seats from the 31st Dáil, will meet on March 10th next.

When the 31st Dáil was dissolved on February 3rd Fine Gael had 67 TDs, the Labour Party had 33, Fianna Fáil 21, Sinn Féin 14, the Anti Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit had four, Renua and the Social Democrats had three each and Independents and Others had 20. One seat was vacant due to the resignation of former Fine Gael deputy Brian Walsh earlier this year.

‘Right direction’

Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said the outgoing Government had "brought our country in the right direction".

“What I would like to happen is that a clear signal will be given and a clear decision made by the people when they do cast their votes. One of the ways that they can avoid confusion and instability and the consequential dangers in that is to support the Government that has been in office for the last five years.”

Tánaiste and Labour Party leader Joan Burton asked people to "think twice" before they voted. She asked for a vote for Labour "for more jobs, a better education system, an improved health system".

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said Ireland needed a "government that works and listens to people".

“Fine Gael and Labour are out of touch and attacking anyone who points out any problems. We cannot have more of the same. Ireland can have an economic recovery as well as a decent society.”

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said the election was a "battle of ideas going on between the golden circles and the people", between austerity and equality. He called on voters to "elect a progressive government".

While a polling card is not needed to vote today, all voters should bring photo identification.