Counts have concluded in 39 general election constituencies, narrowly making Fianna Fáil the largest party in the 33rd Dáil.
Micheál Martin’s party filled 38 seats (six fewer than its result in 2016), leaving it with one more TD than Sinn Féin (37), which increased its seat total by 14.
Fine Gael, the largest party in the 32nd Dáil, will return with 35 deputies, 15 fewer than in 2016.
The Green Party won 12 seats (an increase of 10 on 2016), the Social Democrats had six deputies elected (up three), Labour finished with six seats (down one), Solidarity-People Before Profit had five (down one ), Aontú has one, Independents4Change has one (down three) and there are 19 Independent TDs.
The national turnout in Saturday’s election was 62.9 per cent, down from 65.2 per cent in 2016.
Election staff finished counting ballots in Cavan-Monaghan at around midnight where Fianna Fáil candidates Brendan Smith and Niamh Smyth took the the final two seats . Sinn Féin duo Matt Carthy and Paulie Tully and Fine Gael Minister Heather Humphreys were elected ahead of them in the five-seater.
Other late counts included Sligo-Leitrim, where Fianna Fáil’s Marc MacSharry retained his seat and Fine Gael’s Frank Feighan secured a return to Dáil Éireann. Marian Harkin (Independent) and Sinn Féin’s Martin Kenny were also elected.
In Wicklow, three of the five seats were filled on the final count, long after the election of Sinn Féin’s John Brady after the first count on Sunday. Jennifer Whitmore of the Social Democrats took the second seat on the 14th count with Minister for Health Simon Harris, Stephen Donnelly of Fianna Fáil and Steven Matthews of the Green Party elected on the 15th count.
Fine Gael Minister of State Andrew Doyle was the last person eliminated, losing his seat after 13 years as a Dáil deputy. Fianna Fáil’s Pat Casey, a Glendalough-based hotelier, lost his seat earlier in the count.
May well be taoiseach
During an impromptu walkabout around Dublin's Moore Street on Monday evebung , Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald was asked whether she would be the next Taoiseach when the counting concluded.
“I may well be the next Taoiseach, yes,” she said.
Ms McDonald claimed that Sinn Féin had “won” the election on the basis it had received the largest share of the popular vote.
Her party won 24.5 per cent of the vote, ahead of Fianna Fáil on 22.2 per cent and Fine Gael on 20.9 per cent. The Green Party won 7.1 per cent, Labour received 4.4 per cent, the Social Democrats took 2.9 per cent and Solidarity-People Before Profit received 2.9 per cent. Independent TDs and others won 15.4 per cent.
Speaking on RTÉ Radio, Ms McDonald said she was glad that Mr Martin had “come to his senses” when making comments on Sunday that seemed to open the door to possible talks with Sinn Féin.
This was a departure from his consistent line during the campaign that Fianna Fáil would not agree to any arrangement with Sinn Féin.
Ms McDonald said her preference remains a government without either of the two formerly largest parties, but added that “grown up people” sit down and talk.
Also speaking this morning, Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary said his party would “certainly” be willing to talk to Sinn Féin.
There have been a number of high profile casualties so far. Veteran Fianna Fáil TD Pat the Cope Gallagher lost his seat in Donegal, . Independent and Minister of tate Kevin Boxer Moran lost his seat in Longford-Westmeath, Minister for Transport Shane Ross lost his seat in Dublin-Rathdown, while his fellow Independent Cabinet minister Katherine Zappone also lost her seat in Dublin South-West. Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty lost her seat in Meath East.
Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O'Connor lost her seat in Dún Laoghaire, Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger lost her seat in Dublin West and Government chief whip Seán Kyne lost his seat in Galway West. The former Labour leader Joan Burton lost her seat in Dublin West, while high-profile Fine Gael backbenchers Kate O'Connell has lost her seat in Dublin Bay South while Fianna Fáil's Brexit Spokesperson Lisa Chambers lost her seat in Mayo.
Fine Gael’s Catherine Byrne lost her seat in Dublin South Central while Fianna Fáil’s TD Malcolm Byrne, who was elected for the first time in November’s by-election, failed to retain his seat in Wexford. In Clare Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley has lost his seat.