How will votes in the local elections influence next Dáil?

Parties will pore over results in the coming weeks to discern trends for the next general election

 The increase in the Green vote means its current two Dáil seats – Eamon Ryan in Dublin Bay South and Catherine Martin in Dublin Rathdown – are secure.  Photograph:  Niall Carson/PA Wire

The increase in the Green vote means its current two Dáil seats – Eamon Ryan in Dublin Bay South and Catherine Martin in Dublin Rathdown – are secure. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

The results of the local elections will be pored over in the coming weeks to discern trends for the next general election, with strategies and tickets amended to maximise success.

Fine Gael, on 49 Dáil seats, and Fianna Fáil, which has 45 (including the Ceann Comhairle), both believe they can achieve a seat haul in the late 50s.

Sinn Féin has 21 TDs; Labour has seven; Solidarity six, and the Greens and Social Democrats have two each. A majority in the next Dáil will be 79 seats.

Below, we look at how the votes in the local elections could influence the composition of the next Dáil.

Fine Gael

Fine Gael took 33 per cent of first preference votes in Cavan, where Joe O’Reilly hopes to regain the seat he lost in 2016. Cavan-Monaghan expands to five seats , so he should join constituency colleague Heather Humphreys in the Dáil.

Two out of three councillors associated with Shane Ross lost their seats on Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, which will encourage Neale Richmond in his push to take a second Fine Gael Dáil seat in Dublin Rathdown.

Dáil candidate Micheál Carrigy is favourite to take a Longford seat where the party won 39 per cent of first preference votes in the locals.

Fine Gael achieved the highest vote share, 27 per cent, in Tipperary County Council and should pick up a Dáil seat.

A second seat in Cork South Central, where Jerry Buttimer is running with Simon Coveney, is in play. Fine Gael added a city council seat south of the Lee.

There is growing concern about Catherine Byrne’s seat in Dublin South Central. No Fine Gael councillor was returned in the south west inner city.

Fine Gael has three out of four seats in Dún Laoghaire, due to former Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett being automatically returned, and will likely lose one.

Noel Rock’s Dublin North West seat is under threat from Fianna Fáil’s Paul McAuliffe, although both could get elected and squeeze Sinn Féin’s Dessie Ellis out.

Fianna Fáil

McAuliffe in Dublin North West, Mary Fitzpatrick in Dublin Central, Catherine Ardagh in Dublin South Central and Cormac Devlin or Mary Hanafin in Dún Laoghaire are seen as likely to take Dáil seats in the capital.

The Sinn Féin drop is also encouraging Fianna Fáil that three out of five seats in Carlow-Kilkenny, which narrowly eluded the party at the last election, is a possibility.

In four-seat Clare, Fianna Fáil won 40 per cent of first preferences. Councillor Cathal Crowe, a running mate for Timmy Dooley TD, topped the poll in Shannon and is well placed.

Independents4Change TD Mick Wallace’s departure for Europe frees up a seat in Wexford, for Lisa McDonald or MEP candidate Malcolm Byrne.

A good day for Fianna Fáil could bring two seats each in Dublin South West and Dublin Fingal.

The failure to take a council seat in Bray, combined with local TD Stephen Donnelly’s constituency manager polling poorly in Greystones, will cause concern for his seat, as will Social Democrat Jennifer Whitmore, topping the poll in Greystones.

Labour

Paul Bell and Pio Smith came first and second in the six-seat Drogheda urban ward of Louth County Council and Michelle Hall took a seat in the Drogheda , reducing the odds on senator Ged Nash returning to the Dáil.

In Kildare South, a strong showing by Mark Wall will give hope that he can win the seat previously held by his father, Jack.

In Dublin Bay North, Senator Aodhán O’Riordáin will have Tommy Broughan’s seat is in his sights after Paddy Bourke, a councillor close to Broughan, lost his seat in Artane.

Joan Burton will be concerned by the surge for Green Roderick O’Gorman.

Green Party

The increase in the Green vote means its current two Dáil seats – Eamon Ryan in Dublin Bay South and Catherine Martin in Dublin Rathdown – are secure. Dublin South Central and Dún Laoghaire look the most promising for gains.

Michael Pidgeon topped the poll in the southwest inner city ward of Dublin City Council. In neighbouring Kimmage-Rathmines, some of which is in Dublin South Central, Patrick Costello, the general election candidate, topped the poll.

In Dún Laoghaire, Ossian Smyth garnered 1,200 above the quota. Greens also topped the poll in Blackrock and Killiney-Shankill.

In Dublin West, Roderick O’Gorman won almost 1,400 above the quota.

Sinn Féin

Rival parties believe Sinn Féin will drop to 17 Dáil seats if the 10 per cent share in the locals is repeated. Sinn Féin won 23 seats at the 2016 election, but has since lost Carol Nolan and Peadar Toibín.

The party only has one councillor in Carlow and was completely wiped out in Kilkenny, and Kathleen Funchion’s seat in Carlow Kilkenny is at risk. It also had a poor outing on Cork County Council, dropping from 10 seats to two, and the Cork East seat of Pat Buckley may be up from grabs. Boundary changes could put Brian Stanley’s Laois seat in danger.

Social Democrats

The party, founded in 2015, had a successful first local election and won 19 seats, with party figures hopeful of Dáil gains in constituencies like Dublin Bay North. It won 10 per cent of first preference votes across the northside five-seater in the locals. Cian O’Callaghan, the general election candidate, came third in first preferences in the Howth-Malahide ward of Fingal County Council.

The Social Democrats also hope that Jennifer Whitmore’s strong performance in Greystones, where she topped the poll, and Gary Gannon’s 20,000 first preference votes in the Dublin European Parliament elections – along with the Dublin City Council seat he won in Cabra-Glasnevin – will put the pair in contention for Dáil seats in Wicklow and Dublin Central respectively.

Independents

The Independent vote in the locals remained strong at 20 per cent of first preferences nationally, counter to expectations unaligned candidates would see a drop in their popularity as the bigger parties reasserted themselves.

In contrast to the weak performance of councillors associated with Minister for Transport Shane Ross, Damien O’Farrell, who works for Minister of State Finian McGrath, topped the poll in Clontarf, Dublin, and Kevin Boxer Moran’s son Jamie was elected in Athlone.

On the Opposition benches, the Healy Rae dynasty expanded in Kerry. The enduring strength of the Independent vote, with 22 per cent of first preferences, points to such TDs continuing to be a significant presence in the next Dáil and in future governments.

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