Local election results: Hundreds of seats yet to be filled as FF and FG set to battle it out to be largest party

Election results: Sinn Féin will make gains in comparison to 2019 result but TD David Cullinane says ‘obviously we expected to do better’

The first Dublin candidates to be elected in the local elections were James Geoghegan of Fine Gael and Hazel Chu of the Green Party. Video: Bryan O'Brien

Counting has resumed in the local elections with hundreds of seats on councils across the country still up for grabs.

The European election counts are also set to get under way today with 14 seats to be decided in the Dublin, Ireland South and Midlands-North-West constituencies. The counts are likely to be lengthy with more than 20 candidates on the ballot paper in each area.

Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Independent candidates have filled the vast majority of the council seats declared so far. Independent Thomas Welby in Galway County Council’s Conamara North electoral area was the first person past the post, celebrating his return to the council on the first count on Saturday afternoon.

Conamara North was also the first electoral area to come to a conclusion, with Séamus Walsh, who stood as an Independent after resigning from Fianna Fáil in a row over refugee accommodation, elected on the second count and Eileen Mannion (Fine Gael) and Gerry King (Fianna Fáil) re-elected on the fourth.


Leitrim County Council was the first local authority to declare a full result, with the last of its 18 seats filled in the early hours of Sunday. Fianna Fáil held six seats and emerged as the largest party, with Sinn Féin (four) and Independent candidates (five) gaining at the expense of Fine Gael (three).

Election results count: Follow liveOpens in new window ]

The counting of ballot resumed on Sunday morning, with more than 700 of the 949 seats yet to be filled. Counts commenced in the vast majority of centres on Saturday but some local authorities were yet to declare any results as of Sunday.

Sinn Féin will make gains in comparison to its disastrous 2019 local election result, but party figures were downbeat about the prospects of its candidates sweeping to victory as they did in the 2020 general election. Robert Brosnan was the first Sinn Féin candidate elected, passing the quota on the fourth count in Corca Dhuibhne in Co Kerry.

Anecdotally, however, many candidates the party added to ballot papers appear to be struggling, with tallies and early results falling short of expectations for a party aiming to lead the next government.

Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane said the party is “not where we want to be” given it won 24.5 per cent of first preference in the 2020 general election and had been polling above 30 per cent until a slide in recent polls.

Mr Cullinane warned against underestimating the resilience of the party and said some council seats would “come down to very complicated transfers”.

“Obviously we expected to do better, I’m not saying that it was a good result for Sinn Féin, of course I’m not,” he told RTÉ Radio. “Absolutely there was no complacency. When we don’t have a good day we accept it. We will have to ask the questions you asked me – why did we not get the votes that we expected to get?”

Election Daily: The first winners and losers emerge

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Simon Harris ‘encouraged’

The Coalition parties have seen their share of the vote hold up quite well, with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael likely to battle it out to be the largest party in local government.

In a voice message to a Fine Gael WhatsApp group on Saturday, Taoiseach Simon Harris said he was “so encouraged” by the results he had seen.

“While there is still a very long way to go, I am so encouraged at this stage to see so many of our candidates doing so well in urban Ireland, rural Ireland, right across this country,” he said. “This hasn’t happened by accident, it’s happened because of your hard work on the ground, to the grassroots members and supporters. It is the honour of my life to be your leader and Taoiseach of this country.”

Five things revealed by Saturday's election resultsOpens in new window ]

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said his party was doing much better than the polls and many pundits had predicted. Results aside, he said he and his Coalition partners are committed to the Government running its full term and he ruled out an autumn general election, saying it would likely be held next February or March. He predicted the party would gain a European seat in Midlands-North-West, where it has three candidates including TD Barry Cowen.

The Green Party polled ahead of expectations at local level, with Hazel Chu reelected to Dublin City Council’s Pembroke ward on the first count. The party’s vote share is down in the capital but many of those elected last time around had significant surpluses and look set to be returned.

Labour sources were optimistic about the party’s performance in areas such as Drogheda, Wexford and Cork.

Hazel Chu (Green Party) was one of the first councillors elected in the Dublin City Council area. Photograph: Sam Boal/Collins

Fine Gael and the Green Party filled the first two seats called on Dublin City Council. James Geoghegan (FG) topped the poll in the Pembroke area and was elected on the first count along with Ms Chu. Fine Gael’s Emma Blain and Labour’s Dermot Lacey were elected in the Pembroke area on the second count.

The Social Democrats are doing well in Kildare and Dublin, particularly on the northside, where they could take two seats in Artane-Whitehall.

Anti-immigrationcandidate Kevin Coyle was also in contention in Artane-Whitehall as were far-right candidates Gavin Pepper in Ballymun-Finglas and Malachy Steenson in the North Inner City.

‘No massive breakthrough’

Minister for Finance Michael McGrath said that despite immigration being raised by voters during election campaigning, there was “no massive breakthrough for the far-right” based on tallies and results on Saturday evening.

“That can only be a good thing,” the Fianna Fáil TD said at Cork City Hall.

Local and European elections: Sinn Féin’s facing a difficult weekend but Independents, not Government parties, profitOpens in new window ]

European elections

In the European Parliament elections, early tallies were running broadly in line with recent polls.

In Ireland South, Billy Kelleher of Fianna Fáil and Seán Kelly of Fine Gael appear to have done well, and Sinn Féin’s Kathleen Funchion and Fianna Fáil’s Cynthia Ní Mhurchú were said to be in contention.

European elections: In Dublin, Barry Andrews of Fianna Fáil is attracting many first preferences and Fine Gael’s Regina Doherty is in with a shot of taking a seat. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

In Dublin, Barry Andrews of Fianna Fáil is attracting many first preferences and Fine Gael’s Regina Doherty is also in with a shot of taking a seat.

In Midlands-North-West, Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowen, ex-RTÉ Midlands correspondent Ciaran Mullooly, Fine Gael’s Nina Carberry and her party colleague Maria Walsh and Independent Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan are said to be going well.

Tallies for the position of Limerick City mayor show Independent candidate John Moran leading in both the city and county areas, followed closely by Helen O’Donnell, also Independent.

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times