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7 March 2016 Edition

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Sinn Féin surges again – 23 TDs and rising

LESS THAN 20 YEARS after Sinn Féin won its first seat in the 1997 Leinster House elections, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin was returned again in Cavan/Monaghan for a fifth consecutive win, along with 22 other Sinn Féin deputies in the party’s best performance ever in Dáil elections. Sinn Féin won 285,319 votes.

We go through the Sinn Féin results for each candidate and constituency.


Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin ran in Cavan/Monaghan with Sinn Féin Senator Kathryn Reilly. Together they polled 27% of first-preferences, significantly more than the quota of 11,931 but not enough to take a second seat.

Donegal was merged into a single five-seat constituency from two three-seaters. Sinn Féin ran an ambitious three-candidate strategy, with Gary Doherty joining sitting TDs Pearse Doherty and Pádraig Mac Lochlainn on the party ticket. Together they took 27.5% of the first-preferences. Unfortunately, Pádraig lost his seat.

In Galway East, Sinn Féin took 5.9% of the vote, marginally down on 2011. Annemarie Roche was the Sinn Féin candidate. In Galway West, 8.9% of the first-preferences in this five-seater constituency went to Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh who polled 5,755 first-preferences, narrowly missing out on the last seat over 14 counts.

Rose Conway Walsh had 6,414 first-preferences in Mayo, taking 10.1% of the vote, up from 6.5% in 2011 but it was not enough for Rose to take a seat this time round in a four-seater already dominated by Fine Gael’s Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Michael Ring.

There were three seats in the new Roscommon/Galway constituency. Claire Kerrane won 3,075 first-preferences, 6.7% of the vote. In the reconstituted Sligo/Leitrim constituency Sinn Féin ran two candidates. In Sligo, it was Chris MacManus and in Leitrim it was Martin Kenny. Together they won 17.8% of the vote and Kenny won the seat previously held by Michael Colreavy.


• Pearse Doherty takes a selfie with his Donegal Sinn Féin team


The Dublin constituency boundaries were redrawn significantly in the 2012 Boundary Commission. Across the city there were 35 seats to be won. Going into the election, Sinn Féin had four Dublin TDs elected in 2011; now the party total has increased to six.

In the newly created Dublin Bay North constituency Sinn Féin ran City Councillors Mícheál Mac Donncha and Denise Mitchell, who together polled 11.6% of the vote. Mícheál (a former Editor of An Phoblacht) had 3,527 first-preferences while Denise polled 5,039 votes. A recount was called by independent candidate Averil Power, with Denise elected after a mammoth count on Tuesday afternoon.

Chris Andrews was the Sinn Féin candidate in Dublin Bay South, contesting the seat on the back of winning a council seat in 2014. He polled 9.5% of the vote, nearly three times the 3.6% won in the old Dublin South East constituency in 2011 and was ‘last man out’.

Dublin Central saw Mary Lou McDonald secure a seat here in 2011 in this closely-contested three-seater and this year Mary Lou stormed in to top the poll with 24.4%.

In the Fingal constituency in north County Dublin, first-time candidate Louise O’Reilly took 8.7% of the first-preferences and on the following day took the last seat, from Fine Gael’s James Reilly, Children’s Minister and Fine Gael deputy leader. Reilly was one of a series of ministers (including Labour’s Alex White and Kevin Humphreys) who lost their seats.

Eoin Ó Broin won a whopping 22.7% first-preferences in Dublin Mid West, being elected on the first count and being the first Sinn Féin TD elected in this contest. Eoin has the unique distinction of having been elected not just to the Dáil but also to South Dublin County Council and Belfast City Council.

Sinn Féin won 27% of first-preferences in Dublin North West, up from 21.7% in 2011. There was a two-candidate strategy here with local Councillor Cathleen Carney Boud running alongside sitting TD Dessie Ellis, who was re-elected for Sinn Féin.

Sorcha Nic Cormaic was the candidate in the newly-created three-seat constituency of Dublin Rathdown. Taking in part of the old affluent Dublin South constituency, Sorcha, who was elected to Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Council in 2014, polled 7% of first-preferences with 2,858 votes.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Máire Devine were the Sinn Féin team in Dublin South Central. Máire is a councillor on South Dublin County Council and Aengus has been a TD in this constituency since 2002. This was his fourth win. Together they polled 23.3% of the vote, up from 11.4% in 2011. Devine took 3,332 first-preferences and Aengus won 6,639. Together they had more than a quota but not enough to win the second seat.

There were two candidates in Dublin South West with South Dublin County Councillor Mayor Sarah Holland running alongside sitting TD Seán Crowe. At 14.3%, the Sinn Féin vote was slightly down on 2011. Seán held his seat but Sarah was eliminated after polling 2,616 first-preferences to Sean’s 6,974.

In Dublin West, Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Donnelly hit the bar again after his narrow defeat in the 2014 by-election in this constituency. Paul had 14.4% of the first-preferences, up from 6% in 2011 but it wasn’t enough to take a seat against three high-profile sitting TDs in this four-seater.

Shane O’Brien won a council seat for Sinn Féin in Dún Laoghaire in 2014 and in this general election he took 5.3% of first-preferences (the party did not run here in 2011).


• Aengus Ó Snodaigh celebrates his re-election with supporters at the RDS


Kathleen Funchion has pulled off a number of firsts for Sinn Féin, beginning with being the first party representative elected to Kilkenny Borough Council in 2009 and now the first Sinn Féin TD in Carlow/Kilkenny as 8,700 vote (12.4%) helped Kathleen to the seat on the tenth count.

In Kildare North, Sinn Féin took 6.5%, with Councillor Réada Cronin winning 3,205 votes. Réada was eliminated on the eighth count. In Kildare South, Patricia Ryan won 4,267 votes, 11.6% of first-preferences, up from 6% in 2011.

The new Laois constituency returned Brian Stanley for a second term as a TD. Brian won 21.2% of first-preferences, 8,242 votes and was elected on the third count.

In Longford/Westmeath, Sinn Féin’s Paul Hogan was fourth after the first count, with 9.5% of the first-preferences, up from 7% in 2011. A full recount is ongoing in this constituency as An Phoblacht goes to press and Paul still has a chance of being there for the final seat.

Sinn Féin’s two-candidate strategy won two seats in Louth, as the party garnered 28.9% of first-preferences and Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams topped the poll (being elected on the sixth count) with Imelda Munster winning the second Sinn Féin seat on the tenth count and becoming the first woman TD for Louth.

In Meath East, Sinn Féin’s Darren O’Rourke was fourth on the first count in this three-seater with 14% of the first-preferences (5,780 votes), up from 9% in 2011. In the neighbouring Meath West, Peadar Tóibín was re-elected for Sinn Féin on the second count with 24.5% of first-preferences, up from 17% in 2011.

Offaly produced a remarkable breakthrough for Sinn Féin when Carol Nolan won a seat for the party in this three-seat constituency. Carol’s 4,804 votes gave her 10.4% of the first-preferences and she was elected on the seventh count.

A full recount was called in Wexford where Sinn Féin Enniscorthy Councillor Johnny Mythen won 10.1% of the vote (7,260 first-preferences) and just missed out on a seat by 52 votes.

In Wicklow, Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady’s 16.2% of first-preferences won a first seat for the party here as he was elected on the second count.


•  Dessie Ellis TD celebrates in the RDS after being re-elected for the Dublin North West constituency


Pat Buckley held the seat that Sinn Féin Cork East won in 2011 with 10.1% of the first-preferences in this four-seat constituency. Buckley was elected on the tenth count.

In Clare, Noeleen Moran took 7.4% of the vote, all the more impressive as Sinn Féin did not stand here in 2011 and it will build towards a council seat here in 2019.

In Cork North Central, Jonathan O’Brien held his seat. Running mate Thomas Gould put in a strong performance and the combined Sinn Féin vote was at 19.5%, up from 15%. In Cork North West, Nigel Dennehy won 6.9% of the vote and was eliminated after the sixth count. Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire became the third Cork Sinn Féin TD, winning a seat in Cork South Central. Donnchadh won 12.5% of first-preferences up from 8% in 2011 and was elected on the eleventh count. Councillor Rachel McCarthy won 8.5% of first-preferences in Cork South West, up from 7% in 2011.

All was transformed in Kerry as the two three-seat constituencies of Kerry North and Kerry South were merged into one five-seater. Martin Ferris retained the Sinn Féin seat here with 9,458 votes on the first count, 11.9% of first-preferences for his fourth consecutive win.

Maurice Quinlivan’s 12.6% of the vote in the new constituency Limerick City constituency heralded a huge step up for Sinn Féin as the city councillor took the seat with the other three going to Fine Gael/Labour Ministers Michael Noonan and Jan O’Sullivan as well as Fianna Fáil’s Willie O’Dea. In Limerick County, Sinn Féin Councillor Séamus Browne won 7.5% of the first-preferences.

The newly-created five-seat Tipperary constituency saw Sinn Féin Nenagh Councillor Séamus Morris take 7.3% of first-preferences, going out on the fourth of seven counts.

Waterford saw another huge advance as Senator David Cullinane took 18.8% of first-preferences in this four-seat constituency, up from 10% in 2011. Cullinane was elected on the sixth count and enters the 32nd Dáil with the strongly-enhanced Sinn Féin team.


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