Byelections 2019: Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Greens win four vacant seats

Byelections 2019: Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Greens win four vacant seats
Ballot papers being sorted at the Wexford Town counting centre. Picture: Patrick Browne.

BYELECTIONS 2019 AT A GLANCE

  • Dublin Mid-West: Sinn Féin's Mark Ward has been elected to the Dail on the ninth count in the Dublin Mid West by-election, a result party leader Mary Lou McDonald said was a good day for the “working class”.
  • Cork North Central: It was described early in the day as "a good day for Fianna Fail" by party leader Micheal Martin who has backed Padraig O'Sullivan to represent the area well.
  • Wexford: Fianna Fáil's Malcolm Byrne has said there is no place for racism in politics after being elected in the Wexford by-election.
  • Dublin Fingal: The Green Party is celebrating its first ever by-election victory in Dublin-Fingal after Joe O'Brien secured the seat vacated by Clare Daly after the eighth count.
  • All four byelection seats have been filled.

In summary

Sinn Féin's Mark Ward has been elected to the Dail on the ninth count in the Dublin Mid West by-election, a result party leader Mary Lou McDonald said was a good day for the “working class”.

The Clondalkin councillor beat Fine Gael councillor Emer Higgins by just 500 votes in the end to secure a place in the four-seater constituency.

Celebrating with family and campaigners, Mr Ward declared that his first job when he walks into the Dail next Tuesday will be vote against Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy in a Dail motion.

In Cork North-Central, Fianna Fail's Padraig O'Sullivan claimed the seat in the on the tenth count.

Mr O'Sullivan had been the early frontrunner, claiming 27.6% of the first preference votes and he never relinquished that lead.

He fills the seat vacated by party colleague Billy Kelleher earlier this year. Kelleher had been a TD in Cork North-Central for more than two decades before his election to the European Parliament.

Fianna Fáil's Malcolm Byrne has said there is no place for racism in politics after being elected in the Wexford by-election.

The candidate, who out in a strong performance in May's European Parliament elections, won the seat vacated by Mick Wallace who has taken up a seat in Brussels.

Speaking after his election, Mr Byrne said: "Racism and the language of hate and division has no place in Wexford politics. Wexford is better than that."

Meanwhile, The Green Party is celebrating its first-ever by-election victory in Dublin-Fingal after Joe O'Brien secured the seat vacated by Clare Daly after the eighth count.

Mr O'Brien, a Skerries-based councillor, fended off the challenge of Fianna Fail's Lorraine Clifford-Lee who finished in second place and Labour's Duncan Smith who finished in third position.

Mr O'Brien was formally elected with 12,315 votes having topped the poll and led the field from the front all the way through.

Speaking to reporters after his victory, Mr O'Brien said he was humbled and honoured to have been elected but said it was the result of more than seven years effort.

How the day unfolded

Latest 8.40pm: The Green Party is celebrating its first ever by-election victory in Dublin-Fingal after Joe O'Brien secured the seat vacated by Clare Daly after the eighth count.

Mr O'Brien, a Skerries-based councillor, fended off the challenge of Fianna Fail's Lorraine Clifford-Lee who finished in second place and Labour's Duncan Smith who finished in third position.

Mr O'Brien was formally elected with 12,315 votes having topped the poll and led the field from the front all the way through.

Latest 7.45pm: Fianna Fáil's Malcolm Byrne has been elected in the Wexford byelection.

The Fianna Fáil candidate claimed the byelection following the final count against Labour's George Lawlor.

Mr Byrne took the seat with 18,830 votes, over 3,000 votes clear of Lawlor.

Meanwhile. Labour's Duncan Smith has been eliminated on the seventh and penultimate count from the Dublin-Fingal by-election.

As a result, just two candidates – Green councillor Joe O'Brien and Fianna Fail Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee remain – with Mr O'Brien now in a commanding lead.

Mr Smith's 6,300 votes will now be distributed.

Latest 7pm: Fianna Fail's Padraig O'Sullivan claimed the seat in the Cork North-Central by-election on the tenth count.

Mr O'Sullivan had been the early frontrunner, claiming 27.6% of the first preference votes and he never relinquished that lead.

He fills the seat vacated by party colleague Billy Kelleher earlier this year. Kelleher had been a TD in Cork North-Central for more than two decades before his election to the European Parliament.

O'Sullivan did not reach the quota of 12,784 but was elected once all other candidates were eliminated.

In the end, Mr O'Sullivan proved a strong magnet for Colm Burke's transfers, picking up 2976 votes.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael Senator and former health minister James Reilly has been eliminated from the Dublin-Fingal by-election after the sixth count.

With just three candidates left in the race, Dr Reilly's departure caps off a highly disappointing day for Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who was present at the count centre at the announcement.

Dr Reilly was eliminated with 4,200 votes and the Green Party's Joe O'Brien now looks odds on to be elected to the Dail as he has extended his lead over the other candidates. He is now on 7,984 votes.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael's Verona Murphy has been eliminated from the Wexford byelection.

The candidate has been overtaken by Labour's George Lawlor following the fourth count.

Lawlor is just under 4,000 votes behind Fianna Fail's Malcolm Byrne, who leads the way on 14,729 ahead of the final count.

Latest - 6pm: In Dublin Fingal, the Green Party's Joe O'Brien remains in the lead with 6,784 votes, followed by Fianna Fáil's Lorraine Clifford-Lee on 5,252 votes.

Independents 4 Change candidate Dean Mulligan has been eliminated.

Meanwhile, Senator Colm Burke was eliminated in the ninth count of the Cork North-Central by-election.

It now leaves Cllr Padraig O'Sullivan and Cllr Thomas Gould vying to take the seat vacated by Fianna Fáil's Billy Kelleher.

O'Sullivan remains in a strong position with 8,657 votes to Gould's 7,130.

The count involved the distribution of John Maher's 3,866 votes, with Gould picking up more than 900 as he continued to be transfer-friendly.

Speaking early in the day, Burke had accepted that he was unlikely to catch the early pace-setter in O'Sullivan but he was happy with his performance.

He pointed out that Fine Gael had built on their performance in the 2016 General Election and said he was confident ahead of 2020.

"It was a great team effort by Fine Gael to get here," he said.

"In the last General Election, we came in third. We have improved our percentage. We got over a quota. We must go out and continue to deliver."

Latest 5.45pm: Sinn Féin candidate Mark Ward has been elected to the Dáil following the Dublin Mid-West.

The candidate topped the poll in the constituency, which saw a record low turnout of just 26.58%.

He received 24% of the first preference vote, but was 5,000 short of the quota - meaning transfers were crucial in determining the fate of former Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald's vacant Dáil seat.

Latest - 5.37pm: Both Karin Dubsky and Johnny Mythen have been eliminated after the third count in Wexford.

the remaining three candidates are Fianna Fáil's Malcolm Byrne, Labour's George Lawlor and Fine Gael's Verona Murphy.

The quota is 20,035.

Latest - 5.12pm: In Dublin Fingal, Sinn Féin's Ann Graves and Social Democrats' Tracey Carey have been eliminated from the running after the fourth count.

Ms Graves had 1,481 votes on her elimination while Ms Carey had 1,273.

Following the transfers of Gemma O'Doherty's 1149 votes, Fianna Fail's Lorraine Clifford-Lee has closed the gap on leader Joe O'Brien of the Green Party, but he is still 1,162 votes ahead of her.

There are now just five candidates remaining in the field- Cllr O'Brien, Clifford-Lee, Fine Gael's James Reilly, Labour's Duncan Smith and Dean Mulligan of Independents4Change.

In Dublin Mid West, a large part of the 1,929 votes of Independent Timmons were distributed to Sinn Féin's Mark Ward, who is leading the race.

The councillor is now on 6293 while Fine Gael's Emer Higgins is on 4,583 and Independent Paul Gogarty has a total 4,099 at this stage.

Fianna Fáil's Shane Moynihan has now been eliminated and his 2,894 votes will be distributed as part of the eighth count.

In Cork South Central, Green Party Councillor Oliver Moran was eliminated on the seventh count.

Moran's 2537 votes are now being shared among the remaining candidates.

Latest - 4.30pm: Controversial conservative activist Gemma O'Doherty has been eliminated after the third count in the Dublin-Fingal byelection.

Ms O'Doherty, standing as an anti-establishment independent candidate, secured 1,149 votes before her elimination.

Green Party councillor Joe O'Brien has maintained his lead and appears to be on course to be elected. After the third count, Cllr O'Brien has 5,965 votes compared to the 4,766 votes held by Lorraine Clifford-Lee.

Labour's Duncan Smith was said he was delighted with his performance and is in third spot on 3,926 votes, ahead of Fine Gael's James Reilly who has 3,803 votes.

Meanwhile, Malcolm Byrne has topped the poll in the second count in the Wexford byelection with 12,660 votes.

Latest - 4pm: A fifth count at Dublin Mid West saw the 1,544 votes of Green councillor Peter Kavanagh split among several left in the race.

Sinn Fein's Mark Ward remains in the lead now with 5,426, but Independent Paul Gogarty saw his vote increased by 336 to 3,176 while Fine Gael's Emer Higgins also saw an increase of 211 bringing her up to 3,959 where she remains in second place.

Labour's Joanna Tuffy has now been eliminated and distribution of her 1,775 votes helped Independent Gogarty rise to 3,731 and Higgins to reach 4,362.

But Sinn Féin's Mark Ward is still in the lead with 5,616 votes. Fianna Fáil's Shane Moynihan remains in fourth place.

Independent Francis Timmons has now been eliminated and his 1,929 votes will be distributed as part of the seventh count.

Meanwhile, in Cork North Central, Solidarity councillor Fiona Ryan has been eliminated on the sixth count.

Her 1534 votes will now be distributed among the remaining candidates with speciation rife about how much of an impact she could have on the battle between Thomas Gould and Colm Burke for second place.

In the Dublin-Fingal byelection, Green Councillor Joe O'Brien has topped the poll but is well short of the quota.

After two counts, Cllr O'Brien had 5,837 votes with Fianna Fail's Lorraine Clifford-Lee in second place on 4,672.

Latest - 3.20pm: The distribution of Solidarity-PBP's Sweeney's 1,281 votes in the fourth count further strengthened the lead for Sinn Fein's Mark Ward in the race.

She transferred some 416 votes to the Sinn Fein councillor, pushing up his tally to 5,228.

Another 180 votes went to Independent Timmons, 105 went to Labour's Tuffy and 34 went to Fianna Fail's Moynihan.

Attention is expected to focus on the transfers of Tuffy and how the Labour councillor's transfers are distributed among Fine Gael and Gogarty.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil candidate Malcolm Byrne has topped to poll in the Wexford byelection securing 12,506 first preference votes.

However, the result of the byelection is far from clear cut with Fine Gael's Verona Murphy securing 9,543 first preferences and Labour's George Lawlor behind her on 8,024 votes.

The final outcome will now come down to transfers with the quota set at 20,035.

Three candidates - Melissa O'Neill, Charlie Keddy and Cinnamon Blackmore have been eliminated after the first count.

Also still in the race are Sinn Féin's Johnny Mythen who got 4,125 votes, Aontú candidate Jim Codd who received 2,102 first preferences and Green Party member Karin Dubsky who won 2,490 votes.

In total 40,382 people voted in the Wexford constituency and there were 314 spoiled votes.

Counting underway at the Byelection Count Centre, Wexford Town. Picture: Patrick Browne.
Counting underway at the Byelection Count Centre, Wexford Town. Picture: Patrick Browne.

Latest - 3pm: The leaders in the Dublin Mid West byelection count remain the same after the third count and distribution of McNally's 845 votes.

Sinn Féin's Ward remains on top followed by Fine Gael's Higgins and then Independent Gogarty.

The main bulk of McNally's votes were distributed to Solidarity-PBP's Kellie Sweeney (+143), Independent Paul Gogarty (+133), Greens Peter Kavanagh (+125), Labour's Joanna Tuffy (+109) and Fine Gael's Emer Higgins (+100).

Sweeney has now been eliminated and her overall votes of 1,281 will be distributed for the fourth count.

In Cork North Central, Aontu's Finian Toomey has been eliminated on the fifth count of Cork North-Central.

His 1098 votes will now be shared among the other candidates.

Non-party candidates James Coughlan and Martin Condon were eliminated on the third count.

The count involved the distribution of Thomas Kiely's 248 votes, with Mr Condon picking up 53 of these.

There has been no change at the top, with Fianna Fáil's Pádraig O'Sullivan still in the lead with more than 7,000 votes.

However, he remains some way off the quota of 12,784.

In Wexford, Fianna Fáil's Malcolm Byrne has topped the poll in the first count with 12, 506 votes.

Latest - 1.47pm:

Sinn Féin's Mark Ward is in the lead after the first count in Dublin Mid West, but transfers will be key to deciding if he will be overtaken.

Fine Gael's Emer Higgins is over 1,000 votes behind Ward's lead tally of 4,622.

In third place, Independent Paul Gogarty is hoping to capitalise on transfers to boost his first-preference vote of 2,435.

It has now emerged that Dublin Mid West has had the lowest turnout in the history of elections with just 26.6% of eligible voters going to the ballot boxes yesterday.

The overall electorate was 73,122 but, after 210 spoilt votes, there were just 19,237 valid votes for the byelection.

The transfer of the votes of Madden, Keddie, Nolan and Gardner, a cumulative 754, raised the positions of Sweeney (+155), Gogarty (+122), Ward (+107), Timmins (+66), McNally (+57), Kavanagh (+46), Moynihan (+40), Tuffy (+39) and Higgins (+27).

As the Social Democrats Anne-Marie McNally are the lowest, she has now been eliminated and her votes of 845 will be distributed for the third count.

Counting officers expect that there may be a result in Dublin Mid West by 6pm.

The results in full are as follows:

  • Mark Ward - 4622
  • Emer Higgins- 3576
  • Paul Gogarty - 2435
  • Shane Moynihan - 2264
  • Francis Timmons - 1299
  • Peter Kavanagh - 1222
  • Kellie Sweeney - 983
  • Anne-Marie McNally - 788
  • David Gardner - 317
  • Ruth Nolan - 271
  • Charlie Keddy - 95
  • Peter Madden - 71

In Cork North Central, the result of the first count has positioned Fianna Fáil's Pádraig O'Sullivan clearly in the lead.

He secured 27.6% of the first count with 7,148 votes.

Fine Gael's Colm Burke is in second with 5,385 and Sinn Féin's Thomas Gould in third on 5,041 in a tight race.

Labour's John Maher polled strongly too, with 2,482 votes, with many in the Labour party pleased that it puts them in a strong position ahead of a General Election next year.

Non-party candidate Charlie Keddy, who is running in all four byelections, was eliminated in the first count with just 49 votes, which will now be spread among the other candidates.

The electorate was 85,524, with a total poll of just 25,854 or 30.2%.

There were 287 invalid votes and returning officer Martin Harvey confirmed a quota of 12,784.

Counting continues.

Meanwhile, in Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fáil's Darragh O'Brien appeared to concede the race to the Green Party's Joe O'Brien.

"Obviously we go into every election campaign to try to win it, but there has been a sizeable move toward the Greens and Joe O'Brien.

"I've been that soldier, I've won seats, I've lost seats, I've won it back.

"It's not an easy day for the candidates, there will be disappointment but there'll be other days," he said.

Labour's Ged Nash spoke about Duncan Smith's campaign at the Dublin Fingal counting centre.

"We're actually very pleased with what is an impressive performance for Duncan," he said.

"Looking at the tallies we're nearly there in terms of we have about 97% of the tallies in.

"It's been an incredible performance from Duncan himself and from party activists right across the constituency."

In Wexford, the results of the first count are yet to be announced.

Latest - 12.30pm: Dublin Mid-West

It is a three-horse race in Dublin Mid West with a fully tally complete. Sinn Féin's Mark Ward is leading, followed by Fine Gael's Emer Higgins and then Independent Paul Gogarty.

While Gogarty will be transfer-friendly, Ward has double the vote so far, according to the tally. Fine Gael insist Higgins is still in the race and could get a huge jump when other candidates lower down are eliminated.

The byelection is to replace Fine Gael TD Frances Fitzgerald who was elected as an MEP in May.

This was also considered Fine Gael's best hope at winning a seat out of the four byelections.

With a fully tally (shared by the parties) complete, the position of the candidates is:

  • Ward SF (4374)
  • Higgins FG (3412)
  • Gogarty Ind (2329)
  • Moynihan FF (2163)
  • Timmins Ind (1265)
  • Tuffy Lab (1219)
  • Kavanagh GP (1177)
  • Sweeney PBP (902)
  • McNally SD (759)
  • Gardner WP (294)
  • Nolan I4C (255)
  • Madden NP 64
  • Keddy Ind (92)

Ward polled well in Neilstown, winning over 95% of votes in boxes in St Bernadette's National School, as well as a majority in other nearby count centres.

However, the question is whether the councillor's lead is enough to keep clear of the other two.

Latest - 12.30pm: Dublin Fingal

The Green Party is on course to win the Dublin Fingal seat, according to their own tally.

Its tally is said to cover almost all boxes and covers all parts of the constituency.

It puts their candidate, Joe O'Brien, on 23.5% with Fianna Fáil's Lorraine Clifford-Lee second on 17.4%.

The Labour Party's Duncan Smith is next on over 16.3%, with Fine Gael's James Reilly on just over 14%.

Independents4Change's Dean Mulligan is on over 10% with Sinn Féin's Ann Graves on nearly 5.5%.

Latest - 12.30pm: Wexford

The turnout in Wexford was particularly low at just 35.1%.

With 95% of the boxes tallied, the numbers are as follows:

  • Fianna Fáil: 31%
  • Fine Gael: 24%
  • Labour: 20%
  • Sinn Féin: 6%
  • Green: 5%
  • Aontu: 5%
  • Others: 9%

Latest - 12.30pm: Cork North Central

Fianna Fáil's Pádraig O'Sullivan on the campaign trail earlier this month.
Fianna Fáil's Pádraig O'Sullivan on the campaign trail earlier this month.

With all boxes tallied in Cork North-Central, the signs are good for Fianna Fáil's Pádraig O'Sullivan in securing a seat.

The county councillor has 28.19% of the vote after the tally, giving him a seven-point lead over Fine Gael's Colm Burke.

Sinn Féin's Thomas Gould is in third, with 19.59% and Labour's John Maher is in fourth with 9.7%.

The early signs are that O'Sullivan polled strongly in areas like Glanmire, with Burke coming out on top the likes of Blarney.

Many of the city boxes favoured Gould and Maher, though.

The story of the morning has been one of turnout, though, which is very low in many areas.

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed said that Senator Colm Burke's performance shows promising signs for Fine Gael in Cork North-Central.

However, he conceded that a Fianna Fáil victory is all but a certainty today.

Burke secured 21.14% of the tallies, some seven points behind front runner Pádraig O'Sullivan.

Mr Creed said that Fine Gael was always facing a battle to win the seat, which was vacated by Fianna Fáil's Billy Kelleher in May.

"This is Billy Kelleher's seat. It looks like it'll be a Fianna Fáil victory," he said.

"From our point of view, Colm has increased the Fine Gael vote in Cork North-Central by over 3% and Fine Gael's seat will be secure in the next General Election.

"In recent history, since the 1980s, governments have won just four of 33 by-elections. This was always going to be an uphill battle."

Latest - 11am: Dublin Mid-West

With all boxes tallied in Dublin Mid-West, Mark Ward is in the lead, shooting ahead of Cllr Emer Higgins.

The Fine Gael candidate is not polling as well as expected, but took Paul Gogarty's second polace when boxes in her areas opened.

Gogarty, the independent candidate and former TD, is hoping to gain from transfers as he falls behind in Higgins' areas.

The final tally results is as follows:

  • Mark Ward - 4374
  • Emer Higgins - 3412
  • Paul Gogarty - 2329
  • Shane Moynihan - 2163
  • Francis Timmons - 1265
  • Joanna Tuffy - 1219
  • Peter Kavanagh - 1177

Latest - 11am: Dublin Fingal

In Dublin Fingal, 50% of the boxes have been opened.

Green Party candidate Joe O'Brien has 25% of the vote.

Fianna Fáil’s Lorraine Clifford-Lee, who has served as a senator since 2016, has 16.5% of the vote.

Fine Gael's James Reilly has 13% of the vote, while Dean Mulligan for Independents 4 Change has 11% of the vote.

Sinn Féin are at the bottom of the pile with 5.5% of the vote.

Latest - 11am: Wexford

Three quarters of the boxes have been opened in Wexford.

It looks like it's going to be very close between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil in the Wexford By-election.

Both Verona Murphy and Malcolm Byrne are polling strongly for their respective parties, however no official tally has been released yet.

Fianna Fáil's Malcolm Byrne has been polling strongly in his area of Gorey and may have the overall lead.

Boxes from Wexford Town are being opened at the moment, with early indications of a strong vote for Labour's George Lawlor there.

Latest - 11am: Cork North Central

Fianna Fáil's Padraig O'Sullivan looks set to top the poll. Two thirds of boxes have been tallied and the secondary school teacher has 28% of first preference votes.

It's a close race between Fine Gael's Colm Burke and Sinn Fein's Thomas Gould for second at this stage. with early signs of a geographical split.

Blarney boxes are favouring Fine Gael senator Colm Burke, Glanmire favouring Pádraig O’Sullivan, and the city favouring Cllr Thomas Gould of Sinn Féin and John Maher for the Labour Party.

The count begins at the National Show Centre for the Dublin Fingal Count in the 2019 byelections. Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie
The count begins at the National Show Centre for the Dublin Fingal Count in the 2019 byelections. Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

Latest - 10.00am: Dublin Mid-West

With 62 out of 111 boxes opened, early tallies indicate Sinn Féin's Mark Ward ahead, following closely by Fine Gael's Emer Higgins and then former Green Party TD, now Independent, Paul Gogarty.

Turnout in Dublin Mid-West could be well below 30%.

Latest - 10am: Dublin Fingal

After early tallies in Dublin Fingal the Green Party look best placed to take the seat.

Joe O'Brien is doing well both in his home patch in Skerries but also picking up votes across the constituency.

Labour's Duncan Smith is also polling well in Swords and looks like the most credible challenger.

Fianna Fáil candidate Lorraine Clifford Lee and Independent Dean Mulligan are also tallying well so far but it looks like a Green wave in Fingal

Latest - 10am: Wexford

Tallying is underway in the Wexford byelection.

The counting will begin with boxes in the Gorey area before moving towards Enniscorthy and New Ross and back to Wexford Town.

Latest - 10am: Cork North Central

Early tallies in Cork North Central show a three-horse race for the seat.

13% of boxes have been tallied and we should get a first count by mid-morning.

The Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael candidates appear to be performing strongly.

- Additional reporting Daniel McConnell, Juno McEnroe, Elaine Loughlin and Kevin O'Neill

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