Higgins pulling clear as first counts come in

The first of the official counts in the Presidency are being declared this evening with Michael D Higgins is now certain to be elected the ninth President of Ireland.

Higgins pulling clear as first counts come in

The first of the official counts in the Presidency are being declared this evening with Michael D Higgins is now certain to be elected the ninth President of Ireland.

The Labour candidate will have a commanding lead over the Independent Seán Gallagher when the national first count is announced at Dublin Castle, expected between 7pm and 8pm tonight.

Dublin Mid West was the first to declare a first count result giving Higgins 40.3% of the vote compared to 22.1% for Gallagher, while similar results were also reported in Dublin South.

Higgins also topped the poll after the first count in Kildare North, while final tallies from the remainder of the country's 43 constituencies also indicated first preferences falling in favour of the Labour candidate.

Higgins is forecast to win every one of the 12 Dublin constituencies by about two to 1 - though in areas like Dun Laoighaire, Dublin South and Dublin Central it's nearer three to one.

That picture is expected to be reputed in Cork City, Limerick City, Kerry North, West Limerick, his native Galway and Louth.

Mr Gallagher was forecast to top the poll however in some constituencies, among them Roscommon/South Leitrim, his native Cavan and Donegal South West and was forecast to end the first preference count on around 27%.

Martin McGuinness should top the poll in Donegal North East which neighbours his native Derry - his national vote is expected to be about 15%.

However it was a bad day for Fine Gael's Gay Mitchell who was tallying between 6% and 7% and even his home constituency of Dublin South Central was only predicted to get about 1 in 8 votes.

Meanwhile Labour's Patrick Nulty has topped the poll in the Dublin West by-election.

Counting of the two referendums is off until tomorrow with analysts expecting the referendum on the judges' pay to pass comfortably.

However some tallies show that the 30th Amendment to the Constitution, on giving more power to the Oireachtas, could be in trouble.

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