By Anne Lucey
With Sinn Féin neck-and-neck with Labour in Killarney, Sinn Féin's Martin Ferris is hopeful the party could take a seat in the Killarney area and make an historic breakthrough.
John Buckley is level with the Labour candidate Sean Counihan, each with just over 4% of the vote in a field of 16 candidates where Danny Healy-Rae may reach two quotas.
The TD said his party's performance was a great day for the Irish people.
"It's been a great day for the Irish people taking into account this has been a day they have voiced their dissatisfaction with this Government who are copying the previous Government's policies of
Mr Ferris said vote management was key to their success in Tralee where both Sinn Féin candidates are likely to head the poll - but the Killarney area candidate is also in with a chance of breaking through in Killarney where the Castleisland votes have yet to be counted.
Clever vote management was the key to Sinn Féin’s electoral success in north Kerry and the Tralee area, especially, according to Martin Ferris.
The strategy to ask party supporters to vote for his daughter, Toireasa Ferris, in the rural areas of Tralee and to vote for Pa Daly in the town had worked extremely well, he said.
For instance, Ms Ferris polled 122 at The Spa National School, outside Tralee, with Mr Daly getting 30 there, according to tallies.
In Scoil Mhic Easmainn, a Tralee town voting centre, Mr Daly got 125, while Ms Ferris was on 38.
Both comfortably exceeded the expected quota on the first count.
‘’My own view all along was that we should have run three candidates in Tralee and If we did, we would most likely win three seats. But other people in the party were very adamant about running just two candidates,’’ Deputy Martin Ferris said.
SF have gained a seat in Tralee and could also pick up a second seat in Listowel, doubling its representation on Kerry Co Council from two to four.