The European race for Dublin…

It’s easy to forget that the picture we have for both Euro polls, north and south, are based on a guestimate of how face down ballots are read by party workers. In Northern Ireland, we’re pretty certain who poll topper will be, and who’s likely to slip badly. But judging who actually gets two and three is a little tougher, since besides difficulties of sampling without the proactive help of staff, there’s the selection bias of each party’s estimates. We can only guess which one of three candidates will make it. In Dublin, the first two are certain, with RTE’s exit poll putting Mary Lou McDonald on 15% and Eoin Ryan and Joe Higgins, both on 11.. However its own tally estimates put them on a dead heat: Higgins 13.45, Ryan 13.25, McDonald 13.1 Although celebrations in some quarters may yet prove premature, it must be worrying for Sinn Fein (although big northern win tomorrow would take the public sting out of any defeat), not least since the Ryan vote has proved more resilient than the exit poll suggested. He may also be a great deal less transfer repellent than expected too. Garrett FitzGerald’s advice that Labour and FG voters should decide along Lisbon lines may also help put some cross party wind at his back (to put with transfers from his party colleague Eibhlin Byrne:

“If that means Fine Gael people, and Labour, voting for Eoin Ryan before [Joe] Higgins or [Mary Lou] McDonald, then that’s the way it should be I believe,”

On the other side, Higgins and McDonald can expect to pick up early transfers from the elimination of Patricia McKenna, and then from whichever of the two of them goes out first. Like a pair of speed skaters, one may be able to ‘whip’ the other across the line. For now, it’s impossible to decide, but a loss for either FF or SF, would be a significant set back in their fortunes.

In any case it looks like providing the Republic’s nearest equivalent to tomorrow’s northern nail biter… Although Liam Aylward in East may stop a few loyal FF hearts trying to get home, and Ganley’s better-than-predicted performance (Ahem, EWI… ;-)) in North West should make for interesting ripples down the ballot paper… (Oh, just to add to the original, Fergus notes there could be two Fine Gael seats in South…)

The count starts at 3pm this afternoon in Dublin, and first thing tomorrow at the King’s Hall in Belfast… In the meantime, keep an eye on the live blog for the latest updates

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  • dublinsfsupporter

    The elections in the 26 counties have gone very well for Sinn Féin and activists should be pleased.

    First, the two elections for which counts have finished, the two bye elections. In each of these Sinn Féin has increased vote share.

    Second, the local elections. The best overall guide to these, since counting is not finished, is the exit poll. This shows that Sinn Féin’s vote share has increased by about 1$ since 2004, a very good performance.

    Turning finally to the Euro elections. Here in Dublin Mary Lou’s seat was made an unlikely prospect because the number of seats in the Dublin constituency has fallen from 4 to 3. So it is particularly impressive that Mary Lou looks very well placed to retain her seat. Outside of Dublin some strong results are also expected. The exit poll for the Euro elections shows about a 1% increase in vote share.

    So, in each of three types of election, comparing like with like, Sinn Féin’s vote is up and activists deserve to be pleased with this result.

  • Sean Og

    The RTE tally didn’t include any boxes from the Dublin South Council area.

    Sinn Fein are particularly strong in that area so I would expect Mary Lou McDonald to move ahead of Joe Higgins on the First count and get elected on his (and other left) transfers.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Although a samll amount of my money is on Mary Lou the smart money is probably elsewhere – and it will probably be a slow painful death by transfers.

  • dublinsfsupporter

    “Sinn Fein are particularly strong in that area so I would expect Mary Lou McDonald to move ahead of Joe Higgins on the First count and get elected on his (and other left) transfers. ”

    Agree 110%.

  • An fhirinne gharbh

    I don’t know how Dublin SF Supporter can claim that Sin Fein have done well in Dublin. They will lose seats to candidates as diverse as The Socialist Party and Mannix Flynn. They wanted to stake some territory out on the left of Irish politics but they risk being outflanked there too. Christy Burke’s by-election performance in an inner city seat at the height of a recesssion doesn’t bode well for SF in the capital.

    It is true, though, that they will pick up seats in other urban centres and that T. Ferris has put in a very good show in the South Euro constituency. But as Padraig Mac Lochlainn slips up in Connaught/Ulster one has to doubt if SF’s breakthrough will ever come.

  • Mack

    Sean Og, which constituency do you mean? South Dublin County Council (Tallaght, Rathfarnham) in the locals was

    FG – 27.2
    Lab – 25
    FF – 17.5
    SF – 11.1

  • Mick Fealty

    State of the parties in the locals so far: Fine Gael has won 203, Fianna Fáil 118, Labour 108, Sinn Féin 34, Greens 2, and Others 85.

    Greens are in serious life threatening trouble. SF made gains in Limerick and in Cork… But not getting Doolin in is surely a set back DSF?

  • Henry94

    Toiréasa Ferris (Sinn Fein) is going to be in the running for the third seat in the South constituency. She is polling well everywhere and will pick up transfers from Kathy Sinnot if she can stay ahead of her.

  • Mick Fealty

    This cracking piece from the comments zone at IrishElection (

    In one of the larger electoral areas, the reliability of the tally went down the drain after the first boxes were tallied, because two parties’ tally-people stopped concentrating on the tally for the second set of boxes that were opened. Instead they went into a tizzy over what the first set of boxes showed.

    (Sitting SF councillor behind his new running mate and at risk of losing his seat; FF assured of only one seat and that most likely to go to the councillor who moved into the area after boundary changes split his base.)

    I was involved in that area’s tally a few years ago, and it is like trying to herd sheep. The FF candidates in particular insist on putting loyal people instead of competent people in to do the job.

  • Mick Fealty

    Think she will have enough to keep her ahead of Kathy Henry?

  • Henry94

    It’s very early but it’s looking like it. I think this might be the shock of the day. She’s a smart girl and ran a great campaign.

    If she pulls this off I think Sinn Fein might have found it’s next leader.

  • Mick Fealty

    Stupid question, forget I asked…

    Exit poll data:

  • Mick Fealty

    Wow… steady on… Mary Lou’s not out of it yet… But that was one of the things that struck me when I saw the IT poll a few weeks back: Tus maith and all that..

  • Mick Fealty

    Wow… steady on… Mary Lou’s not out of it yet… But that was one of the things that struck me when I saw the IT poll a few weeks back: Tus maith and all that..

  • If Ferris is ahead of Sinnott then sure she gets transfers but people are ignoring geography. at least 1 in 3 voters will stay local if they havr the chance. So if Sinnott is eliminated then 30% of her votes stay in Cork (which would be Burke at that point (presuming Crowley is elected)and then 10/15% would be non-transferable (not an unusual figure) and the remaining 60/55% of votes would divide on the basis of policy and personality etc. And of that 60% Burke would be more appealing to those conservative pro-life types than either Kelly or Ferris. At best for him that 60% goes 3 ways evenly, at worst he gets 10% of it to 30% to Ferris and 20% to Kelly. But that 10% is added to the 30% he got for geographical reasons. So he comes out with 40% of her transfers to 30% for Ferris.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Good Day/Bad Day

    If SF get either of the quareones elected it will be GOOD if they get neither coupled with the disappointments in Dublin, nottwithstanding what they gained elsewhere it will be BAD.

    I hope I’m wrong but I’d say BAD based on comments from RTE and elsewhere – dont thin kit will be clear until about 6pm.

    Anyone know if there is a link to super-pollster Sammy Morse on Politics show where he is due to release his much sought after percentages.

  • kensei


    In the latter case it is a MIXED day. I don’t get the “huge setback” if Mary Lou loses the seat. They weren’t expected to get it. If there had have been four seats, they probably would have. SF have een spinning the results quite a bit but this is just spin the other way.

    The setback is in the locals in Dublin. And that is a far more important barometer of health.

  • “If SF get either of the quareones elected”

    Surely it will be the Irish voters who elect them?

  • john

    seems I am not following it too well. But from watching RTE there it seems SF are not making the breakthroughs being talked about here. Not really sure about it all. If SF is not doing so well in local elections in Dublin how can Mary Lou be expected to get through. Where will the vote come from?

  • silkbeard

    One of the worrying things from a SF point of view in Dublin was the loss of a seat in Cabra/ Glasnevin coupled with a poor showing (by expected standards) from Christy Burke in the by-election means the prospect of taking a seat in Dublin Central for Mary Lou next time out is looking increasingly bleak. Fianna Fáíl lost 32 percent in thuis ward and SF picked up very little. FF will not do as badly again, Lab are gauranteed a seat here, Margaret O’Sullivan will be hard to displace and Pascal Donoghue should take the last seat given yesterdays results.

    The loss of Daithi Doolan was a shock to all the parties in Dublin. Mannix Flynn took a large vote from Doolan in the working class neighbourhoods helped in no small way by the media attention he got in the aftermath of the Ryan report (an appearance on the Late Late show etc).

    TBH as a SF member in Dublin all would be forgotten if Mary Lou were to take the European seat. However there are alot of hard questions that need to be asked and difficult decisions that need to be taken over the next number of months to shake up the party in the capital.

  • oracle

    Toiréasa Ferris (Sinn Fein) is going to be in the running for the third seat in the South constituency. She is polling well everywhere and will pick up transfers from Kathy Sinnot if she can stay ahead of her.

    Posted by Henry94 on Jun 07, 2009 @ 11:28 AM

    ******* WHAT A LOAD OF CODSWALLOP *********


    Get with the program henry94 that’s just pure nonsense your reporting to slugger, we are looking facts not fiction

  • Anon


    Actually Newstalk are reporting she has.

  • JOHN

    hopefully Henry is not trying to spin it. It seems Ryan will not make it in Dublin – what way will his transfers go? Are FF voters going to swing to the left with second peferences or are they more likely to opt for Mary Lou?

  • Mick Fealty

    Just been talking to Mark offline. The more worrying thing from FF pov is that there will not be much to distribute from above. Everything is coming from below. If exit poll is right and tallies wrong, the ML’s may be stronger than first sight suggests.

  • Mark McGregor

    Two of the lower candidates – McKenna (Ind) and Simons (Libertas) – may be fertile ground for MLM to gain transfers. The RTE ticker had Libertas transfering strongly to SF, I assume this is from tallying on 2nd prefs. Still very much game on but impossible to call.

  • Henry94


    There would not be much point in spinning. Either Ferris or Sinnot will take the seat. Whoever goes out first will put the other over the line. Ferris will be ahead on the first count but Sinnot will do better on transfers.

    That’s the way it has looked since yesterday and it is still the case. For Ferris to win she will have to stay ahead of Sinnot. That’s what I said earlier.

  • The only race that matters is over – and congrats to Emma Kiernan on being elected to Newbridge Town Council 🙂

  • John

    Henry, I thought that. But we see so much rubbish on these blogs that it is hard to get a straight answer. I think Mary Lou has a better chance.

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    FFers hav become thin on the ground in RDS… Suzy’s reading it as Ryan dead in the water…

  • dublinsfsupporter

    MLM standing a good chance.

  • Framer

    Ganley still looking good for NW assuming people hide voting for him from pollsters.

    Ferris in south not a likely winner as Sinnot or Labour man will be put out and moch more likely to transfer to one another than to SF person.

    Joe Higgins should pick up 3rd seat in Dublin as he creeps forward when bottom feeders go out.

    East seems 1;1;1

  • dublinsfsupporter

    “Joe Higgins should pick up 3rd seat in Dublin as he creeps forward when bottom feeders go out.”

    MLM is more Likely as she will pick up Ryans transfers.

  • dublinsfsupporter

    FIRST COUNT: Eoin on 55k 1st pref votes, Mary-Lou on 50k and Higgins on 48k on first count.

    This is excellent news for Mary Lou who will pick up transfers from Green etc.

  • dublinsfsupporter

    Sweeney and Simons eliminated. Simons transfers going heavily to ML

  • Mick Fealty

    Dublin European Count First Count approx figures from TV3 – Quota is 101,000 – De Rossa on 95, 000, Mitchell on 95,000, Ryan on 55,000 Mary lou McDonald on 50,000 joe higgins on 48,000, byrne on 19,000 From Irish election liveblog…

  • Mick Fealty

    No idea about the rest… McKenna/de Burca transfers will be more telling, but she’s got her nose ahead of Higgins. So the tallies got it in exactly the wrong order… Still too close to call…


    How are the Sweeney transfers going?

  • Henry94

    It’s actually Higgins on 50 and MLM on 48.

  • Seán

    Mary Lou on 48 k, behind higgins on 50k according to TV3, not looking good for her now.

  • Mick Fealty

    oh, right… They have changed it on IE now…

  • Mark McGregor

    Looks like dublinsfsupporter may have given us a ‘Meehan moment’. I didn’t caution people on getting carried away. Still a way to go yet though.

  • Mick Fealty

    More from IE

    With health warning:
    Estimate of McKenna Transfers – 10.8% to De Burca, 15% to De Rossa, 11.8% to HIggins, 9.8% to McDonald, 4.7% to Ryan.
    Estimate of De Burca Transfers – 8.9% to Higgins, 5.7% to McDonald, 5% to Byrne, 15.8% to Ryan.

  • dublinsfsupporter

    Transfers likely at this stage to shade MLM ahead of Higgins, with Ryan still ahead of Higgins, and when Higgins is eliminated then MLM will surge ahead of Ryan, taking her place as an MEP.

  • Mack

    Any breakdown for Caroline Simons’ transfers?

  • Mack

    dublinsfsupporter –

    The figures quoted on Irish Election push Higgins further ahead (unless Caroline Simons transfers disproportionally to MLM)..

  • John

    Listened to RTE and it looks as if the left might just do it in Dublin. If FF transfers go to SF then ML should do it and you would think that is how it would go. But SF have been squeezed by the left in Dubin and a strong working class vote for Higgins could give the seat to the left. Too close to call. Mark I remember the Meehan moment.

  • percy

    too close to call, which is more exciting
    Higgins/MaryLou or Eng/Pak Twenty 20 😉

  • fin

    tough one Percy, but at least Mary Lous career has gone on longer than Morgans Englands career (or Ed Joyce’s)if its have as good as Eng v the Orangemen on Friday I’ll be happy.

    Its a silly bloody game though minimum should be 40 overs

  • percy

    crickey too sharp for me that fin, think I’ll get back to the bottomfeeders.

    When is the result in Dublin expected?

  • Mick Fealty
  • Sean Og

    Full recount in Dublin requested by Greens and likely to take place. Higgins to take 3rd seat no matter.

    Is dublinsfsupporter the most blickered contributor on Slugger or is he a master spin Dr?

  • percy

    European elections:
    Green candidate Déirdre De Búrca has called for a recount in the Dublin constituency

  • fin

    sorry Percy, anyway looked like both events were damp squids, always suspected an English win but Pakistan didn’t even show up, I also expect Mary Lou to pull it out of the bag,

    Heyho, Ireland v India tomorrow and the northern count, my live is soooooooo exciting

  • Mick Fealty

    Well that should take closing matters in this race up till close to midnight…

  • percy

    we’ve never had it so good fin, cricket and elections.
    I’m hearing Mary Lou has conceded, Mick can you confirm?

  • John

    I suppose the type of spin we have heard today from Dublin SF is one of the reasons the party is not trusted. They simply just cannot give it straight.

  • redhugh78

    Not trusted John?
    Don’t think you’ll be saying that tomorrow.

  • Mick Fealty

    Don’t judge the party by its unappointed internet hacks… DSFS is representing no one but himself…

    Nothing I have heard from SF on this fight ever suggested anything other than they knew it was going to be tough…

    Tomorrow they will take most of the laurels in Northern nationalism; with maybe of their vote not seeing the point of transferring to the SDLP…

    Hubris is an intoxicating cup with an often lethal hangover…

  • kensei

    If Mary Lou pulls it out then it is a sticking plaster over the problems in Dublin. It may be better long term if she narrowly misses out. Assuming they take the lessons.

    If a percentage of their vote does not see the point in transfering to the SDLP, then a large part of that problemlies with the SDLP, rather than any hubris on SF’s part.

  • fin

    Dan Boyle of the Greens just out in Cork, Ferris got 1100 transfers but slips to 4th place. Sinnott getting the bulk of transfers

  • fin

    lovely moment when DeBurca’s recount request was announced in the RDS, a collective groan…

    Apparently Cork have stopped counting for the night.

  • Is Ganley’s Vanitas the biggest damp squib in European political history? Only one MEP, and that being the weird French neo-Francoist Philippe de Villiers who has been an MEP for three terms and has seen his vote halve.

  • dublinsfsupporter

    Mary Lou is out on the narrowest of margins and fair play to Mary Lou because the number of seats in that constituecy fell from 4 to 3.

    But look to Ireland South where Sinn Féin may get an MEP!

  • dublinsfsupporter

    Sinn Féin continues to make electoral progress 2009 and has a good set of elections.

    In the two Dublin bye elections: Sinn Féin vote share up.

    In the 26 county European elections: Sinn Féin vote share up.

    In the 26 county locals: Sinn Féin look set to increase number of councillors.

    Thus Sinn Féin continues to be the only party in the 26 counties who have increased their share of the vote or number of elected representatives in each and every successive like for like election since the 1980s.

    There are a lot of partisan people out there wanting to do down Sinn Féin or argue (in spite of the above) that Sinn Féin did not have a good election. They are talking nonsense. All in all, Sinn Féin elecoral progress 2009 has been a good record to build on going forward. Well done to all the activists. It is steady and sustainable growth that the party aims for and that will deliver in the long term.

    For workers rights, labour values, and an Ireland of Equals.

  • latcheeco


  • John

    just read that post by dublinsfsupporter – he/she is absolutely right. Sinn Fein will take the presidency next time time round; Adams will be Taoiseach; SF will take the seat currently held by the BNP in England followed by a huge number of German, Polish and French seats. Joe Cahill will come back from the dead to preside over the victory rallies. Today not even Dublin. Tomorrow the world. Dublinsfsupporter wil be the new Comical Ali of Ireland. I can’t wait

  • Wee Pat

    Dublin SF Supporter

    2004 Mary Lou McDonald polled 60,000 votes – 14.2%

    2009 Mary Lou McDonald polled 47,000 votes – 11.8%

    How is that a good result?

  • Joe Higgins winning in Dublin is probably the worst result possible for Sinn Féin. A loss to Eoin Ryan could be explained away by the fact that the Dublin constituency went from four seats to three. But to lose to both Ryan and Higgins is a major setback for SF, and shows that its organisation in Dublin is in trouble.

    2009 – lost four councillors and their MEP
    2007 – lost one of their TDs

    This at a time when Government popularity is at an all time low – Sinn Féin should be hoovering up disaffected voters, especially those on the left. Instead they are flocking to Labour, Joe Higgins’s Socialist Party, PBP and independents.

    So whether or not the vote share for SF is up, its number of elected representatives is down. Spin it anyway you like, but them’s the hard facts.

  • dublinsfsupporter

    Wee Pat

    Sinn Féin vote for Euro elections is up on aggregate across the 4 constituencies in the 26 counties.

  • Henry94

    It’s up because of Ferris running a great campaign. There are no easy answers for Sinn Fein in the south. I have the impression that the electorate want to hear a couple of things from them.

    First that they are a stand alone organisation and that all ties to the IRA have been broken forever.

    Second that they understand that the armed struggle was a failure and can never be the answer.

    I believe people are crying out for a real alternative. That’s why everybody from Ganley to Joe Higgins to Kathy Sinnot can win thousands of votes. But it’s not a left or right thing. People feel powerless and nobody is better placed than Sinn Fein to build a mass democratic party to give people a real say in the political process.

    The leadership must surrender control of the party to the members in reality and not just as window dressing for a disciplined democratic centralism.

    People put Joe Higgins in the EP but they would not put him in government. Sinn Fein must be a party they would put in government.

    And there is no point in flogging socialism in the south when it is so easy to point to the reality of SF in government in the north.

    If in a decade SF could win 20% of the vote it could be the second biggest party in the south and a real player. But it must change.

  • kensei


    If in a decade SF could win 20% of the vote it could be the second biggest party in the south and a real player. But it must change.

    Complete pipe dream. SF need transfers to move forward. They look to have a stable vote at 7-8%, more in Europeans. If they got transfers they could pick up a handy number of seats.

    Once they have a stable base and decent transfers, then they can look at growth. But making to a consistent 10% would be an achievement, nevermind 20%