Donegal South West: Live blog…

Not sure when this is going to hit the deadball line, but at the moment of launching Doherty’s in a clear lead, but it will come down to transfers…

12 noon:

Final Tally: Doherty (SF) 39.7%, McBrearty (Lab) 10.1%, Ó Domhnaill (FF) 21.2%, O’Neill (FG) 18.4%, Pringle (Ind) 10.1%… FG conceding… it’s a cakewalk for Sinn Fein…

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Wonder what % SF will need before they consider running a 2nd candiadte in GE – presumably high 40s which they are unlikley to achieve – even then turnout will have been affected by the fact that the voters will have to return in a few months for the GE.

    .. and presumably Doherty is a little disappointed that Gerry will be taking a seat in Louth as he otherwise might have had a higher profile.

  • Mick Fealty

    You’d want to be hitting 40% (that Paddy Power predicted), but even then you’d want to see it twice.

  • drumlins rock

    How low do FG need to be for Enda to get the push?

  • Nordie Northsider

    If they have any sense at all they’d make Pearse leader of the Dáil party, but Gerry’s ego won’t allow that.

    By the way – didn’t Eoghan Harris make a bet with Jude Collins at the West Belfast Festival that SF would lose all their remaining seats at the next Dáil election? I reckon Jude’s quids in there.

  • Mick Fealty

    A great deal lower than O’Neill is at now… TMcGinley’s Gaeltacht vote is going FF/SF…

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    I think he is safe now until after GE but If FG finish below Labour in seats he will be no more.

  • pippakin

    I think Labour are losing the socialist vote to SF but how anyone could believe SF are socialist is beyond me.

  • JR

    This is good timing for SF. A win a month before a general election will put them in the headlines. Will Gerry adams be a minister in the next dáil?

  • George

    If you are talking about people who vote Labour because they actually believe Labour are socialist then it doesn’t seem too much of a leap.

  • pippakin


    Well alright there may be a few question marks there, but surely no one can argue SF ARE socialist! at least not if they look at their leaders and their relatively recent history they can’t.

  • joeCanuck

    That’s funny, JR. Must be the way you tell them.

  • Valenciano

    Excellent, I’ll win 100 if SF win.

    On those figures they’re still well short of 2 seats as they’ll have got a bit of a by-election bounce and conversely the other parties supporters not turning out. The GE will likely go SF, FG, FF.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    what odds 2/5?

  • Valenciano

    Yup, so a bit of a sweat….

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    I think more people bet on SF than the other parties so their odds are generally too short.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Good man Pearse — I had £50 on him at 2/5 — that’ll do nicely.

    Hot tip for Unionism — you’ll never lose money betting on SF…

  • JR

    The chances are remote to say the least but never say never.

    I was at a party in Dublin last weekend with some of my old college friends. Maybe it was just that the IMF were in town, I don’t know but some of my mates who would never have had a nationalistic bone in their bodies before seemed to be developing some nationalism.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    I think while partisans will “spin” it….there are two basic facts. One is the low turn out. Second (related to the first) is a General Election happens in a few months.
    A protest vote (as well as a a presence in the constituency AND genuine vote changing) gives SF a seat which they ill hold on to probably with a lower perecentage in the Spring.
    I will look at the figures tonight but Id say now that SF and FF would take a seat at GE. The third dependent on eliminations and transfers.
    Ironically this vote today will boost SF in other constituencies for GE much more than it will affect Donegal SW in say late February.
    But going thru figures last night, I was reminding myself of SFs last performance nationwide and while they narrowly missed out on some seats last time, the stark truth is that they have no meaningful presence in a lot of places.
    At best all they can hope for is to mop up a few seats missed last time, get lucky in one or two others….and turn pathetic performances last time into reasonable respectability.
    As for the Socialist vote…..well I think Seamus Mallon was quoting someone else when he said “socialism is what socialism does” so keyboard socialists dont endorse either SF or Labour or SDLP as “real” socialists like losers like Eamonn McCann or mavericks like Joe Higgins.
    But the point is that real people vote SF, Labour and SDLP actually get voted for. And the parties and their voters believe they are socialist.

  • pippakin


    Political parties have to reflect the electorate. It is arguable that Labour is not far left socialist but if they were they would barely get a vote and neither would any of the others. I don’t think there is room for the number of ‘socialist’ parties there are here. The GE will shed real light, albeit influenced by the current situation, on the popularity of parties.

    I’m actually surprised at how well FF did. I did not think they would get as much as 20%. whereas SF were expected to do well IN DSW . I think GA will do well in Louth but they also have a strong base there.

  • Sean Og

    “you’ll never lose money betting on SF…”

    Did you bet on Pearse last time out?

  • Valenciano

    Yeah it’s a bit like England in the footy. The betting closed at 1/20 on Ladbrokes and Boylesports and 1/14 on Paddy Power so there was money going in even below the 1/10 mark, way too short but he was always likely to win. The only time I’ve ever seen odds like that producing a loser was earlier this year when Martin Jol dropped to 1/20 to get the Fulham manager job before the Ajax board did a last minute u-turn.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Im not surprised at FFs vote. It is a heartland so the core vote below which it could not sink would be higher than in most places. Im a firm believer that General Elections are actually 43 different elections on same day.
    So the FF will sink below this in other constituencies. This was a 2:1 constituency and it is now plainly a place where only one person can takea FF seat.
    How FF maximise their vote here in February will be interesting. Will they even run two candidates? As Mary Coughlan will feel she has the “right” to be on the ticket and O’Domhnall will feel he may not have a career in politics as he felt was his “right” then that could make for an interesting selection conference.
    Indeed if both were on the ticket Id predict that O’Domhnall would beat Coughlan as he is untainted by the disaster…….Coughlan can console herself with a nice pension.
    Indeed if this result is replicated and places where FF have two TDs at present start returning just one…….and places where there is just one start having none……then this is a meltdown. And FF could be facing around 35 seats.
    All subject to later considered analysis of course.
    Donegal South West is a place where SF would be the beneficiary. In other places it will be Labour and FG.

    This is a poor result for Labour..starting of course from a low base. But I wonder if the word “default” starts to appear more often on Labour lips. Populist certainly but it captures the public mood…even if it is just totemic.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    No I didn’t Sean — but having won a few quid on the Gildernew last May and now on Pearse, I reckon the only sure way to make money in these tough times is backing SF in seats where they have a realistic chance. That guy in Louth looks tempting.

    Have to say the FF vote held up better here than I’d expected. Has to give them a glimmer of hope that the GE may not be a complete rout.

  • Anon

    What happen’s to Pearse’s Senate seat? Can SF reallocate it, to Mary Lou say?

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Actually the next election battles will not be the General Election. It will be selection conferences in 43 places. Elderly FF people will be asked to step down as strategists contemplate the stupidity of having too many candidates and this will lead to tension and some declaring themselves “Independent” and trying to get some clear water between them and the Government.
    There were I think 78 FFs returned in 2007 so it is going to be gloves off nasty stuff between now and the Election.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    When a Senator gets into the Dáil, resigns, dies etc there is a bye election in the Vocational Panel from which he/she comes….Industry, Culture, Agriculture etc.
    Doherty is from a Vocational Panel but I cant recall which one.
    There could of course be a co-option …..selecting say Mary Lou McDonald but its more likely there would be an election.
    Its very unlikely that this would take place before a General Election and a new Senate will emerge after the GE.

  • drumlins rock

    ok, you want to put £50 quid on them getting a seat in North Down in May?

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    No worries Drumlin — you post me the £50 I’ll put it on for you 😉

  • Perhaps His Grace was prophetic? ;o)

  • percy

    looking forward to peteb’s post on SF win already..
    esp as Adams turned up and spoke
    .. should be a cracker of a thread..

    any odds on the thread happening?

  • Seamus Rua

    What ever your opinion of Pearse Doherty, he is a pretty class act.

    But so is Tomás Sharkey – bitterly dissappointed he will not be in the next Dáil.

    Both these guys outclass Mary Lou (as do the SF Dáil team in general).

  • Framer

    All sorts of crazies and ultra lefts will win seats at the next Dail election, not just SF. It will be like no other since 1930.

    As a result no coherent government will emerge that can introduce the necessary re-structuring between the public and private sectors that would see the latter properly decimated in perks and pensions let alone pay.

    Only a national government (FG and FF) – a London-style coalition – could save the day. Labour and FG could not scrap the Croke Park agreement.

    So the economic crisis will just get worse until Ireland is forced to seek re-entry to the sterling zone.

  • billy

    Hissy fit alert!

  • billy


    the weekend’s already spoiled for the Slugs…

  • Wilde Rover


    “All sorts of crazies and ultra lefts will win seats at the next Dail election, not just SF.”

    Based on the performances of legislators over the last ten years they will have come to the right place.

    “As a result no coherent government will emerge that can introduce the necessary restructuring between the public and private sectors that would see the latter properly decimated in perks and pensions let alone pay.”

    Because of the craziness, eh?

    “Only a national government (FG and FF) – a London-style coalition – could save the day.”

    Only the people (and I don’t exclude FG from the possibility of having done similar things given the chance ) who created the problem can fix the problem? I believe it was Einstein who said doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

    “Labour and FG could not scrap the Croke Park agreement.”


    “So the economic crisis will just get worse until Ireland is forced to seek re-entry to the sterling zone.”

    The punt was pegged to sterling for a long while in the past, so…

  • Mick Fealty

    HIs grace ought to hang on to that docket for another wee while yet. Donegal is not Ireland. Pearse Doherty is their best, highest profile candidate. Their second best is next door in DNE.

    This is a great boost (and Minster O’Cuiv said some warming words that might give rise to the impression that FF would like to do some business with them in the future), but as things stand there are not too many who believe Gerry understands the question of what faces the country never mind providing an answer.

    My pre-campaign analysis:

  • drumlins rock

    ack percy that ones easy, “Will Doherty be a challenge to Adams leadership?”

    loads of speculation on that already.

  • Wilde Rover

    Doherty 13719 39.85%
    McBrearty 3366 9.78%
    O Domhnaill 7344 21.33%
    O Neill 6424 18.66%
    Pringle 3438 9.99%
    Sweeney 133 0.39%


    This is what I don’t understand. Surely in a multi-seat contituency, ALL the seats should go up for election if one of the sitting members vacates it? Only having an election for one seat means that the seat (mostly) is favoured to the party who is most popular in the constuency and not in proportion to its support e.g. imagine a 4 seaters whose seats are won as follows : FF/FF/FF/GREEN

    Let’s say Green won only 20% of the vote and got in on transfers. In PR, it was fair that they won the 4th and final seat.

    however, imagine the Green TD resigned. How would the GREEN party win the bye election if only one seat is up for bye-election? say in the General Election, FF won 81% between the 3 candidates and Green won 19%. If we only have one seat for bye election and assuming voting patterns remained the same, FF would win 81% and Green 19% thus giving the 4th seat to FF when in fact, it was rightfully the Greens had all 4 seats been up for grabs.

    Am I the only person here to see this anomoly and downright breach of the principles and spirit of the PR system?

  • Mick Fealty

    It does work that way, and never has. In fact in Northern Ireland the party is deemed to own the seat and can nominate a successor that’s never been near a public poll.

  • drumlins rock

    It worked that way in councils in NI up till this yr, bad as co-opting is I think it is a better option, the trickey bit is if someone was elected for one party but changes, then resigns or dies, who does the seat belong to?

  • joeCanuck

    That’s why co-option, or variations of it, is sometimes used in PR counties with multi seats in larger constituencies.
    Almost every time there is a USA presidential election, Scientific American publishes an article “proving” that there is no method of election that can be described as totally fair; there are always anomalous results in one way or another. I favour co-option using the Party list system for that.

  • Mickeyfinn

    Fianna Gael on 39.99%.
    Is that some sort of a record?
    Have they ever fallen this low in a constituency, in any election?

  • RG Cuan

    Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher just on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta:

    Pat: “I don’t think even God could have held this seat for Fianna Fáil.”
    Presenter: “So you would have lost it too then?”
    Pat: “Well i didn’t say that, i said God!”

  • drumlins rock

    RG, that for real?
    has to be one for the “great book of Irish Quotes”

  • pippakin

    RG Cuan

    Excellent! I suppose its too much to hope Mr Gallagher will be among the unemployed in the near future, when are the next European elections??? Not that I’m the the vengeful type but, sure with God on our side…

  • Coll Ciotach

    Not a chance – they learned when Wilson devalued that that was a disaster

  • chewnicked

    Well done to Pearse, the best candidate regardless of party politics.
    Also a sign that Sinn Fein will tap into the disaffected Fianna Fail vote at the expense of Fine Gael and Labour.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The recent changes are covered by the NI Electoral Law Act 1962 Amendment Order 2010.

    Since it amends previous legislation it’s bloody hard to read, but from what I can tell it doesn’t seem to cover people switching parties. It does cover independents (a substitute list provided at the time of nomination is used), candidates of two parties (both parties must agree a replacement or a by-election is held) or parties which no longer exist (a by election is held).

    That’s a problem that could end up in court. I’d imagine a by-election would be forced.

  • Valenciano

    I’d mostly agree with Orwellspen on this one. No electoral system is perfect but for me STV is best as it covers two desirable bases: it provides some degree of proportionality and unlike those crappy list systems, doesn’t make the assumption that people vote for a party. Under STV people are free to vote any way they like, on the basis of party preference, Europe, abortion, health or whatever. This is why the co-option method is totally against the spirit of STV as it subsequently turns it into the equivalent of a list system.

    Imagine you have a far left Labour voter in the UK in such circumstances, he votes for a Tony Benn/Dennis Skinner style candidate who subsequently gets replaced at the whim of the party by a gratingly New Labour style candidate. I doubt he’d be happy. What’s wrong with having a lsystem involving a substitution list for all candidates at the time of the election? That way any replacements have a democratic mandate in the way that Joe Biden would have if he subsequently replace Obama.

  • redhugh78

    Pretty mute on here this evening,

    Can’t wait to see what a certain poster on Slugger will concoct to try and poo poo the SF victory.

    I’m off to Gweedore for the par-tay. 🙂