Adrian Kavanagh, 3rd March 2016
With the Longford-Westmeath “long count” about to conclude this morning with the election of Fine Gael’s Peter Burke and Labour’s Willie Penrose, the final overall seat tallies can be confirmed as follows:
- Fine Gael 50
- Fianna Fail 44
- Sinn Fein 23
- Independents 23 (including Independent Alliance 6 and Independents4Change 4)
- Labour Party 7
- Anti Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit 6
- Social Democrats 3
- Green Party 2
Underneath these figures lie some interesting regional/geographical variations in terms of where parties/groups won seats and where they made gains/losses relative to 2011.
Fine Gael: Fine Gael have lost 26 seats relative to its 2011 level (76). Their level of losses tended to be most marked in the West and in the South, with the level of losses not being as evident in Dublin and the East – suggesting that the main threat to Fine Gael seats was the improved fortunes of Fianna Fail. The party did make gains in Dun Laoghaire and Dublin North-West. Fine Gael lost 3 seats in Dublin and 5 seats in Leinster, but lost 9 seats in Munster and 9 seats in Connacht-Ulster. There was a degree of bad fortune for Fine Gael, as party candidates were runners-up in almost half of the 40 Dail constituencies. James Bannon, who effectively lost out on a seat to Willie Penrose in Longford-Westmeath by a six vote margin on the penultimate count, is not even included in that grouping.
Fianna Fail: Fianna Fail have gained 24 seats relative to its 2011 level (20). These gains tended to be relatively dispersed across the different regions in the state. Fianna Fail gained 5 seats in Dublin (relative to the 2011 election), 7 seats in Leinster, 6 seats in Munster and 6 seats in Connacht-Ulster. Fianna Fail gained two seats in two constituencies – Sligo-Leitrim and Kildare North. Fianna Fail candidates were runners-up in fifteen percent (6) of the 40 Dail constituencies. Catherine Ardagh lost out on the last seat in Dublin South-Central by a 35 vote (0.1%) margin.
Sinn Fein: Sinn Fein have gained 9 seats relative to its 2011 level (14). As with Fianna Fail, these gains tended to be relatively dispersed across the different regions in the state, but with the notable exception of the Connacht-Ulster region. Sinn Fein gained 3 seats in Dublin (relative to the 2011 election), 4 seats in Leinster and 3 seats in Munster, but lost a seat in Connacht-Ulster. Sinn Fein candidates were runners-up in fifteen percent (6) of the 40 Dail constituencies. Johnny Mythen lost out on the last seat in Wexford by a 52 vote (0.1%) margin.
Labour: Labour lost 30 seats relative to its 2011 level (37). More than half of the overall number of Labour seat losses occurred in the Dublin region. Labour lost 16 seats in Dublin (relative to the 2011 election), 6 seats in Leinster, 6 seats in Munster and the 2 seats it had held in Connacht-Ulster after 2011. Labour candidates were runners-up in 5 (12.5%) of the 40 Dail constituencies, with Ged Nash, Kevin Humphries and Aodan O Riordain losing out by especially narrow margins.
Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit: Candidates associated with the Socialist Party and People Before Profit had won 4 seats at the 2011 election, although two of the successful candidates, Clare Daly and Joan Collins, subsequently defected from these parties/alliances. Relative to the 2011 level of seats, this party/alliance effectively won two more seats at the 2016 election, with a seat being won outside of the Dublin region for the first time – Mick Barry in Cork North-Central.