Adrian Kavanagh, 27th April 2016 (This post will be (hopefully) updated, as and when counts proceed over the rest of the day.)
Counting for the 2016 Seanad elections commenced on 25th April 2016 with the counting of votes for the 5-seat Cultural and Educational Panel. The second of the panels to be counted were be the 11-seat Agricultural and Labour Panels. Counting for these panels commenced on 26th April, with counting for the Labour panel continuing into the following morning. The next panel to be counted will be the 9-seat Industrial and Commercial Panel.
Industrial and Commercial Panel (9 seats – at least 3 “Inside”/at least 3 “Outside”)
The First Count for this panel is expected to take place around midday on 27th April 2016 and details for this and subsequent counts may be viewed here.
In the 2011 election, Fine Gael won 4 seats on this panel, while Fianna Fail won three seats and Sinn Fein and Labour both won one each.
37 candidates (!!!) are contesting this panel (see here for more details on these candidates) – including 28 on the “Outside” panel and 9 on the “Inside”. As a slightly smaller panel in terms of seat numbers than the Agricultural and Labour panels, the quota for this panel will be larger than for those panels – the quota is likely to be around 112.40 votes (or 10.0% of the first preference votes). Based on the earlier analysis of the number of Dail, Council and (outgoing) Senator votes controlled by the different parties and groupings, both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael will expect to win 2 seats here, although good vote management could help Fianna Fail to win 3 seats. Sinn Fein will expect to win 1 seat here, but could have been in contention to win a second but for the fact that Padraig Mac Lochlainn is the only Sinn Fein candidate contesting this panel. Sinn Fein are however also supporting the candidacy of independent candidate, Ciaran Staunton. Based on the stronger than normal support levels for independent candidates in a Seanad contest evident in the first three panels, there would be expectations that one or two Independents could win seats on this panel, especially given the fact that Staunton is likely to be winning a number of Sinn Fein votes here. Indeed, with the Sinn Fein votes factored in, the Independents grouping could be contending for 3 seats here if this voting bloc proved to be especially coherent in terms of vote and vote transfer patterns, though this may be too big of an ask on this panel. Given the larger size of the quota for this panel relative to the Agricultural and Labour panels, this will prove to be a tougher contest for the Labour candidate, Aodhain O Riordain – especially given that the number of Council, Dail and (outgoing) Seanad votes controlled by Labour amounts to just 0.6 quotas on this panel. He will need to at least match the ability of Ged Nash (as evidenced in the Labour Panel contest) to win vote transfers from other parties and groupings in order to win a seat here.
The Count: Padraig MacLochlainn topped the poll, but only narrowly so – winning just enough votes to ensure that he was elected (114.000) on this count. A significant number of Sinn Fein obviously were supporting other candidates instead, such as Ciaran Staunton, who won 48.000 votes on this count. The next strongest candidate was Labour’s Aodhan O’Riordain (and his vote was notably stronger than the Labour votes in the Labour and Agricultural panels), followed by independent candidate, Frances Black. With these candidates being followed by fifteen candidates, who were clustered between the high 20s and low 50s in terms in terms of first preference vote levels, a long series of counts awaited in which the pattern of vote transfers would be crucial.
On the First Count, Fianna Fail candidates won 351 votes (31.2%, or 3.1 quotas), Fine Gael candidates won 336 votes (29.9%, or 3.0 quotas), the Sinn Fein candidate (MacLochlainn) won 114 votes (10.1%, or 1.0 quotas), while the Independent candidates won 235 votes (20.9%, or 2.1 quotas) and the Labour candidate (O’Riordain) won 88 votes (7.8%, or 0.8 quotas).
Most of the (admittedly quite small) Mac Lochlainn surplus (1.599 votes) went to Frances Black on Count 2 (1.498 votes), with Staunton getting the next largest vote transfer (0.056 votes). Mary Hughes was eliminated at the end of Count 4 (but there was no counting on Counts 3 and 4 as the two eliminated candidates had no votes to distributed!) and her three votes went to Catherine Ardagh (2.000 transfer votes) and Arthur Griffin (1.000 transfer votes) on Count 5. Mailo Power was eliminated at the end of that count and her eight votes were shared between James Bannon (2.000), Cait Keane (1.000) and Sean McKiernan (1.000) of Fine Gael, as well as Tom McEllistrim (1.000), Arthur Griffin (1.000) and Danny Owens (1.000) of Fianna Fail and Labour’s Aodhan O’Riordain (1.000). Eoin Neylon (then standing on 12.000 votes) would be eliminated at the end of this count.
The Neylon transfers on Count 7 were very good for Catherine Ardagh, who took half (6.000 votes) of these, as well as Gerry Horkan (3.000). Only one vote went outside of Fianna Fail in this transfer. Peter Casey was the next to be eliminated (standing on 13.000 votes at end of Count 7). The transfer of the Casey votes on Count 8 favoured independent candidates, such as Nigel Dineen (3.000 votes), Frances Black (2.000) and Ciaran Staunton (1.000), but a number of the party candidates – most notably Paul Coghlan (2.000) – also picked up transfer votes. Cait Keane, then standing on 16.000 votes, was eliminated at the end of this count. A quarter (4.000 votes) of the Keane transfers on Count 9 went to candidates from other parties/groupings – Frances Black picking up two votes, for instance – but a number of Fine Gael candidates also did well, including Catherine Noone (3.000), Barry Ward (2.000) and Ray Butler (2.000). Although William Lavelle did pick up one transfer vote to push him up to 17.000 votes, he would be eliminated at the end of this count. The Lavelle transfers on Count 10 mainly went to the remaining Fine Gael candidates (16.000 out of 17.000 transfer votes), with Dineen being the only candidate outside of Fine Gael to pick up a transfer vote here. Catherine Noone, again, proved to be very transfer-friendly – gaining another 4.000 votes – while two transfer votes were gained by Barry Ward, Imelda Henry, Colm Burke and Sean McKiernan. Tom McEllistrim (then on 17.000 votes) was eliminated at the end of this count.
At this point in the count, the Fianna Fail candidates between them had gained an extra 9.014 votes and the Fine Gael had gained an extra 4.000 votes arising from the vote transfer patterns, but the Independents grouping had lost 12,432 votes. The candidates who had proven to be the most transfer-friendly at this stage were Catherine Ardagh (8.000 votes gained in transfers between Counts 1 and 10), Catherine Noone (7.000), Frances Black (5.498), Nigel Dineen (5.014) and Barry Ward (5.000).
Catherine Ardagh again proved to be very transfer-friendly on the following count, when she gained an extra four votes from the McEllistrim transfers. Aengus O’Rourke and Niall Kelleher (both gaining 2.000 votes) also fared well on Count 11. But this was not an especially strong vote transfer for Fianna Fail, with just 10.000 of the 17.000 transferable McElistrim votes transferring on to the other (remaining) Fianna Fail candidates. Niall Kelleher (19.000) was eliminated at the end of this count and a good number of his votes transferred on to the other (remaining) Fianna Fail candidates on Count 12, but especially Munster-based candidates such as Bob Ryan (5.000) and Arthur Griffin (3.000).
Linda O’Shea-Farren (19.000) was eliminated at the end of Count 12. On Count 13, her transfers tended to favour the remaining Fine Gael candidate, but Catherine Noone did especially well – in gaining 7.000 extra votes from the O’Shea-Farren transfer. James Bannon and John Crowe both picked up two extra votes in this count also. But 5.000 of her transferable 18.000 went to candidates from other parties. Another Fine Gael candidate, Sean McKiernan, was eliminated at the end of this count – standing at 23.000 votes at that point. Count 14 proved to be a more successful one for Fine Gael in terms of their vote transfer rate. 20.000 of the 23.000 McKiernan transfers were shared out among the other remaining Fine Gael candidates. Catherine Noone (gaining 5.000 votes), Imelda Henry (5.000) and Barry Ward (3.000) fared very well here out of the Fine Gael candidates. At the end of Count 14 Aengus O’Rourke – than standing on 24.000 votes – was eliminated.
The candidates who had proven to be the most transfer-friendly at this stage were Catherine Noone (20.000 votes gained in transfers between Counts 1 and 14), Catherine Ardagh (15.000), Imelda Henry (9.000), Barry Ward (9.000), Nigel Dineen (8.014), Paul Coghlan (8.000), Frances Black (7.498) and James Bannon (7.000).
The transfer of the O’Rourke votes on Count 15 proved a good one for Fianna Fail in terms of the level of party loyalty being evidenced in the transfer patterns. 21.000 of the 24.000 votes being transferred were shared amongst the remaining Fianna Fail candidate. Fellow Westmeath-based Fianna Failer, Aidan Davitt, fared best here, gaining an extra 6.000 votes, but Catherine Ardagh (4.000) again proved to be transfer-friendly. Another Fianna Fail candidate, Tom MacSharry (on 25.000 votes), was eliminated at the end of this count. Fianna Fail party loyalty in terms of vote transfers was not as strong with the MacSharry transfer, with 7.000 of his 25.000 transferable votes going outside of the party – including a (no doubt Sligo-influenced) two vote transfer to Imelda Henry. Catherine Ardagh (5.000), along with Gerry Horkan (5.000), again proved to be one of the more successful candidates in terms of winning transfers on this count. At the end of this count, another Fianna Fail candidate, Danny Owens (27.000), was eliminated. 92.6% of the Owens transfers stayed with Fianna Fail on the following count (25.000 out of 27.000 votes), with Frances Black being the only non-Fianna Fail candidate to gain transfers on this count. The two leading Fianna Fail candidates in the race, at this stage, Aidan Davitt (7.000) and Catherine Ardagh (7.000) both took a large number of transfer votes on this count (Count 17), with Niall Blaney (4.000) and Gerry Horkan (3.000) also faring well. Independent candidate, Joe Kelly (28.000), was eliminated at the end of this count.
The transfer of the Kelly votes tended to especially favour other (remaining) independent candidates, although four of the Kelly votes were non-transferable. There was a very big transfer of 14.000 votes to Frances Black (pushing her ahead of all the other remaining candidates), with 4.000 votes to Dineen and 1.000 vote to Staunton. The strongest party candidate on this count was Labour’s Aodhan O’Riordain, as he picked up three extra transfer votes. John Hanafin (29.014) was eliminated at the end of this count. On Count 19 his transfers generally tended to go to other Fianna Fail candidates, but this time it was Gerry Horkan (10.000), Arthur Griffin (7.000) and Bob Ryan (4.000) who fared the best out of the remaining Fianna Fail candidates. Deirdre O’Donovan (30.000) was eliminated at the end of this count. On Count 20, there was a large 16.000 vote transfer to fellow independent, Nigel Dineen, significantly improving his prospects in this contest. Aodhan O’Riordain and Frances Black both picked up three transfer votes, keeping these two candidates ahead of the remaining candidates in this panel, while Ciaran Staunton gained two votes. At the end of this count, Ray Butler (31.000) was eliminated. The transfer of his votes on Count 21 was good one for Fine Gael, with 28.000 of the 31.000 vote transfers remaining with the other Fine Gael candidates. The most successful candidates in this regard were Catherine Noone (8.000), James Bannon (7.000) and Colm Burke (5.000). At the end of this count, Arthur Griffin (38.000) was eliminated.
A significant number of the Griffin transfers on Count 22 went to the other (remaining) Fianna Fail candidates, most notable Catherine Ardagh (11.000), as well as Gerry Horkan (8.000), Aidan Davitt (8.000) and Bob Ryan (5.000). Barry Ward (38.000) was eliminated at the end of this count. His transfers on Count 23 tended to favour the remaining Fine Gael candidates – in particular, Paul Coghlan (10.000) and Catherine Noone (9.000), as well as Colm Burke (5.000) and John Crowe (4.000). James Bannon, who picked up one transfer vote on this count, was eliminated at the end of this count, standing on 40.000 votes at this point.The transfer of his votes on Count 24 again ensured that the remaining Fine Gael candidates made notable vote gains, with 10.000 transfer votes going to Colm Burke, 8.000 transfer votes going to Catherine Noone and 7.000 transfer votes going to Imelda Henry and John Crowe. Fianna Fail’s Bob Ryan was the lowest placed candidate, with 48.000 votes, at the end of this count and he was eliminated. The Bob Ryan transfers on Count 25 would, in turn, see gains for the (remaining) Fianna Fail candidates, with a very large 17.000 vote transfer to Catherine Ardagh and large 12.000 vote transfer to Gerry Horkan. Standing on 54.000 votes, Imelda Henry was eliminated at the end of this count.
The remaining candidates who had proven to be the most transfer-friendly at this stage were Catherine Ardagh (62.000 votes gained in transfers between Counts 1 and 25), Gerry Horkan (51.000), Catherine Noone (45.000), Frances Black (34.498), Nigel Dineen (33.014), Aidan Davitt (33.000), Colm Burke (31.000) and Paul Coghlan (31.000).
The next count (Count 26) would see the election of Catherine Noone, who became the second candidate to be elected on this panel, twenty five counts after Padraig Mac Lochlainn had been deemed elected on Count 1. Catherine Noone gained 16.000 transfer votes on this count to exceed the quota. In addition to this transfer ensuring that a Fine Gael candidate was elected, this was also a good transfer for that party as 49.000 of the 53.000 transferable Henry votes were shared out among the remaining Fine Gael candidates. 16.000 transfer votes were gained by Colm Burke, while 12.000 were claimed by Paul Coghlan. The 1.599 Noone surplus votes were divided evenly between John Crowe and Paul Coghlan on the following count. At the end of this count, while standing on 55.00 votes, Niall Blaney was eliminated.
The remaining candidates who had proven to be the most transfer-friendly at this stage were Catherine Ardagh (62.000 votes gained in transfers between Counts 1 and 26), Catherine Noone (61.000), Gerry Horkan (51.000), Colm Burke (47.000), Paul Coghlan (43.000), Frances Black (35.498), Nigel Dineen (34.014) and Aidan Davitt (33.000).
The transfer of the Blaney vote on Count 28 resulted in the election of two more candidates, Catherine Ardagh and Frances Black. 42.000 of the 51.000 Blaney transfer went to the remaining Fianna Fail candidates, pushing Ardagh (12.000 transfer votes) over the quota, but also greatly helping the prospects of Horkan (16.000) and Davitt (14.000). (4.180 of the 4.559 Ardagh surplus was subsequently shared out between the two remaining Fianna Fail candidates.) Frances Black gained just two transfer votes on this count, but these were enough to see her exceed the quota at the end of this count.
After the transfer of the Ardagh and Black surpluses, Ciaran Staunton (58,474) was the next to be eliminated. The only remaining independent in the field, Nigel Dineen, required a big number of transfers here to ensure he won a seat in this contest, but – with a very large 32.042 votes proving to be non-transferable – he took just 7.014 of these transfer votes – only a slightly larger number than those won by Gerry Horkan (7.000), with Dineen’s main rival for the last seat, Paul Coghlan, taking 5.000 transfer votes.
John Crowe, then standing on 60.799 votes, was eliminated at the end of Count 31. The previous set of transfers had edged the balance in this contest towards Fine Gael and away from the independent candidate, Dineen. This transfer effectively copperfastened the third Fine Gael seat in this panel and more or less determined who would fill the remaining seats on this panel. 45.799 of the transferable Crowe votes were shared between the remaining Fine Gael candidates,Coghlan (28.799) and Burke (17.000) – helping Burke to exceed the quota at the end of that count, as well as Aodhan O’Riordain. This count and the subsequent transfer of Burke’s surplus pushed Coghlan 24.169 votes ahead of Dineen, meaning that Dineen could not possibly catch Coghlan, given the remaining votes left to be transferred, or indeed catch the two Fianna Fail candidates, Horkan and Davitt.
At the end of the count, the candidates who were elected on this panel included:
- Padraig MacLochlainn Sinn Fein
- Catherine Noone Fine Gael
- Catherine Ardagh Fianna Fail
- Frances Black Independent
- Colm Burke Fine Gael
- Aodhan O’Riordain Labour Party
- Paul Coghlan Fine Gael
- Aidan Davitt Fianna Fail
- Gerry Horkan Fianna Fail