Big names in trouble as tallies point to FG/Labour struggles

The count underway in Cork City Hall
The count underway in Cork City Hall

As ballot boxes are opened across the country, it appears that a number of major figures are fighting for their political lives .

The exit polls from the Irish Times and RTE predicted a tough day at the count centres for government parties Fine Gael and Labour and the early tallies from around the country suggest those polls were spot on.

Labour TD Ciaran Lynch (Cork South Central), Labour TD Alex White (Dublin Rathdown), Fine Gael TD James Reilly (Dublin North), Fine Gael TD Paschal Donohoe (Dublin Central), and Independent TD Mick Wallace (Wexford) appear to be suffering in support according to early tallies.

According to RTE's exit poll released this morning, support for Fine Gael is predicted to be at 24.8 per cent; while Fianna Fáil is at 21.1pc, Sinn Féin at 16pc and Labour at 7.1pc.

Indications from the RTE and Irish Times exit polls are that the outgoing Coalition has no chance of being returned - and no other block or group of parties has made a significant breakthrough.

In Cork South Central, Ciaran Lynch is polling at just over 4pc as it is predicted that Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin and Michael McGrath and Fine Gael's Simon Coveney will win the three seats.

Mick Wallace, whose win caused a major surprise in the last election, is coming under increasing pressure after the opening of the Gorey District boxes in Wexford.

The Independent candidate who gave a poll topping performance last time out, having polled 9pc approximately in the Gorey District boxes is now down to just 2pc according to tallies. The early indictors is that Wallace will come under increasing pressure to hold his seat.

In Dublin Rathdown, with half the boxes tallied, it is clear that Communications Minister Alex White stands to lose his seat as part of the Labour collapse nationwide.

He trails in sixth place in the tallies in the three seat constituency.

Former Justice Minister Alan Shatter, who has long polled well in the area which has now had its boundries changed, seems to have lost out to his Fine Gael running mate Josepha Madigan although it is too close to call.

In Dublin Central, Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe's seat is hanging by a thread and is now under threat from the Social Democrats.

With over half of the boxes opened in Dublin Central, Sinn Fein's Mary Lou McDonald is set to top the poll with a surplus. She is on 22.5pc, tallies show.

Independent Councillor Christy Burke is polling strongly on 14.1pc.

After Ms McDonald is elected, Several other candidates are in a dogfight for the remaining seat.

These include Mr Donohoe (12.8pc), Gary Gannon of the Soc Dems (10.6pc), Maureen O'Sullivan (10.3pc) , Joe Costello (9.1pc) and Mary Fitzpatrick (8.6pc).

The danger for Mr Donohoe is that while he will benefit from Mr Costello's transfers, whoever is eliminated between Mr Gannon and Ms O'Sullivan will transfer heavily to each other.

While Sinn Fein's Mary Lou McDonald is set to be comfortably elected on the first count, with independent TD Maureen O'Sullivan and Dublin lord mayor Christy Burke also showing well.

Meanwhile, very early indications this morning are that Clare Daly (Ind), Brendan Ryan (Lab) and Louise O'Reilly (SF) are polling well with Cllr Tony Murphy (IA) doing well, but Minister for Children James Reilly could be doing well.

Over in Mayo, with 10pc of boxes open, the tallies put Enda Kenny at 30pc, FF's Dara Calleary on 18pc and FG's Michelle Mulherin on 15pc.

This first preference indication for the Taoiseach would be considered disappointing by his party, according to analysts.

Labour leader and Tanaiste Joan Burton is also in a fight for her political life in Dublin West with tallies showing she is on 15pc of first preferences with Ruth Coppinger of AAA on 16pc.

They may duke it out for the third seat in Dublin West as Health Minister Leo Varadkar and Fianna Fail's Jack Chambers look to be well placed to nab the first two while a strong showing by Sinn Fein's Paul Donnelly with 14pc on early tallies makes this consituency too close to call.