What we know so far about General Election 2016

The ballot boxes are still revealing their secrets
The ballot boxes are still revealing their secrets

There is still a long way to go but here is what we know so far about how the country voted in General Election 2016.

Fianna Fail are back

After being toxic in 2011, Fianna Fail are back in the good books with a lot more voters.

Though the party's first preference vote was only up an estimated five per cent on 2011, it looks like it will translate into a LOT more seats.

Fianna Fail left the last Dail with 20 seats.

They look to be on target to double that figure, and they may even better that.

Labour and Fine Gael took a hammering

The coalition parties garnered 55 per cent of the vote in 2011. The exit polls and tallies now point to a figure of between 30 and 35 per cent combined, a huge drop.

Big names like James Reilly, Joe Costello, Alan Shatter and Alex White are in serious trouble while there are even concerns over the prospects for Labour leader Joan Burton.

Enda Kenny will sail back to Dail but his personal vote will be well down.

Questions over the election campaign strategy of both parties are already being posed and if the results are as bad as expected, expect the post mortem to be brutal.


Sinn Fein could be on track to double their seats

Gerry Adams is in line to turn the 14 seats the party had in 2011 into anything up to 30 seats when it is all said and done. 

Sinn Fein look set for two seats in Adams' Louth constituency and they are in the hunt for seats all over the country.

The only question that remains is will they be able to find a way to turn their bumper new crop of TDs into a coalition government.

A great day for Independents

Dublin is estimated to have given Independents a monster first preference vote (34.9 per cent according to the Irish Times exit poll)  and the rest of the country isn't too far behind.

The sheer number of candidates and the complexity of their transfers means working out how this will translate into seats is far from clear but it is almost certain that the 32nd Dail will be the most diverse we have ever seen.

That may make it the most representative ever, but it will also make forming a coalition government trickier than ever.

It is going to be a long night (and a long few days)

With the vote already being called 'fractured' and with a record number of candidates (over 550) this count has the potential to be the longest we've ever endured.

With every seat vital to deciding just who could even begin to think of making up a workable government, it will be many, many days before we will know exactly what the Irish people have voted for.

And, with the odds on another General Election in 2016 now down to Evens, we may have to do it all again sooner rather than later.