The first count in the Donegal constituency has yet to be declared.
Counting of the constituency’s votes is currently underway at Aura Leisure Centre in Letterkenny.
The final tallies suggest that Fianna Fail’s Charlie McConalogue will top the poll.
Final tallies for Donegal place McConalogue on 17% of the votes, with 12,422 votes. Sinn Fein’s Pearse Doherty was at 14% on 10,182; Pat the Cope Gallagher (FF) was on 14% with 9890; Fine Gael’s Joe McHugh is at 12% with 8344;Thomas Pringle, (Independent) was on 8% in the tallies with 6,153; Sinn Fein’s Padraig MacLochlainn is at 8% with 5675; Gary Doherty (SF) is on 6% with 4156 of the votes,Tim Jackson (Indep) was on 5% with 3568 of the votes and Paddy Harte (FG) is on 4% with 2803. Independent candidates Frank McBrearty and Niamh Kennedy were on 3% and 2% of the vote with 1856 and 1807 respectively. Ian McGarvey (Independent) had 1% of the vote in the tallies at 996 and Paula Flanagan (Idep) was also on 1% with 405 votes. Independent candidate Michael Mooney was on 1% with 396 and Independent candidate Cordelia NicFhearraigh had 90 votes. This would leave the party percentages at 27.62% for Sinn Fein, 30.80% for Fianna Fail; 15.39% for Fine Gael and 26.19% for the independent candidates. There are five seats on offer. If the tallies are correct, outgoing TD Charlie McConalogue could be elected on the first count.
Fine Gael’s Joe McHugh told the ‘Journal’ his personal target was to achieve over 8,000 votes and he is “happy” that seems to have happened. He added, however that he is “not over the line yet” and transfers will make all the difference.
He said: “My tallies people are saying that we are transfer friendly, but you can’t take that for granted right up to get over the quota. The outgoing Minister said he was happy to have increased his vote in Inishowen by around 300 since the last General Election, adding that people in the peninsula “from day one have been very good to me.”
Deputy McHugh paid tribute to the team “on the ground” for their hard work, adding he thinks this will pay off.
He said: “I got 1,500 Fine Gael votes in Inishowen the last time, and I think I’m up around 2,000 this time, and I think Paddy Harte got around 430, and they’re votes that will hopefully be coming back to me as the day goes on.”
He added: “This time you’re coming out of government, you’re not in opposition, you don’t have all the answers in government but I’m happy that core vote came out to support me this time.”
Independent candidate Tim Jackson said he was “very pleased” with his vote, pointing out how he did not have council seat or high profile in Donegal before this election. He said there was a “platform” to build on in years to come, adding that while his policies were “slightly different” they had “hit a note” with the electorate.
He added he was pleaded with his vote in Inishowen and paid tribute to his campaign team in the peninsula. He said the independent candidates had collectively polled strongly in Donegal, stating he believes “more and more people think the party system is broken.”
When asked what was next for him, Mr Jackson said he will need to assess his options over the next while.
He added that if his profile remains high and the interest in his policies remain, the local elections could be the next step, but no decision on that had yet been made.