Inishowen will decide today

editorial image

Polling stations opened across the country at 7 o’clock this morning for what has been deemed one of the most hotly contested and interesting General Elections in recent times.

In Inishowen, candidates hoping to be elected in the newly combined Donegal constituency, were knocking on doors across the peninsula and canvassing from Malin Head to Muff and everywhere in between over recent days.

Polling stations in Inishowen, the majority of which are located in local primary schools, will then close tonight at 10.00 pm after what prove a long day.

The election count will then take place in Letterkenny tomorrow (Saturday) and could quite possibly extend into Sunday afternoon.

In this election, the two former constituencies in Donegal - Donegal North East (which included Inishowen) and Donegal South West - have now been merged into one constituency.

There is also one less seat. While the two constituencies previously elected three TDs each, with Charlie McConalogue, Padraig MacLochlainn and Joe McHugh elected in the last General Election in 2011, the electorate will this time choose five TDs to take their places in Dail Eireann.

There are eight independent candidates running in this election in the Donegal constituency, as well as two candidates from Fine Gael, three from Sinn Fein and two from Fianna Fail.

Two of the candidates hail from Inishowen, Charlie McConalogue and Padraig Mac Lochlainn, but many others have strong links to the peninsula and have pledged to work for the good of the entire county.

Some of the main issues which candidates have been greeted with at the doorsteps in this campaign are water charges and property tax, road improvement and the long-running issue of lack of investment in rural broadband.

Voters across Inishowen received their polling cards in recent days.

They are reminded to also bring evidence of identity when they go to vote.

The documents which can be used as proof of identity are listed on the back of the polling card.

Yesterday (Thursday) saw islanders, including those off the Donegal coast, cast their votes.

A total of 16 candidates are standing in the Donegal constituency.

They are: Fine Gae - Joe McHugh, Paddy Harte; Fianna Fail: Charlie McConalogue, Pat the Cope Gallagher; Sinn Fein: Padraig MacLochlainn, Gary Doherty, Pearse Doherty; Green Party: Paula Flanagan; Independent: Tim Jackson, Niamh Kennedy, Frank McBrearty, Ian McGarvey, Michael Mooney, Cordelia NicFhearraigh, Thomas Pringle and Dessie Shiels.