Voters in the Inishowen peninsula have strongly backed Fianna Fail’s Charlie McConalogue for a return to Dail Eireann, tally figures are suggesting.
Voters took to the polls on Friday across the country and votes are being tallied in the Donegal constituency count centre in Letterkenny on Saturday.
The first official count is expected sometime on Saturday afternoon.
The first boxes opened were the 60 from the Inishowen peninsula and Fianna Fail’s Charlie McConalogue polled extremely strongly according to the tallies, with almost 8,000 first preference votes.
Sinn Fein’s Padraig MacLochlainn is second, with over 3,600 votes in the peninsula’s tallies with his party colleague Pearse Doherty coming in third.
The tallies are estimating the total turnout in Inishowen was just under 60%. Charlie McConalogue and Padraig MacLochlainn are both outgoing TDs, having been elected to Dail Eireann in 2011. Both of them also hail from Inishowen and were expected to do well in the peninsula.
In the tallies for Letterkenny/Milford, with the majority of boxes opened, Charlie McConalogue is also the strongest, with Fine Gael’s Joe McHugh coming in second there.Independent candidate Dessie Shiels isn’t too far behind.
With 187 boxes opened, all in Inishowen and some in Letterkenny, Donegal, Glenties and Stranorlar, Charlie McConalogue was on 23% of the vote, Joe McHugh on 13% and Pearse Doherty on 12%, Padraig MacLochlainn on 11% and Fianna Fail’s Pat the Cope Gallagher is on 9%.Independent Thomas Pringle is on 8%. There are five seats in the Donegal constituency.
Fianna Fail in Inishowen say they are “delighted” with the support for outgoing TD Charlie McConalogue in the peninsula, stating is it demonstrative of the hard work he has put in over the past five years.
Fianna Fail Donegal County Councillor Martin McDermott said the party knew that a strong vote in Inishowen was “going to play the biggest part” in the election of Charlie McConalogue.
He added the party was “by far the best” organisation in relation to canvassing for votes across the peninsula in recent weeks.
“We knocked on every door,” he said.
Councillor McDermott said that part of the outgoing deputy’s appeal to voters in Inishowen was that he “didn’t just spend his time in Dublin” but had been a strong presence ‘on the ground’ across the peninsula and was “only ever a phonecall away.”
You can follow the latest on the Donegal election count on the Derry Journal’s twitter account @derryjournal