Voters in Ireland to head to polls on Saturday

The political landscape of the south could look very different after this weekend as voters go to the polls in the General Election tomorrow.

Friday, 7th February 2020, 2:49 pm
Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar, Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald and Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin.
Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar, Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald and Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin.

The most recent opinion polls are placing Sinn Féin ahead of other parties nationally before the vote this Saturday, followed by Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Green Party.

The surge in support for Sinn Féin led to RTE inviting party leader Mary Lou McDonald to participate in Tuesday night’s Leader’s Debate, which was previously only scheduled to be a head-to-head between Fianna Fail’s Micheal Martin and Fine Gael’s Leo Varadkar. Both parties have said they would not go into a coalition with Sinn Féin following the election.

In Donegal, Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty looks set to receive the highest number of votes, according to opinion polls. A poll by newspaper the Tirconaill Tribune, published yesterday, has him at 32.8% of the vote, ahead of Fine Gael’s Joe McHugh at 11.1% and FF’s Charlie McConalogue at 10.8%. Sinn Féin’s Padraig MacLochlainn has 10%, as has Fianna Fail’s Pat The Cope Gallagher.

Independent candidate John O’Donnell is on 6.8% in the poll, followed by fellow Independent Thomas Pringle at 5.2%, Fine Gael’s Martin Harley at 4.4%, Aontu’s Mary T Sweeney at 3.9%, Independent Peter Casey on 2.1% and Green’s Michael White on 1.8%, Ind Niall McConnell on 0.9% and Ind Arthur McGuinness on 0.2%.

A TG4/IPSOS MRBI poll last month also had Pearse Doherty in pole position. There are five seats in Donegal, with Fianna Fail’s Charlie McConalogue topping the poll in the 2016 election. He will be hoping to retain his seat, along with Fine Gael’s Joe McHugh - the Minister for Education - FF’s Pat The Cope Gallagher, SF’s Pearse Doherty, and Ind. Thomas Pringle. Padraig MacLochlainn lost his seat to Pringle in 2016. Voting begins at 7am on Saturday and counting begins early on Sunday.