Sinn Féin’s Imelda Munster will return to Dáil Éireann after a landslide victory in the Louth constituency. Munster, who was first elected in 2016, obtained an incredible 17,203 first preference votes which saw the Drogheda native re-elected after the first count.
For Munster, her tally is a record breaker.Her first preference tally of 16,538 is an all-time record in the county. Her feat is all the more remarkable considering Munster was only elected in 2016, as the first female TD to represent Louth.
Her fellow Sinn Féin candidate Ruairí Ó Murchú made it a one-two for the party as he was elected at his first time of asking with 12,491 votes – both comfortably surpassing the quota of 11,778.
The announcement was made – finally – at 7pm to rapturous celebrations around the count centre. This result appeared always likely from the outset of the count as early as 9.30am this morning.
Speaking to LouthNow.ie before the official announcement was made, Munster reflected on her success in the polls; “I’m very proud of the endorsement I received today. I didn’t expect it. I thought it would be a battle to get the two seats.”
The duo’s success in the weekend’s election mirrors the emerging story of the 2020 General Election, as Sinn Féin continues to witnesses a huge surge in popularity amongst voters.
“It shows the message that Sinn Féin had resonated with everybody. People are up for change. They’re sick of the two parties in power since the foundation of the State and Sinn Féin are the alternative,” Munster added.
Sinn Féin’s focus will ultimately turn to the tricky task of potentially forming a Government and Munster was quick to declare her thoughts; “Sinn Fein are up for Government and I’d hope that is a left-wing Government. The worst possible option would be Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in government again.”
The rise of Sinn Féin has been strongly felt in Louth where they already held two seats. In 2016, Gerry Adams and Imelda Munster received 19,490 first preference votes between them. Today, Munster and Ó Murchú have garnered a total of 29,694.
The count continues at the Carnbeg Hotel in Dundalk, with a number of candidates closely vying for the remaining three seats. Follow all the action via our #LouthLive blog.
Elsewhere, Fergus O’Dowd received 6,380 first preference votes to sit reasonably comfortably in third. Peter Fitzpatrick broke the 6,000 barrier with 6,075 first preferences while Ged Nash completes the current top five standings. The Labour candidate received 5,824.
His advantage over Declan Breathnach is a slim one. The Fianna Fail TD has 5,781 after the first count. Mark Dearey cannot be discounted.
- Imelda Munster – 17,203
- Ruairi O Murchu – 12,491
- Fergus O’Dowd – 6,380
- Peter Fitzpatrick – 6,085
- Ged Nash – 5,824
- Declan Breathnach – 5,781
- Mark Dearey – 5,418
- John McGahon – 4,442
- James Byrne – 3,911
- Audrey Fergus – 1,120
- Eamon Sweeney – 794
- Cathal O Murchu – 574
- David Bradley – 256
- Topanga Bird – 243
- Albert Byrne – 145