Fianna Fáil’s significant increase in popularity and likely return to power is just one of the many talking points of this year’s General Election.
The 7 per cent increase in the party’s vote and the 10.5 per cent loss of support for Fine Gael represents a symbolic shift in voter’s political values.
Looking back to 2011, the opposite story applied. After Fianna Fáil’s dealings with the economic recession, voters lost confidence in their government, resulting in a huge loss of 51 seats.
Meanwhile, Fine Gael’s support increased by 36 per cent. Just three government TDs were re-elected on the first count this time around; Enda Kenny, Frances Fitzgerald and Heather Humphreys.
Labour have only won 6 seats overall. An Taoiseach and the Dail’s longest serving TD Enda Kenny won 13,318 of his constituency’s first preference vote compared to 17,472 in 2011.
Both female TDs first preference votes have increased since the last election, with Fitzgerald and Humphreys being elected on just the 8th and 9th counts respectively five years ago.
With six seats still to fill, Fine Gael have secured 49 seats while Fianna Fáil currently hold 43, over double the amount they won in 2011.
19 of the newly elected Fianna Fáil TDs were first time candidates and many of these have said they are open to supporting a minority Fine Gael government to avoid another election.
On the other hand, they are completely against a Fine Gael-Fianna Fáil ‘grand coalition’.
Looking to transferred votes, Fine Gael have been the most successful at gaining transfers, receiving a total of 24% transfer. Fianna Fáil secured 14% of transferred votes.
When Fianna Fáil candidates were eliminated, 18% of votes transferred were received by a Fine Gael candidate. Likewise when Fine Gael candidates were eliminated, 16% of the votes transferred were received by a Fianna Fáil candidate.
Interestingly, more transferred Fine Gael votes went to Fianna Fáil than Labour.
A new poll has found that more people prefer to see Fianna Fáil’s Micheal Martin become Taoiseach rather than Kenny.
37% of respondents to the poll carried out for last night’s Claire Byrne Live programme on RTE supported Mr Martin becoming the next Taoiseach, compared to 23% for Mr Kenny. A total of 40% said they would rather see neither of the two leaders take the job.
“We’ll be putting myself forward as nominee for election of Taoiseach with support from the other deputies based on the principles we have, our policy priorities which is a fairer Ireland and a decent society. That’s what people want” Martin said at his constituency count on Saturday.
“People want a change of government. I think people voted for a new direction to take Ireland in.
Towards fairness, towards decency, looking after and investing in public services with reform but also giving families a decent break. And that’s where people are at.”
The Fianna Fáil parliamentary party is due to meet on Thursday to discuss the formation of the next government while party leader Martin has been in touch with TDs following their election.
The cabinet is due to meet later today.
By Emma Duffy