After 14 rounds of counting, including a recount, Dublin Bay North has entered its third day of contention in the RDS.
Away from Hall 8C in the Simmonscourt complex, the count is now taking place in a smaller space, leaving the candidates and their supporters within close proximity of each other. Little is said between competing candidates, just a slight nod if they walk past.
The five seater, stretching from working class areas such as Darndale and Kilbarrack to the more middle class Howth and Sutton, is still waiting to fill three of its seats.
Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton of Fine Gael took the first seat in the eighth count, with Fianna Fail’s Sean Haughey taking the second last night with thanks to Averil Power’s transfers before the count was adjourned until this morning.
The constituency remains too close to call, even following the elimination of independent candidate Averil Power and People Before Profit’s John Lyons. Currently, four candidates remain in the chase for three seats, with three of them being sitting TDs.
Aodhán Ó Ríordáin of the Labour party, Denise Mitchell of Sinn Fein, Finian McGrath of the Independent Alliance, and independent Tommy Broughan are still chasing the seats, with exactly 900 votes separating the entire group.
Along with PBP’s John Lyons, it’s looking likely that Denise Mitchell and Tommy Broughan will benefit the most and will likely be elected soon after.
The last seat will be between sitting TDs Finian McGrath and Aodhán Ó Ríordáin. McGrath believes that the surplus of Mitchell and Broughan could see him over the line before Ó Ríordáin, saying “I’m hoping for that because I was strongly opposed to the water charges, so I’m hoping to pick up some votes there, but there’s still a big gap for me to catch up on him”.
Should Ó Ríordáin lose his seat, the Labour party will have very little hope of making the seven seats it needs to be granted speaking rights in Dáil Éireann. Their last hope would lie with Willie Penrose getting the last seat in Longford-Westmeath, which, like Dublin Bay North, has seen arduous recounts and checks.
By Kevin Kelly