FIANNA Fail outgoing TD Willie O’Dea looks set to top the poll in Limerick City as first round tallies from half of the total ballot boxes indicate that the Limerick deputy has harvested 28 per cent of the first preference votes cast on Friday.
Just after 12 noon this Saturday a figure of 11,660 first preference votes were attributed to the Fianna Fail candidate
And in a twist to the election count at such an early stage, Fine Gael’s Michael Noonan and Minister for Finance looks like he will be in a fight to retain his seat with just over 12 per cent of the first preference votes thus far leaving him marginally ahead of his party colleague Kieran O’Donnell, a AAA candidate and Labour’s Jan O’Sullivan.
Limerick city is now quite likely to have a new TD to represent the constituency as Sinn Fein’s Maurice Quinlivan already has 16 per cent of the first preference votes which leaves him just short of a quota with half of the ballot boxes still to open and be tallied.
AAA candidate Cian Prendiville, who is coming off the back of an anti water charges campaign, is doing well at this stage with just over 11.4 per cent of the vote leaving him marginally ahead of Fine Gael’s Kieran O’Donnell on 11 per cent and Labour TD and Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan.
Despite Minister O’Sullivan bucking the national 7 per cent trend for Labour with her 10.45 per cent of first preference votes thus far, the outgoing Limerick TD will be in a fight for that coveted fourth seat with possibly one of the Fine Gael TDs and Cian Prendiville.
In the county however, all of the ballot boxes are open and some 90 per cent of them have been tallied and again the Fianna Fail candidate is likely to top the poll based on early indications.
Deputy Niall Collins has some 28 per cent of the vote and although Fine Gael have 36 per cent of the vote, it is spread evenly amongst its two candidates.
The second seat is now likely to be a battle between the party stablemates in outgoing TD Patrick O’Donnovan and local councillor Tom Neville who is the son of the now retired TD Dan Neville.
Polling quite strongly is the Independent candidate Emmett O’Brien who has harvested some 13 per cent of the vote leaving him ahead of Social Democrat Senator James Heffernan.
Pre election suggestions that transfer votes to Emmett O’Brien will be key, now looks even more likely as the Independent looks to become a second new representative for Limerick in its two constituencies.
Again it looks like three candidates will be in a close fight for the third and final seat in what is expected to be a long night at the count centre in the University of Limerick.