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Sinn Féin Struggles Continues.. While Fianna Fáil Gains Strength in Rural Areas

Dublin: As the second day of vote counting concludes, Sinn Féin, the main opposition party, continues to face significant setbacks. Even in party leader Mary Lou McDonald’s stronghold, the party’s candidates have struggled. With results declared for more than 820 seats, Fine Gael leads with 214 seats, followed closely by Fianna Fáil with 204 seats, while Sinn Féin trails with only 91 seats.

Independent and Smaller Parties Gain Ground

The anti-government sentiment has favoured independents and smaller parties, converting public discontent into electoral gains, while Sinn Féin has found itself largely on the sidelines. Nationwide, Sinn Féin’s political presence in local elections appears diminished.

Disappointing Results in Dublin

In Dublin, Sinn Féin’s performance has been notably poor, particularly in Mary Lou McDonald’s home territory. The party secured only two of the seven council seats anticipated in her heartland. The careful strategy of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to avoid splitting votes by fielding fewer candidates contributed significantly to their success, a tactic Sinn Féin failed to adopt.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald attributed the defeat to independents and other parties capturing the anti-government vote. She emphasised that Sinn Féin will “study and listen” before the next election, suggesting a need for introspection and strategy refinement.

National Vote Share

When the first phase of counting concluded, Sinn Féin had received only 12% of first preference votes nationally, trailing 10% behind the government parties Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil. In Dublin Central, incumbent councillor Janice Boylan was the sole candidate to win a ward.

In the Cabra-Glasnevin ward, part of MacDonald’s constituency, incumbent councillor Seamas McGrattan ranked eighth after the 13th round of counting. Sinn Féin’s decision to field multiple candidates in this seven-seat ward likely split the vote, contributing to their poor performance.

Councillor Natalie Treacy, running for Castleknock on Fingal County Council, was quickly eliminated at the start of voting, highlighting further strategic missteps by the party.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil’s Success

Fianna Fáil has demonstrated strength by securing the highest share of first preference votes in Dublin Central Wards. Fine Gael has similarly performed well in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown and other Dublin City Councils, solidifying their governance in the Dublin Region Municipal Councils.

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