Election Blog 6

Tuesday 4th February

We knew the dynamic would change during the election campaign and it has. It was clear from day one that Fine Gael were going to lose some seats and that Fianna Fail were going to gain some. It was also clear that the Greens were going to win a number of seats given the climate change emergency that we are experiencing.

But what was unexpected is the huge surge in support for Sinn Fein. In fact the way the polls are going the party may not have enough candidates running in this election such is the support they are gaining with every passing day.

Mary Lou McDonald’s party are now the most popular party among young people who want to see change. The legacy issues that many people of an older generation would have with Sinn Fein are not an issue with the younger set. Remember that the Good Friday Agreement is over 20 years old and there are a lot of young people for whom the troubles were not a factor as they were growing up. They see Sinn Fein as an alternative to Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. The Greens are set to make gains too so the two big parties are set for a shock with Sinn Fein now a real threat.

The situation in Tipperary is very interesting. The people there will not be voting for a few weeks after everyone else and while that means that there cannot be any Government formed until every seat has been filled, it leaves the electorate in Tipperary in a very interesting position.

They will go to the polls knowing the result of the election for the most part, and that is sure to affect the way they cast their votes. It will certainly mean a different result there than would have been the case if they had voted along with everyone else. But the law is the law and that’s the way it has to be. But it’s another variable that adds to the intrigue.

With four days to go and with the latest debate on later tonight it’s shaping up to be a very interesting election indeed.

More tomorrow night after the debate.