Election Blog 9 – Sunday 9th February (9am)
As storm Ciara rages outside there is a storm blowing through the corridors of Irish politics as the Sinn Fein surge has become a reality. From the exit poll results we have a situation where FF FG and Sinn Fein are now neck and neck on 22%.
Of course it’s early days yet and the final seats in many constituencies will be on a knife-edge. But there are a few things that are very clear. Sinn Fein will be difficult to keep out of Government whether it be after this election or the next one. It is also obvious that young people have voted for Mary Lou McDonald’s party in droves. They have really arrived in this election and are there to stay. The ‘big two’ cannot ignore and dismiss them any longer.
If the exit poll figures stand up it’s not a bad election at all for Fine Gael who were facing a possible melt-down. It would appear that they clawed their way back into contention over the last week of the campaign.
As for Fianna Fail the only consolation for them is that they will probably end up as the biggest party however that will bring huge pressure to bear on Micheal Martin with regard to Government formation. Can he go back on his word and talk to Mary Lou? If not, Government formation will be nigh on impossible and we will be back for another election in six months time.
But the story of this election are Sinn Fein who have captured the younger vote but they have been seen as the opposition to the Government, and it may well be a very different situation if they actually have to go into Government and make tough decisions.
It’s going to be a long day today but Ireland is changing and Sinn Fein are leading that change.