Belfast Telegraph

Striking patterns in choices of Republic's voters

By Adrian Kavanagh

With counts from the Republic's 136 different constituencies and with roughly 2,040 candidates, some interesting patterns have emerged.

Voter Turnout: With some counts still to come in, the turnout for the local elections stood at 51.6%, marking a significant drop on 2004 and 2009, and representing the second lowest turnout for a local election contest since the foundation of the Irish state – being overshadowed only by the abysmal turnout level at the 1999 contests.

Female Candidates: These elections did mark a significant improvement in female candidate numbers and vote levels. Female candidates increased from 314 to 441 between 2009 and 2014, while the share of the vote won by females nationally increased by roughly 5%.

Female candidates did especially well in Dublin, where they nearly accounted for one-third (32.1%) of all votes. However, given the introduction of gender quotas at the next general election, there is still a lot of work to be done to improve female electoral participation levels.

The party's (not necessarily) over: In the wake of Friday's vote and a number of recent opinion polls, many commentators are predicting the electoral demise of the Labour Party, but it is worth remembering that the party has emerged from the ashes of electoral disaster on a number of occasions in the past.

It is also worth remembering that the same words were being used about Fianna Fail and the Green Party in the wake of the 2009 and 2011 electoral contests. As noted elsewhere, Fianna Fail has bounced back from these to make a number of gains at these elections and looks likely to be the largest party at a local authority level.

But the recovery of the Greens – a party largely forgotten about in the wake of 2011 – has been equally notable, with it making a number of gains at these elections, including in the Castleknock area, where Roderic O'Gorman, also its Dublin West by-election candidate, made a notable breakthrough.

Adrian Kavanagh is lecturer in the Department of Geography, NUI Maynooth
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