First counts in the Limerick constituencies are done
IN a reversal of fortunes for Fianna Fail in the 2011 general election, the party has rebounded to top the poll in both Limerick constituencies.
The first count in Limerick City is now over, with Willie O'Dea topping the poll with 12,999 first preference votes.
He comfortably surpassed the quota, which was announced by returning officer for Limerick City Gerry McCague to be 9,353.
Now, the former Defence Minister's huge surplus of 3,646 will be distributed, with an earlier prediction from Cllr Maria Byrne suggesting his transfers "are going everywhere".
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Michael Noonan's first preference vote stands at 7,294, followed by his running mate Kieran O'Donnell, who secured 6,047 first preferences.
He is followed by Sinn Fein councillor Maurice Quinlivan, who has 5,894 votes, and Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan, with 5,227.
Cllr Cian Prendiville, AAA, polled 4,584 first preference votes.
Social Democrat candidate Sarah-Jane Hennelly won 2,747 first preference votes, and she is followed by Green Party James Gaffney after the first count, with 964 votes.
Christian Democrat Nora Bennis got 673 votes, and Desmond Hayes, Independent, won 254. In eleventh place is Denis Riordan, with 78 votes.
Mr O'Dea's surplus is now being distributed, and the second count is expected within one hour.
There have been widespread predictions from politicians through the day of a "dogfight" for the final seat between Mr O'Donnell and Ms O'Sullivan.
Cllr Byrne believes the race for the final seat will go to the "eighth or ninth count".
"It is going to be a very long night here. The preferences are going everywhere. Cian Prendiville is sitting on 4,500 votes, so it will be interesting to see where his preferences are going. I think some of them will go to Cllr Maurice Quinlivan, but a lot of them are sitting on a similar type of vote, it's very close," she said.
Meanwhile, Niall Collins has topped the poll in the Limerick constituency with 12,276 first preference votes.
He was followed by Fine Gael’s Patrick O’Donovan with 8,479 votes and Tom Neville, who polled 8,013.
Independent councillor Emmett O’Brien took 5,432 votes and, despite being a strong favourite in the run-up to the election, now appears unlikely to get enough in the transfers to stop Fine Gael getting the remaining two seats in the constituency.
Social Democrat James Heffernan took 3,270 first preferences, with Seamus Browne, Sinn Fein, taking 3,347 and Independent Richard O’Donoghue taking 2,855.
Green party candidate Alexander Storey Cosgrave received 311, Independent James O’Gorman took 207 and Direct Democracy Ireland candidate Mark Keogh took 222.
Turnout is estimated to have been in the city 62.4% and 66.2% in the county.