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An Election to remember

Irish General Election 2020 brings historic results to the Emerald Island.

Count Centre CityWest
Photo by Betia Rodrigues

On the 8th of January 2020 Ireland experienced a remarkable day in the history of the country. Irish citizens had the opportunity to continue having their voices heard by choosing TDs to represent them in the Irish Government. Ireland’s general election for the 33rd Dáil is considered historic for two main reasons.

First, it was the first time in history that voters left their houses on a Saturday to cast their votes. In previous years the polling day took place on a Thursday or Friday. Besides that, surprises came up. Parties that did not have many representatives in the Dail ended up holding a considerable number of seats. Here are the final results:

  • Sinn Féin is holding now 37 seats, an upturn of 14 on the 2016 election.
  • Fianna Fáil became the largest party by one seat despite losing six seats since 2016.
  • Fine Gael lost 15 seats from 2016.
  • The Green Party had their most outstanding election result, winning 12 seats – an increase of 10 from 2016.

Sinn Féin TD Mary Lou McDonald described the General Election as “something of a revolution in the ballot box”. Counting of the votes took two days to be finalised in every count centre in the country. The candidates had to go through what seemed to be an eternal longing to know whether all the efforts put into their campaigns would give them the long-awaited victory.

“What do you want? What type of society do you want? Do you want more of the same?”

In the count center Citywest, where counting of votes ballot papers from four constituencies (Dublin mid-west, Dublin South-West, Rathdown and Dún Laoghaire) was being held, the presence of candidates for the Dáil was being watched by curious eyes. Not even Storm Ciara was strong enough to prevent the media from covering the General Election results and the (non)future TDs’ reactions when hearing they achieved the quota to be a part of The Oireachtas (the legislature of Ireland).

Early in the morning on the first count day, Sinn Féin Eoin Ó Broin TD was helping the tallymen with their avid vision and extreme focus to observe every second of the ballot boxes as they were organized by the official counters. Ó Broin was elected in the General Election in 2016 and was running for TD again. He was elected in the first count of the votes and became the first TD to hold a seat in the Dublin Mid-West constituency in the General Election 2020. Here’s his big moment:

Video by Betia Rodrigues

Green party deputy Catherine Martin was with her expectations high to hold a Rathdown seat. The candidate had to wait until the fifth count to confirm what the morning tallies had announced: Deputy Martin won a seat in the Rathdown constituency. “I remember becoming deputy leader in 2011 when we lost all our seats we are now in a position where we have 49 councillors and could triple or quadruple our TDs in Dail Eireann so for us it’s a good day and we are delighted and we say thank you to the electorate”, said TD Martin.

The ministers Shane Ross  and Katherine Zappone (Independent party) did not receive good news by the end of the final count. They will not return to the 33rd Dáil after losing their seats in their constituencies.

Sinn Féin Séan Crowe filled the first seat for Dublin South-West and gave an emotional speech after the announcement of his achievement. Crowe mentions the wish of some candidates that he knows from all political parties to form a different type of government, a government that delivers for the people of Ireland. Then, he questions the rest of the future TDs: “What do you want? What type of society do you want? Do you want more of the same?”

It is clear that what people want is to live in a better society, where inequality does not exist and the people have good life conditions. May the new TDs help Ireland be a pleasant place to live.

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