Decision day: Is Micheál Martin about to become Taoiseach? 

Decision day: Is Micheál Martin about to become Taoiseach? 
Niall Carson/PA Wire

Today is decision day on the draft programme for government, as the votes of the membership of the three parties involved — Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, and the Green Party — are counted.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin — set to become Taoiseach if it passes — said that he is “quietly confident” his party will surpass the 50% needed, while Fine Gael are also expected to vote yes.

“Many members when we were talking to them — while it isn’t ideal — understand the need for the country to have a government that can last five years,” he told The Echo. “I think there is a realism there that a government needs to be formed. We’re in an extraordinary crisis as a result of Covid-19, particularly on the economic front and the employment issue.”

However it is still uncertain whether the two-thirds majority needed by the Green Party to pass the deal will be reached. Cork Green Party councillor Dan Boyle said he is hopeful the deal will pass, but said there are no guarantees. 

“There’ll be a substantial majority," he said. "The only question is, will it be a sizeable enough majority? That’s what we’re waiting on.” 

He said that Cork could also have a higher no vote than other areas in the country but said: “I would still be fairly sure there was still a majority vote in Cork.”

The count process: what’s happening today?

Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, and Green party members have returned their ballot papers, which will be counted today.

Fianna Fáil

In the region of 14,500 Fianna Fáil members were eligible to vote. Ballot papers will be counted at a Dublin city centre location.

The sorting of votes will commence at 9am, with counting expected to begin around lunchtime. It is expected it will conclude in the late afternoon.

A live feed from the count centre will be broadcast on Fianna Fáil’s Facebook page.

A total of 50% of votes, plus one, will be needed for the deal to be accepted.

Green Party

The Green Party count will begin this morning at the offices of Mazars in Dublin and will be conducted by Mazars staff.

The count will be live-streamed to a small group of people who have been nominated by members of the parliamentary party to observe the process, both yes- and no-voting members.

It is not expected that there will be a running tally of results, and the counting of votes is not expected to be completed before this evening.

The results will be announced publicly by the party.

The Green Party will require a two-thirds majority from its members.

Fine Gael

Fine Gael will count votes received from its electoral colleges system today.

The parliamentary party accounts for the vast majority of this vote while the national executive, councillors, and party members account for smaller percentages of the vote.

It is expected that the count will begin around lunchtime with a result expected by this afternoon.

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