Cork North Central Live: All to play for when counting resumes 

Cork North Central Live: All to play for when counting resumes 
Thomas Gould is the only candidate elected to Cork North Central so far.Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Elected: Thomas Gould (SF) is the only candidate elected so far.

The counting of votes in Cork North Central is set to resume at 9am Monday, with just one candidate so far elected to the four-seat constituency after the first five counts. 

Sinn Féin's Thomas Gould topped the poll and was elected on the first count. Fianna Fáil's Padraig O'Sullivan looks most likely to follow him over the line and Fine Gael senator Colm Burke is best-placed to take the third seat. 

The fourth and final seat could go to a number of candidates, depending on transfers. The morning count will begin with the redistribution of Ger Keohane's (IND) votes. 

After five counts, the candidates vote tallies are as follows: 

Pádraig O’Sullivan (FF) 8,276 
Colm Burke (FG) 6,748 
Mick Barry (Sol)5,457 
Kenneth O’Flynn (Ind) 4,546
Tony Fitzgerald (FF) 3,576 
Oliver Moran (GP) 3,452 
 John Maher (Lab)  2,939
Finian Toomey (Aontu) 1,540 
Sinéad Halpin (Soc Dems) 1,396 
Sandra Murphy (FF) 1,278 
Lorraine O’Neill (FG)  1,185
Ger Keohane (Ind) 866
* Keohane is excluded and his votes will be redistributed 

Earlier: Sitting TD Mick Barry insists he has a fighting chance of taking the fourth spot in Cork North Central, after picking up the lion's share of the transfers from poll-topper Thomas Gould. 

The Solidarity TD has found himself in a four-way battle for the final seat, with Fianna Fáil's Padraig O'Sullivan and Fine Gael's Colm Burke looking likely to follow Mr Gould over the line. 

But the distribution of votes has strengthened Mr Barry's hand in the contest with Independent Kenneth O’Flynn, Fianna Fáil's Tony Fitzgerald and Oliver Moran of the Green Party.

Mick Barry discusses his chances at the Cork North Central count.

Earlier: “He’s the Taoiseach of the Northside,” exclaimed Tony Gould, Thomas’ father, as his family gathered to celebrate his exceptional performance and election in Cork North Central.

The newly elected Sinn Féin representative has said he is humbled by the vote he received in Cork North Central, as he exceeded the quota on the first count.

He was elected with 13,811 first preference votes, meaning he had 3,455 votes to spare.

“It’s magic, I feel so humbled that 13,800 people voted for me.

“We want to thank everyone who voted and sincerely everyone who voted for us. I’m very humbled today,” he said.

He thanked his wife Michelle, his daughters Aoife and Orlaith, his dad Tony, and all of his family, friends, and party colleagues who canvassed for him, while also remembering his late mother who he said would have been so proud of him.

“I might be the face of Sinn Féin in Cork North Central, but this was a party campaign.

“Jonathan (O’Brien) was the first man out here this morning to support me, and has been on the trail. You had Mick Nugent, director of elections - Mick Nugent won this election. He was out morning, noon and night,” he said.

“It’s not just me and Donnchadh. We have men and women on the ground here who want the change, they want to make a change and they see Sinn Féin as the way to doing that,” Mr Gould added.

He said that despite the party not fielding more candidates, they are happy with how they have performed in Cork. On steps forward for the future, and the forming of a Government he said: “No matter what happens, the big parties know that people have enough and they want change.” 

Fianna Fáil’s Pádraig O’Sullivan is on 8,158, Fine Gael’s Colm Burke is on 6,646, while there is a fight on below that with Kenneth O’Flynn (Ind) on 3,994, Mick Barry (Sol) on 3,703, Tony Fitzgerald (FF) on 3,338, and Oliver Moran (GP) on 3,205.

First preference votes
Thomas Gould (SF) 13,811 
Padraig O'Sullivan (FF) 8,158 
Colm Burke (FG) 6,646 
Ken O'Flynn (Ind) 3,994 
Mick Barry (SP) 3,703 
Tony Fitzgerald (FF) 3,338 
Oliver Moran (GP) 3,205 
John Maher (Lab) 2,561 
Finian Toomey (AON) 1,325 
Sandra Murphy (FF) 1,218 
Lorraine O'Neill (FG) 1,156 
Sinead Halpin (SD) 1,121 
Ger Keohane (Ind) 694 
TJ Hogan (Ind) 257 
Diarmaid Ó Cadhla (Ind) 230 
James Coughlan (WP) 180 
Sean O'Leary (Ind) 137 
Stephen O'Donovan (Ind)44

12.05pm:

Tallies have been completed for the Cork North Central constituency, and it shows Sinn Féin’s Thomas Gould will top the poll with a surplus.

He’s on almost 27% of first preference votes, followed by Fianna Fáil’s Padraig O’Sullivan on 15.9%, and Fine Gael’s Colm Burke on 12.9%.

It’s likely to be a dogfight for the final seat, with four candidates battling it out.

Thomas Gould on the Sinn Féin's success. 

According to the final tally, Solidarity’s Mick Barry, Kenneth O’Flynn (Ind), Fianna Fáil’s Tony Fitzgerald, and the Green Party’s Oliver Moran are all on between 6 and 7% of first preference votes.

Oliver Moran on his chances in Cork North Central.

Fianna Fáil candidate Sandra Murphy has conceded and wished her party colleagues Mr Fitzgerald and Mr O'Sullivan well. 

On arrival to the count centre in Nemo Rangers GAA Club, Thomas Gould said: “No matter what happens, the big parties know that people have enough and they want change.” 

He said that three and a half weeks wasn’t enough time to field a second candidate in the constituency.

“We want to thank everyone who voted and sincerely everyone who voted for us. I’m very humbled today.”

11.15am:  It’s still all to play for for the last seat in Cork North Central, according to the incumbent Fianna Fáil candidate Pádraig O’Sullivan.

“It’ll be very interesting. I think it’ll go down to the last count. It’s going to be very tight,” he said.

Thomas Gould on the issues facing his constituency.

With almost 58% of boxes open Sinn Féin’s Thomas Gould looks on track to top the poll, he is on 26%. Fianna Fáil’s Pádraig O’Sullivan is next on 16%, with Fine Gael’s Colm Burke on 15.2%.

After that it’s a scramble between five candidates who are on between 4 and 7%, including the incumbent Mick Barry (Solidarity).

Fianna Fáil’s Pádraig O’Sullivan, who has only been a TD since November, is still well in the race to retake his seat, but his running mate Tony Fitzgerald has also polled strongly so far and is is fourth in the tallies, meaning the two could take votes from each other.

Cork North Central counting underway
Cork North Central counting underway

Vote redistribution will be key in this constituency.

“The Sinn Féin surge has materialised in Cork North Central," Mr O'Sullivan said. "We’re confident that Fianna Fáil will hold one seat. There’s a possibility still of a second seat, and I think a lot of that will be dependent on the redistribution of Tommy Gould’s surplus. That could benefit our second candidate, and hopefully puts us in wi5 a shout of a second seat." 

Tony Fitzgerald and Thomas Gould are likely to poll well in similar areas.

“In an ideal situation the break between the two candidates for Fianna Fáil will give us a fair chance of getting that second seat which was our ultimate aim. Irrespective of any personalities, there’s definitely one seat for Fianna Fáil based on the tallies so far, an dit definitely gives us a shout of the second,” he said.

Asked about their third candidate in the constituency, Sandra Murphy , Mr O’Sullivan said: “it’s early days yet. Obviously it’s disappointing but it’s Sandra’s first election. She’ll be a good candidate in the future again I’ve no doubts that she’ll be back.”

10.10am: The early tallies in Cork North Central are in, and they are showing a strong start for Sinn Féin.

Councillor Thomas Gould is polling well with 28% of the boxes open in Nemo Rangers, where he’s sitting on 27% of first preference votes.

Fine Gael’s Colm Burke, meanwhile is on 16%, while Fianna Fáil’s Pádraig O’Sullivan, elected in the November by-election is on 13%.

His party colleague Councillor Tony Fitzgerald is at 8.5%, the Green Party’s Oliver Moran on 7.5% and sitting TD Mick Barry of Solidarity on 7%.

Kenneth Collins talks to The Echo about Sinn Féin's success.

Outgoing Cork North Central TD for Sinn Féin Jonathan O’Brien told The Echo that Cllr Thomas’s Gould looked likely to take his old seat for the party.

“He’s polling very well at the moment. It’s early days yet but he’s looking very good to top the poll, and also probably take the first seat with a surplus.

“We sensed that on the doors last week. Opinion polls are one thing, we judge feedback coming to us on the doors, and the feedback coming from the doors is people wanted change. They were crying out for it, and they saw Sinn Féin as a credible alternative.

“They’re going with it, they’re giving us the opportunity. There’s a responsibility on us now as a political party to try and deliver for them, so we’ll see how the rest of the day pans out. So far so good.

Asked whether he regretted not running again in Cork North Central Mr O’Brien said: “No, my decision was made last September and nobody could have predicted this. I’ve 20 years of it (politics) I’m happy to handout over to Tommy and wish him all the best. He’s going to make a fantastic TD.” 

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein chose to run just one candidate in both city constituencies. Asked if they should have run more in hindsight Mr O'Brien said perhaps, but this strategy still looked like it would work.

“In hindsight you would say yes, but when you’re strategizing these things you can only look at your previous number of elections. We had a poor European election, a poor presidential election, so we were looking at maintaining the seat in both South Central and North Central,” he said.

“The best strategy at the time was one candidate, that’s what we went with, and from a strategic point of view it’s going to be successful because it looks like we will retain both seats,” he added.

Earlier:

Sorting of votes is underway in the Cork North Central constituency, which is widely expected to be a dog-fight for the final seats. 

The four-seater, stretching across the north side of the city and into rural hinterlands, has just one sitting TD who was elected in 2016 running again, Mick Barry. 

Cork North Central counting underway
Cork North Central counting underway

Early tallies suggest Padraig O'Sullivan (FF) is polling strongly. Mr O'Sullivan and Sinn Fein's Thomas Gould are expected to take seats here but the remaining seats are very much up for grabs. 

We'll have updates from throughout the morning here. 

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