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May 24, 2007

Election 2007: High Turnout

News about Ireland & the Irish

RT 05/24/07 Election 2007: High Turnout Reported
RT 05/24/07 RTÉ To Provide Cross-Media Election Coverage
GU 05/24/07 Boost For Ahern As Labour Leader Hints At Deal
BT 05/24/07 SF Predicting Dail Successes
SM 05/24/07 SF Surge May Change Face Of Ireland's Politics
NL 05/24/07 DUP Queried On Power-Sharing
GU 05/24/07 Opin: A Fine Balance

--------------Held Now----Predictions---After Election

Fianna Fail------78--------70-(- 8)------?? ( ??)
Fine Gael--------33--------44-(+11)------?? ( ??)
Labour-----------21--------24-(+ 3)------?? ( ??)
Independents-----14-------- 9-(- 5)------?? ( ??)
PDs-------------- 8-------- 9-(+ 1)------?? ( ??)
Greens----------- 6-------- 9-(+ 3)------?? ( ??)
Sinn Fein-------- 5-------- 8-(+ 3)------?? ( ??)
Socialists------- 1-------- 2-(+ 1)------?? ( ??)


Election 2007: High Turnout Reported

Thursday, 24 May 2007 23:07

Polls have closed in the General Election with the final hours of
polling seeing a surge in voter turnout.

Despite rain in the west, weather conditions were much better
than polling day five years ago and the final turnout is thought
to have exceeded the 2002 level of 63% in several constituencies.

In 2002, the constituency which recorded the highest turnout in
the country was Cork North-West with 73.36%. There are early
indications that this percentage was bettered in the constituency
this year.

More than three million people were voting for candidates to the
30th Dail, in one of the tightest General Election contests in

Voting was said to be steady in Dublin and the capital's commuter
counties, though polling stations were busy as many cast their
votes on their way to work this morning.

The results of the RTE/Lansdowne Market Research Exit Poll, to be
broadcast on Morning Ireland at 7am, should give a good
indication of the first preference votes for the various parties.

Counting begins at 9am and the first results should be known by
early afternoon.

Leaders cast their votes

Party leaders posed for photographers as they cast their ballots
this morning.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern cast his vote shortly after 11am at a
school on Richmond Road in Drumcondra.

In Co Mayo, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny and his wife Fionnuala
cast their votes in the parochial centre in Castlebar at around

Labour leader Pat Rabbitte, PD leader Michael McDowell and Green
Party leader Trevor Sargent have also cast their votes.

There are 466 candidates standing for election in 43
constituencies. Of these 165 candidates will be elected to the
Dail; the Ceann Comhairle, Dr Rory O'Hanlon, is returned


RTE To Provide Cross-Media Election Coverage

Thursday, 24 May 2007 20:18

RTE will provide coverage of the results of Election 2007 via
television, radio, internet, Aertel and mobile phones starting
from tomorrow morning.

Election 2007 begins on RTE One Television at 11am, with
comprehensive live coverage of results from count centres across
the country and analysis, reaction and comment from experts and

Presented by John Bowman, Bryan Dobson, Mark Little and Miriam
O'Callaghan, the programme will draw from a record number of
outside broadcast and satellite units for an Irish election.

Election results received and processed count by
count in the RTE Results Centre will provide results to
television, radio, Nuacht RTE for TG4,, Aertel and SMS
text message in order to give national and international
audiences the most immediate and comprehensive coverage possible.

Election 2007 runs from 11am until the RTE News at 1pm, and from
2.20pm with breaks for news programmes until 2.30am. On Saturday,
it returns to RTE One at 11am until 3pm with a break for News at

All election programming will be subtitled.

From early morning tomorrow, RTE Radio 1 will provide non-stop
coverage of the count, with the first updates and live reports
from around the country.

Radio special to run non-stop

From 10am Today with Pat Kenny will broadcast coverage of the
early tallies, and reporters will be talking to tallymen around
the country and getting reaction on the ground.

From 12pm S‚an O'Rourke and Racheal English will begin the
station's special election programme, Election 2007.

Reporters will provide coverage of all 43 constituencies, with
number-crunchers, politicians, journalists and party members
joining for all the drama of the winners and the losers. The
programme will run around the clock until the counting stops in
the early hours of the morning.

On Saturday morning a special edition of Morning Ireland will
start at 8am and will reflect on the results so far in Election
2007. The Election 2007 programme with Sean O'Rourke and Rachael
English returns at 10am until 1pm.

At 1pm Saturday View, presented by Rodney Rice, and at 1pm on
Sunday This Week presented by Gerald Barry and Gavin Jennings
will discuss the formation of the 30th Dail.

Coverage in Irish on TG4, RnaG

RTE Raidi¢ na Gaeltachta's award winning L an Chomhairimh
programme, presented by M ir¡n N¡ Ghadhra, will have reporters in
every count centre in the country with up to the minute reports
all day tomorrow from early morning until the final seat is

On Saturday May M ir¡n will present a special follow-up L an
Chomhairimh from 11am until 2pm.

RTE lyric fm and RTE 2fm will also have updates on all of the
election action and count results.

Nuacht RTE's coverage of the election count on TG4 will see some
15 hours of live output over two days covering all 43

Morning Ireland's Cathal Mac Coille will be the anchor for V¢ta
2007 from 2pm tomorrow and will be joined by a team of reporters
based in each of the constituencies and a panel of commentators
in studio and around the country.

Nuacht RTE will also be providing election count coverage in its
regular bulletins on Friday and Saturday on RTE One.

Comprehensive coverage on

Here on, Ireland's leading media website, comprehensive
multimedia coverage of the election is at for
audiences at home and abroad.

The site features round the clock coverage, with tallies, exit
polls and full results from all 43 constituencies available on
both and RTE Aertel as soon as they are announced.
Election news stories and constituency breakdowns will also be
available on PDA devices for those on the move.

The website will also feature exclusive in-depth analysis and
discussion from RTE's team of correspondents and journalists from
around the country in The Hub,'s special section for
election audio, video and pictures.

All RTE television and radio election programmes will be
available live via and subsequently on-demand for
users in Ireland and around the world.

The election site also has in-depth coverage of all the crucial
election issues and events, with a choice of special features for
both seasoned enthusiasts and election novices.


Boost For Ahern As Ireland's Labour Leader Hints At Deal

Taoiseach could retain power in new coalition
Vote count expected to take several more days

Owen Bowcott, Ireland correspondent
Friday May 25, 2007
The Guardian

Bertie Ahern's chances of holding on to power in Ireland improved
yesterday when the Labour leader, Pat Rabbitte, hinted that he
could switch sides and support the taoiseach's Fianna Fail party.

As Ireland went to the polls with no party in a position to win
an overall majority, bookmakers were offering odds showing a
Fianna Fail/Labour coalition as the most likely outcome. The
result is likely to be a cliffhanger and it may take several
days' counting and an even longer period of negotiation before
the composition of the next government becomes clear.

The last opinion poll of the campaign, published yesterday,
showed the centrist Fianna Fail recovering some lost ground and
the pro-business Fine Gael, the main opposition challenger,
slipping back to 26%. Numerous political permutations are
possible but the Fine Gael/Labour alliance is likely to be short
of its required target - at least 83 seats in the 166-seat Dail -
even if the Greens give it their backing.

The only stable combination expected to emerge when counting
starts is Fianna Fail and Labour. The two parties have been in
government together before.

After voting in Dublin yesterday morning, Mr Rabbitte said he did
not want to see Mr Ahern returned as taoiseach and dependent on
the votes of Sinn Fein.

"I don't look forward to the prospect of Labour being asked ...
to put Fianna Fail back in office," he said. It would not be
"consistent" with Labour's stated aim of removing the two parties
- Fianna Fail and the Progressive Democrats - in the outgoing
coalition. But he added: "I don't want to see Sinn Fein driving
economic policies or other policies ... The responsibility falls
on more shoulders than mine."

Irish voters tend to make their selections on individual
politicians' constituency performance rather than simply
following national party labels.

The single transferable vote system in multi-member
constituencies allows voters to express preferences that cross
party lines. In Drumcondra, north Dublin, the heart of Mr Ahern's
constituency, several voters said they had voted for both Fianna
Fail and Fine Gael candidates. Independent candidates flourish
under the system; there were 14 in the last Dail.

"I voted for an independent, Tony Gregory, first, Fianna Fail
second and Fine Gael third," said one man.

"I voted for the Green party," said a woman emerging from a
polling booth. "I did vote for Bertie in the past but I don't
think he's followed through."

The influential businessman and racehorse owner JP McManus let it
be known that he had placed a ?45,000 (œ30,000) bet on Mr Ahern
being returned as taoiseach.

Enda Kenny, the leader of Fine Gael, cast his vote yesterday
morning in his native Castlebar, in County Mayo.

His political aides proudly revealed he had clocked up more than
10,000 kilometres (6,200 miles) criss-crossing the country during
the campaign - a fuel consumption statistic not calculated to
earn him much support from the Green party. He reportedly went on
200 walkabouts to meet the electorate and shook an average of
2,000 hands every day.


SF Predicting Dail Successes

[Published: Thursday 24, May 2007 - 13:49]
By Noel McAdam

Sinn Fein predicted doubling its Dail representation as voters in
the Republic went to the polls today.

An increase from five to ten TDs in the next Dail would put the
party in a pivotal position for the horsetrading which will
follow the election results.

But it is likely to take longer for the parties to form the 29th
Dail than it will take to elect them.

Party President Gerry Adams does not accept Fianna Fail's
insistence that it will not go into a coalition with Sinn Fein

But the party would have to get a quarter of its 40 candidates
elected to meet its prediction.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, who has led a coalition administration
over the last ten years, is seeking to win a third term in

If he pulls it off he will become the second-longest serving
premier within the states of the European Union currently in

Senior Fianna Fail figures calculate the party can match its
performance in the last election when it won 81 seats, and Mr
Ahern blamed bad weather for robbing his party of an overall

And the main opposition party, Fine Gael, has predicted it can
win around 55 seats which would mean a coalition with Labour, or
with the Greens for the first time in history.

The result could potentially mean no combination of parties can
form a government, but would be dependent on the smaller parties
and independents.

Election analysts, however, also believe the turnout could be the
lowest ever due to declining trends in recent years and the
number of college students sitting exams.

More than three million people are entitled to vote with polling
stations staying open until 10.30pm tonight and counting
beginning tomorrow.

c Belfast Telegraph


Surge Of Support For Sinn Fein May Change Face Of Ireland's

Aine Gallagher In Dublin

IT IS a part of Dublin which the Celtic Tiger has forgotten but
could upset the establishment and return a Sinn Fein deputy to

Darndale, a 1970s council estate in north Dublin, is known for
high unemployment and a big drugs problem. It is home to about

Traditionally, the area would have a low voter turnout, but a
steady stream of locals turned up to the polling station
yesterday to cast their ballot in an extremely tight general

The mood for change was palpable. "I hope we will get something
better, as jobs are going out of this country," said 68-year-old
John Burns.

"Old people that need homes are just neglected and young people
taking out mortgages are getting repossessed," he added.

A young married mother of two echoed this concern. "Wages aren't
going up as quickly as housing costs and the cost of living. The
government should be doing more about it," she said.

Community workers said money from the booming Irish economy has
been invested in the area under the Fianna Fail-led coalition
government, but admitted more needed to be done.

And Sinn Fein says it is the party to do it.

As a confident Gerry Adams, the president of Sinn Fein,
accompanied his party's candidate, Larry O'Toole, to the ballot
box in Darndale, he refused to speculate on the number of seats
he is hoping to win.

But Sinn Fein could be the potential kingmakers in the next
parliament. They held five seats in the last parliament and it is
predicted that they will double their representation.

A win in this working-class constituency would prove that they
are the main voice of the people left behind by the booming

Even though he is one of the main architects of the Northern
Ireland peace process which has allowed Sinn Fein to enter
government in Belfast, Bertie Ahern, the Taoiseach, is fighting a
Sinn Fein challenger on his home turf and facing an uncertain

While it is predicted that Fianna Fail will hold on to power, the
shape of the coalition government is wide open. The main
opposition, Fine Gael, has raised the fear that Fianna Fail would
form a minority government based on the support of Sinn Fein in
the event of hung parliament.

Sinn Fein is willing to enter government with Fianna Fail. The
largest party in the parliament has ruled out a coalition, but
would accept Sinn Fein votes to nominate the Taoiseach and form a
minority administration.

However, Sinn Fein is now threatening to take this option off the

"Fianna Fail or everyone else who may have a mandate would be
very presumptuous to think that Sinn Fein will vote for a
minority government," said Mr Adams, adding that a programme for
government would have to be agreed.


DUP Queried On Power-Sharing

THE DUP has been challenged to explain its alleged exclusion of
Sinn Fein from positions of power within a Northern Ireland

Ulster Unionist Basil McCrea wants Ian Paisley's party to clarify
the anomaly between power-sharing at the Assembly and the denial
of council committee chairmanships to republicans.

Lisburn City Council, where he is a member, has never had a Sinn
Fein chairperson.

"Here we have Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness linking arms at
Stormont and they need to clarify their position," Mr McCrea

DUP minister and member of Lisburn City Council, Edwin Poots,
said party leaders were engaged in discussions.

He added that Sinn Fein had held vice-chairmanships in the past.

Last Updated: 23 May 2007


Opin: A Fine Balance

Ireland goes to the polls, the outcome uncertain. After the votes
are counted, the result may be decided by the parties' coalition

Fintan O'Toole

The only question about today's general election in Ireland that
can be answered with any certainty is "who will win"?

The simple answer is "nobody". It is 30 years since a majority
single-party government has been elected. There was once a stable
two-and-a-half party system (the two being the big centre-right
parties that emerged from the civil war 80 years ago, Fianna F il
and Fine Gael, and the half being the small Labour Party). It's
now a six-party system. As the big nationalist narrative has been
undermined by the emergence of a complex, highly globalised
society, the old parties have been joined by the right-of-centre
Progressive Democrats (PDs), the Green Party and a resurgent Sinn
Fein, which has gained from its prominence in the Northern
Ireland peace process and now has, according to the polls, around
10% support. Throw in a handful of independent politicians with
strong local support, and there's no chance of any party winning
a majority on its own.

This may even be true of the two big competing coalitions of
parties. The outgoing alliance of Fianna F il and the PDs has
been in power for the last decade and has presided over rapid
economic growth, low unemployment and what looks like the end of
the Northern Ireland conflict. Backers of its leader, Bertie
Ahern, (including Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, who have both
appeared in party political broadcasts with radiant endorsements)
find it bizarre that a leader with such a record could lose

But there has been a mood for change. The first two weeks of the
campaign were dominated by still-unanswered questions about the
circumstances in which Ahern accepted what he has called a
financial "dig out" from wealthy business people in the early
1990s, when he was going through a messy separation from his
wife. Although Ahern is widely popular and is not perceived to be
corrupt, the bizarre circumstances in which he acquired his house
in Dublin have brought back uncomfortable memories of Ahern's
one-time political master, the extravagantly crooked Charles
Haughey. There is unease about the prospect of 15 years in power
for a Fianna F il party that has never quite lost its resemblance
to that other great Irish political machine, Tammany Hall.

At the same time, Ireland in the last decade has been a great
exemplar of the reality that private wealth can coexist with
public squalor. Economic growth has generated massive current
budget surpluses, but they have not been used to create a fair,
or, indeed, a functioning, health service. The education system
is creaking at the seams. The appalling mismanagement of rapid
population growth has created a planning disaster, in which more
and more people now live in commuter towns that are further and
further from Dublin, with woeful public transport and a dearth of
basic facilities. The environmental cost of this mess is becoming
clear: the largest city on the west coast, Galway, has been
without drinkable tap water for months now.

The question, of course, is whether the alternative coalition of
Fine Gael and Labour has managed to convince voters that it can
deliver better public services without wrecking the economy. Sinn
Fein will pick up votes from working-class people who feel left
out of the boom. The Greens should benefit from the more acute
awareness of the boom's environmental price tag. But no one wants
to form a coalition with Sinn Fein, which retains something of
its pariah status in the Republic - even though it is in
government with Ian Paisley in the north. The Greens, even on a
good day, will do well to get eight seats in the Dail. Labour is
well-led by the impressive Pat Rabbitte, but it is unlikely to
get more than 12% of the vote.

So, for Ahern to be decisively defeated, Fine Gael will have to
come close to doubling its current number of seats. That depends
on a significant part of the electorate putting aside its doubts
over its leader Enda Kenny, who has something of Ahern's general
amiability without any of his quiet cunning. My guess is that
Fine Gael, Labour and the Greens may just about have enough seats
to form a three-party coalition. But we might still be guessing a
week from now, as the choice of government moves out of the hands
of voters and into those of party negotiators.

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