R.T.E have published the results of an exit poll for the Irish Election.
3,500 voters were interviewed after they had cast their ballots . The results of the poll is.shown here.
Results were accurate to within half a percentage point in the last election. Tough the high % ov votes of Independents/Others may well affect the final result
If the poll is accurate then it means that Fine Gael will fall short of the 87 seats
it needs for an overall majority . Ceann Comhairle (the UK equivelent is the Speaker) is elected automatically.
Labour with 20.5% will have it highest share of the vote ever the previous high point of 19.5 in 1992 resulted in 33 seats in the 166 seat Dail, and will mean they will be the main Opposition party for the first time if they choose not to join the Fine Gael in government if they choose to do so.
Labour leader Eamon Gilmore's will perhaps be considering the standing og the Liberal Democrats in the UK whose leader had similar approval as himself only to see it vanish when they joined a right wing coalition and became associated with the cuts that the new government will be implementing .
Because Fine Gael if anything is more right of center than Fianna Fáil. and it would be Labour who will be blamed by their supporters for any shortcomings.
So what will be the make up of the government of the 31 Dail?
Sinn Féin could end up with the number of seats Fine Gael needs for a majority possibly backed up with those Independents/others who will not on on the Left (It looks like the United Left Alliance ULA will win a significant number of Seats).
A Fine Gael Fianna Fáil. coalition with a Party that was in government want to become junior partners in any coalition seems unlikely.
But the hostility between the two parties is more historical than ideological that but Fianna Fáil.will have major difficulty in being an opposition party and not sounding hypocritical if they oppose Fine Gael cuts..
However Labour will probably feel that it has no choice but to bite the bulletand join the government whilst claiming they are easing the excesses of Fine Gael slashing of public services and welfare
But in the 31 Dail the veteran Socialist Joe Higgins will be there with his ULA supporters and will be at least speaking out for the poor and dispossessed of Ireland . A situation sadly lacking in our own House of Commons apart from the occasional interruptions of Plaid, the SNP and Greens.