So, here we are. First, let’s look at how I think Dublin West is going to go.
Leo Varadkar will be re-elected, and even with all of Fine Gael’s problems I suspect he will still top the poll, just about.
Sinn Fein’s Paul Donnelly will rise the Sinn Fein wave to take a well-deserved second spot.
Jack Chambers, despite that Claire Byrne car crash, should also be comfortably re-elected.
I’m going to predict that Roderic O’Gorman of the Greens finishes fourth and takes the final seat.
I might give her a #1 but I do think that this is going to be just beyond Ruth Coppinger. O’Gorman’s base from the locals and general transfer attractiveness will be too much for her to get beyond, even with a surplus boost from Donnelly.
Joan Burton will slot into sixth, and be eliminated from contention pretty quickly.
From there it gets a bit iffier. I’m going to back Aontu’s Edward MacManus, who had a respectable enough local showing, to get 7th on FPV, though he may get overtaken later.
In eighth, I’ll place Fine Gael’s Emer Currie, who might rise higher depending on Varadkar’s surplus.
In ninth, I regret to say that I think this is as far as the Social Democrats’ Aengus O’Maolain can hope to get.
Regretfully, there are probably enough idiots in the constituency to put Peter Casey as high as tenth.
Independent Stephen O’Loughlin just doesn’t have the profile to get very far, but if he last’s the first count might rise from eleventh on transfers.
Sean O’Leary will do well to hit triple figures and should be dead last in twelfth.
The crucial battle is for that 4th seat, and you can actually envision, depending on transfers or the lack of them, all of O’Gorman, Coppinger and Burton scrapping it out if things get split evenly enough on FPV. I find it very hard to call, but do think that Sinn Fein’s poll numbers and O’Gorman’s recent record will trump Coppinger.
What about the national picture? At the start of the campaign, this is how I predicted things would turn out:
But things have changed a bit in the last three weeks. The big two are down, the third is up. There are some factors that may yet mess all of the below up – the weather is a big one, with Storm Ciara due to bring high wind and rain on Saturday across the country – but I am reasonably confident in my choices.
Fine Gael’s awful campaign, and subsequently awful poll numbers, means they are in for a bad day in my estimation. In a few constituencies running more than one candidate will backfire, and we will see some high-profile losses before the end of Sunday. I’m going to predict 33 seats, a loss of seven from my earlier prediction.
Fianna Fail haven’t exactly had a great campaign themselves, and like Fine Gael stand to lose out in a few areas where they have over-reached themselves with candidates. I’m going to predict 46 seats, a loss of five from my earlier prediction. Sticking my neck out on this one, but I’ll put my name on it.
Sinn Fein have run a hell of a campaign, and stand to benefit from a torrent of resentment towards the FG/FF duopoly. They won’t return every candidate, but I think they will ride the wave to returning most of them. I’ll predict 35 seats, a gain of 12 from my earlier prediction.
I think a lot of the seat swapping will be between parties, but Independents will still benefit a small bit. I’ll predict a return of 17 seats, an increase of one from my first prediction.
Labour have had a piss-poor campaign, and are in for another bad day in my estimation, with a lot of party stalwarts – Kelly, Burton, O’Sullivan – looking into the abyss. I’ll predict 5 seats, a loss of five from my initial prediction.
Solidarity-People Before Profit may yet have a good election, if the transfers from Sinn Fein come. I think they will, and that they will retain five seats, a gain of one from my first prediction.
The Greens have trod the transfer-friendly middle ground quite well in this election, so I’m going to stick with a return of twelve.
I really do think this is a big, big moment for the Social Democrats, who are looking at a better than decent chance of gains in a few places. With transfers, I’m going to go out on a limb and predict a return of five seats, a gain of two from my initial prediction.
I think Joan Collins will be returned, so Independents4Change will have one seat, same as I thought at the start.
I’ve gone back and forth on where things stand for Aontu, and ultimately I feel that pragmatism must rule the day here. I’ll predict that Toibin retains his seat, the only one for Aontu, a gain of one from start-of-campaign prediction.
That will leave us with the below:
What a sea change this would be, huh? Fianna Fail/Sinn Fein would have viable coalition numbers here. Sinn Fein/Fine Gael wouldn’t be too far off either, and could get to 80 with some help from the left. Of course Fianna Fail/Fine Gael would just need some like-minded Independents to seal the deal. A broad left coalition would still be a fair bit short.
At some point next week, with the counting liable to last at least a few days in a few constituencies, I will look back and reflect on where things ended up.