General election result predictions by Harry McGee of The Irish Times; Mr McGee
…on February 5, Political Correspondent for The Irish Times Harry McGee laid out his predictions for last week’s general election.
As of February 3, the election polls had shown that, following six national election polls, the combined Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael vote was less than 44%, while Sinn Féin was polling more than twice its local election vote in 2019.
Mr McGee predicted that Fianna Fáil would win 53 seats; Fine Gael, 38; Sinn Féin, 28; Labour, 8; Greens, 14; Social Democrats, 3; Solidarity-PBP, 2; Others, 14.
However, his predictions were less unequivocal than that of his peers.
Fianna Fáil would go on to lose 7 seats, Fine Gael would lose 12 and Sinn Féin would gain 15.
The final tally saw Fianna Fáil with 38 seats (one of which was automatic as Seán Ó Fearghaíl is the Ceann Comhairle); Sinn Féin, 37; Fine Gael, 35; Greens, 12; Social Democrats, 6; Labour, 6; Solidarity-People Before Profit, 5; Independents, 19; Aontú, 1; Other, 1.
Mr McGee’s approach to his predictions differed to that of RTÉ and the Irish Independent‘s Fionnan Sheahan, in that he predicted where Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin would potentially lose and win seats.
Mr McGee predicted that Sinn Féin would possibly gain seats in Donegal, Dublin West, Wexford, Cavan-Monaghan, Mayo, Longford-Westmeath.
He also predicted the party would possibly lose seats in Dublin Mid-West, Louth, Cork East.
However, confusingly, although perhaps because of the polls, while making his prediction of Sinn Féin’s losses, he also predicted Sinn Féin’s seats were safe in these constituencies which might explain his side note:
“I had another eight constituencies marked as potential losses for Sinn Féin. But that was a fortnight ago. And the world has changed since then.”
Sinn Féin gained 15 seats on top of the 22 it had at the start of the election, bringing their total to 37.
Donegal: Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty and Pádraig MacLochlainn won the top two seats.
Dublin West: Sinn Féin’s Paul Donnelly topped the poll and took the first seat after the first count.
Wexford: Sinn Féin’s Johnny Mythen topped the poll and took the first seat after the first count.
Cavan-Monaghan: Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy and Pauline Tully took the first and third seats.
Mayo: Sinn Féin’s Rose Conway-Walsh took the second seat after securing 22.7% of the first-preference votes.
Longford-Westmeath: Sinn Féin’s Sorca Clarke took the first seat after the first count, after securing 21% of the first-preference votes.
Dublin Mid-West: Sinn Féin’s Eoin Ó Broin and Mark Ward took the top two seats after the first count.
Louth: Sinn Féin’s Imelda Munster and Ruairí Murchú took the top two seats after the first count.
Cork East: Sinn Féin’s Pat Buckley topped the poll with 23.1% of the first-preference votes.
Mr McGee predicted that Fine Gael would possibly gain seats in Dublin Mid-West, Cork North-Central, Tipperary, Cavan-Monaghan, Cork North-West, Cork East, Dublin-Rathdown, Kerry, Longford-Westmeath, Galway East, Louth, Limerick City.
He also predicted that the party would possibly lose seats in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin North-West, Galway West, Dublin Bay South, Wexford, Clare, Dublin South-Central and Meath East.