Donegal count suspended at 2.15am for recount - begins again at 10am

Donegal count suspended at 2.15am for recount - begins again at 10am

At 2.15am Sunday morning Returning Officer Geraldine O'Connor granted a request from Sinn Féin for a recheck of votes of Gary Doherty (SF), Pearse Doherty (SF) and Dessie Shiels (Ind).

Ms O’Connor announced that the Count would resume at the Aura Leisure Centre at 10am.

The request was made shortly after the seventh count was relayed. That count, the distribution of Paddy Harte’s votes opened up a gap of almost 1500 votes between Thomas Pringle Independent and Sinn Fein’s Padraig MacLochlainn - Pringle on 7,522 starting to pull away the Inishowen TD who is on 6,032.

With Charlie McConalogue of Fianna Fáil having already exceeded the 12,218 quota from the first count, the other four seats are still to be decided with three of them all but certain to go as follows to Pearse Doherty SF on 11,190 after count 7, Pat the Cope Gallagher FF on 11,160 and Joe McHugh on 11,016.

The fifth and final seat however, is where the real drama exists, Thomas Pringle and Padraig MacLochlainn could well be split by a handful of votes, hence the appetite for a recheck.

At 10am the story will continue to unfold, but day 1, some 17 hours and more of checking, tallying and talk, certainly was interesting, with the return of Fianna Fáil with two seats, the talking point.

Sinn Féin always said their three candidate strategy was a risky one, tomorrow morning they will find out how risky.

With McConalogue elected on 12,533 first preference votes, the key figures now after seven counts are as follows:

Doherty Pearse SF 11,190

Gallagher FF 11,160

McHugh FG 11,016

Pringle IND 7,522

MacLochlainn SF 6,032

Jackson IND 4,524

Shiels IND 4,463

Doherty Gary SF 4,456