Exit poll indicates collapse in support for FG and Labour

Update 10.58pm: An exit poll conducted by Ipsos MRBI on behalf of the Irish Times newspaper could cause concern for Fine Gael and Labour tonight.

As polls across the country close, the survey sees Fine Gael support slump by 10 percentage points compared to the last General Election.

It also points to a collapse in support for Labour - down to 7.8% compared to 19.5% in 2011.

Update 10.36pm: Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams thanked supporters as the polls closed this evening.

"I would like to thank all the Sinn Féin candidates and their families, our canvassers and supporters who gave so generously of their time," he said.

"In particular I would like to thank the citizens who have come out to invest their votes and their hopes in Sinn Féin."

He added: "I believe this election will see an increase in support for Sinn Féin and for progressive politics."

Update 10pm: Voting has ended in General Election 2016.

Polling stations, which were open since 7am this morning, closed at 10pm tonight.

Various reports have indicated a reasonably high turnout across some areas of the country, although it remains to be seen what effect inclement weather in Cork, Kerry and Waterford has had on voter numbers in those counties.

Counting will begin from 9am tomorrow morning.

Typically, the traditional peak periods around tea-time and at around 9pm.

Update 8.51pm: RTÉ News is reporting that turnout of nearly 60% in parts of Sligo.

Update 8.25pm: Turnout in Kildare North is at 43%, with Kildare South at 45%.

Almost 3.3 million voters are eligible to cast their ballot in the General Election.

Update: 6.50pm: RTE are reporting that the highest turnout so far today has been in the Taoiseach's constituency of Co. Mayo, where Louisburgh in the west of the county has had more than 65% of voters out by 5pm.

People are being told to bring photo ID and remember that ballot box selfies are banned.

Update: 6.10pm: Rain-sodden parts of Co Cork saw a much slower stream of voters at polling stations during the day.

Cork North West turnout is at 32.5%, Cork South West is at 35.1% and Cork East is at 27.5%. Total turnout for the whole of county Cork is 31%.

LIMERICK: In Foynes voter levels are at around 46% per cent .Booths are recording turnout close to 40% in Adare. Turnout is also averaging 40% in Patrickswell. Kilcornan is at around 37%.

The Newcastle West booths are at around 40 per cent. The turnout in Croagh is pushing 40%.

The two booths in Pallaskenry are between 45% and 48%. Moving on to Glin, where the percentage turnout is at 40 percent. Templeglantine is nearing 30%. While it's the same for Knock-na-sna.

Athea is on 31%, Rathkeale has around 35% turnout and Abbeyfeale is reporting turnout of around 42%.

In Ballyguiltenane it stands at 38%, While there is a 40% turnout being recorded in Askeaton.

Looking at the state of play in the city, Knockea is at 43%, but there's a lower figure of 33% in Murroe.

Caherconlish and Killinure are lower again at 29% and 27% respectively, while in Lisnagry it's between 30-35%.

Ahane is close to that at 34% with Shannon Banks on 35%.

The six booths in the polling station at Scoil Ide in Corbally are at 40%, but Watch House Cross is slightly higher at 43%.

Parteen is nearly at 37%, much more than the 28% level being recorded at the Gael Scoil polling station in Castletroy.

Castleconnell is 38%, Monaleen is 39% and Milford is 27%.

Update: 6.10pm: WATERFORD: More than half of all those registered have cast their vote at one polling booth at St Saviours School in Ballybeg. It is averaging at 48% there.

It is above 40% at St Paul's in Waterford City, Ballygunner, Abbeyside in Dungarvan and Ballyduff Lower.

The figure a short time ago was 37% in Passage East while it was approaching a third in Dunmore East.

Update: 5.45pm: In Clare, the highest reported turnout in the county so far is 42% in Doolin NS, Mullagh on 40%, while 37% have cast their ballot in Kilmurry, 34% in Miltown Malbay and 31% in Kilmaley.

Kildare North: 29%/KIldare South: 32%

Update: 5.25pm: In Cork City they are registering a turnout of between 30% and 35%, while parts of Longford have recorded only a 5% turnout.

Update: 4.45pm: LIMERICK: In Foynes voter levels are at nearly 30%, while it is also pushing 30% in Adare, Patrickswell and Kilcornan.

Elsewhere in the County Newcastle West and Croagh, and it's almost up at 25% in Pallaskenry. Glin is also recording levels at 25%, although one of the booths there is at 31%.

And turnout levels of 20% are being recorded in both Athea and Rathkeale.

Turning to the city and polling stations in Shannon Banks, Watch House Cross and Parteen are recording turnouts close to 30%. Around 20% of the electorate have cast their vote in Monaleen, Milford and Corbally.

Staying with the city, but moving towards the East of the county, where stations in Killinure, Lisnagry, Knockea, Murroe, Bilboa, Caherconlish, Castletroy and Ahane are close to the 20% mark.

Update: 4.15pm: Fianna Fáil leader Mr Martin, who cast his ballot along with his family at St Anthony's Boys National School in Cork, refused to forecast the outcome.

"I am not going to make any predictions but I am hopeful that we will get a good result - it's up to the people now to decide but it was quite clear to us even yesterday on the campaign trail that there are quite a number of people who still have to make their mind up," he said.

"In fact, it was quite striking how many people still hadn't made their minds up.

Update: 3.50pm: Turnout in Kildare North is reported to be at 25.4% so far, while Kildare South has seen a 29% turnout.

Arriving to vote at Dublin's St Joseph's Deaf Boys School, Tánaiste and Labour leader Joan Burton said she was buoyed by the spring-like day for polling, and was hoping it would also be a sunny day for her at the count.

"I was out saying hello to people at Coolmine railway station this morning, and I have to say it was the nicest early morning canvass I've done in the whole campaign," she said.

"So that is a good omen. I'm feeling upbeat and optimistic."

In Louth, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said he was not taking the election for granted as he arrived at the Dulary National School polling station in Ravensdale.

"We stand on our record and we call upon people to come out," he said.

"There's no point not voting - if you don't vote it's a sure vote for the establishment parties."

Update: 3.30pm: President Higgins and his wife Sabina were among 238 voters who live in Phoenix Park and who were registered to cast their ballots at St Mary's Hospital.

Arriving at the polling station desk at around 9am, the head of state waited in line before being asked for his address by the election clerk.

"Aras ... Phoenix Park," he answered.

He then insisted to the clerk that his official address, Aras an Uachtarain, is in the Dublin 7 area.

"It is very often described as Dublin 8 but it isn't. I'm trying to get it straightened out," he joked.

Update: 3.15pm: Taoiseach Enda Kenny, turning up to cast his ballot at St Anthony's Special School in his native Castlebar, repeated his insistence that he would not go into coalition with Fianna Fáil.

"People are going to vote today, let's see the decision they make," he said.

"I have already ruled Fianna Fáil out."

The Fine Gael leader was sporting a green tie, while Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin in Cork was wearing a blue tie - each donning the party colour of their rival.

Asked if there was any significance in the sartorial choice, the Taoiseach responded: "Well, he didn't contact me about that. This one is for Ireland."

He added: "It really is an important day for Ireland - the decision is being made today by the people, who rule after all, will determine the future direction of the country for the next five years."

Update: 2.30pm: In Waterford, returning officers have reported a turnout of 20% at a number of polling stations including St Paul's in Waterford City and Abbeyside in Dungarvan while it is now above 23% in Portlaw and Ballygunner.

Turnout in Kildare North stands at 20% so far, while Kildare South has seen 16% turnout.

Disability campaigners are criticising a nationwide failure to make all polling centres accessible.

Martin Naughton of the Disability Federation of Ireland says it will be more difficult for some than others.

Mr Naughten said: "Somehow or other, if you are a person with a disablility, you have to do research on whether your polling booth is accessible or not.

"If not you have to make arrangements."

Earlier: Voting in the General Election is expected to be brisk this lunchtime.

552 candidates are vying to fill 158 seats in the country's 32nd Dáil.

Early turnout figures have been revealed, although it is still early with plenty of time for people to cast their vote later in the day.

So far the figures show, Enniscorthy 15%, Gorey 15%, Wexford 14% and New Ross 13%.

Turnout in the Offaly constituency - 11% figures so far in Kilcormac, Pollagh, Banagher, Edenderry and Tullamore.

9% turnout has been recorded so far in Kinnitty and Crinkill, while it's at 10% in Borrisokane in the Tipperary area of the new constituency.

In Longford-Westmeath, turnout is at 11% in the Mullingar district and 9.5% in the Athlone district.

In Longford, turnout in the north of the county averages 6% and is between 5-10% in the south.

Meanwhile, in the Laois constituency, turnout is at 8% in Portlaoise and Mountmellick.

The highest turnout recorded in the constituency so far is at St Peter's Boys National School in Monasterevin at 12%.

Turnout in Cork North and South Central constituencies was running at between 7% and 10% up to midday.

Cork North West was up to 13.2%, Cork South West 15% and Cork East 12.8%.

The total for the county stands at 13.4%.

In Dublin the guards have been called because some candidates are reported to have broken canvassing rules.

No posters are allowed within 50 metres of polling centres on vote day.

Dublin's Returning Officer is James Barry: “I emailed on the Candidates on February 16, I emailed them again last weekend reminding them of the rules under the 19192 electoral act.

“And this morning they are still there and it is an absolute disgrace.

“We have reported them to An Garda Siochana, they have been very pro-active on it.”

Tallyman Joe Mc Carthy is reminding people to fill their ballot out right to the end.

“If you don’t give the final preferences, it could be that your vote arrives to somebody who you didn’t want at all, and if you want that person to not have a vote, you must fill in the blanks,” he said.

“Incidentally, you most vote in sequential order – you can’t go 1, 2, 3 and then 7.”

 

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