How it played out: Ivana Bacik wins Dublin Bay South byelection

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Tomas Doherty

Ivana Bacik was been elected following the Dublin Bay South byelection.

Here is how it played out:



Ivana Bacik has been elected after the ninth count in the Dublin Bay South byelection. Ms Bacik received the majority of transfers from Sinn Féin’s Lynn Boylan and the Green Party’s Claire Byrne. Ms Bacik received 3,908 transfers from the two candidates compared with 970 for Fine Gael’s James Geoghegan


James Geoghegan secured the largest number of transfers from the earlier exclusion of Fianna Fáil councillor Deirdre Conroy and Independent councillor Mannix Flynn.

He received 865 votes in the distribution, followed by Labour Senator Ivana Bacik, who secured 623 transfers.


The Green Party's Claire Byrne and Sinn Féin's Lynn Boylan have just been eliminated after the eighth count.


Independent Mannix Flynn and Fianna Fáil's Deirdre Conroy have been eliminated on the seventh count.



Social Democrat Sarah Durcan has been eliminated in the sixth count.


Speaking on RTÉ's Six One News, Ivana Bacik said she is so glad and honoured at the byelection results.

She said this is the beginning of rebuilding and people returning to the Labour Party.


Ivana Bacik has said she is “over the moon” about her pending victory in the Dublin Bay South byelection.

Arriving at the RDS on Friday evening, she said: “I’m overwhelmed, I’m over the moon. Certainly we were getting an enormously positive response on doorsteps across every area in the constituency.

“It perhaps reflects what we were hearing back, but of course you never know until you see the votes cast.”

“What I’ve been hearing throughout the campaign was a message about the need for change” she said.

“People wanted to see a change in Government policy, particularly on housing, but also on other issues around investment in public services.”

She added: “From the non-political party campaigns I’ve been involved with for many years. I think that’s really what gave us an edge, that outpouring of support.”


Leo Varadkar also said that they were up against a “very strong” candidate.


“Ivana Bacik has been in politics for 20 years, a national figure, someone who everyone likes and respects and somebody whose arrival in Dáil Éireann is long overdue,” he added.

“Ivana has certainly got a vote that might be considered to be a social liberal vote, a feminist vote, some people will argue that Kate (O’Connell) would have got that.

“I think Ivana would have got that anyway, just look at her record of campaigning on these issues. It’s unparalleled.”


Leo Varadkar said that it is hard for a Government party to win a byelection.

The Tánaiste said that James Geoghegan polled well.

He added: “We would have liked to have won it, we didn’t. But we had a candidate who held our vote, as many as Kate O’Connell and Eoghan Murphy combined.”

Asked if it should have been a comfortable win, Mr Varadkar said: “No, I don’t accept that analysis. I have that a lot, that somehow this is a constituency that only Fine Gael can win.

“That’s not the case. If you look back historically, Dublin Bay South, Dublin South East, on some occasions we’ve had two seats, on some occasions we’ve had one. This is a seat we will take back.”


He said he has overseen good and bad elections as party leader.

“Byelections are different. Since I was born there have been 35 by-elections, the Government won five of those and in two of those five cases it was linked to a family bereavement,” he added.

“It’s very hard in a by-election for a Government party to win.”


Speaking at the RDS, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and party director of elections Simon Harris both congratulated Labour's Ivana Bacik.

Candidate James Geoghegan said he intends to run in the next general election.

“We ran as strong a campaign as we possibly could have run,” he added. “We fell short against a candidate that has been in public life for 20 years.”


Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan has cast doubt on Micheál Martin’s leadership following the party’s disastrous result in the Dublin Bay South byelection.

Asked if the Taoiseach should lead Fianna Fáil into the next election, were it to go ahead as planned in 2025, Mr O’Callaghan replied: “We’ll have to think about that.”

Mr O’Callaghan, a TD for Dublin Bay South and director of elections for party candidate Deirdre Conroy, was speaking after early tallies put her at just five per cent of the vote.


Asked if he is concerned for his own seat at the next general election, he replied: “Certainly if the result is similar to this, there will be more than faint alarm bells and I would have thought there will be alarm bells ringing in the heads of most Fianna Fáil TDs in Dublin.

“Although this has been extremely disappointing and beyond what we thought was going to happen, there has been an awareness in Fianna Fáil since the last election that the party has been declining nationally and in Dublin in the polls.”

Mr O’Callaghan said he would accept his share of responsibility for the result, but added: “I’m not exclusively responsible for Fianna Fáil’s decline in the vote from 14 per cent to five per cent.”


Here are the first count results:

Total poll: 27,044
Valid votes: 26,882
Invalid: 162
Quota: 13,442
Bacik (Lab): 8,131
Barrett (NP): 183
Boylan (SF): 4,245
Byrne (GP): 2,157
Cahill (Ind): 169
Conroy (FF): 1,247
Dooley (Ind): 261
Durcan (SD): 849
Flynn (Ind): 879
Geoghegan (FG): 7,052
Gilbourne (Ren): 164
Keigher (Ind): 23
O'Keefe (Ind): 23
Purcell (Sol-PBP): 759
Tóibín (Aon): 740

Bacik tops the poll and Keigher and O'Keefe are eliminated on the first count.


Labour leader Alan Kelly said he is “very proud” of how Ivana Bacik performed in the Dublin Bay South by-election.


Speaking outside the RDS in south Dublin, he said: “She is somebody who we have admired for many years, she has been a member with us all her adult life.

“Hopefully today will be her day and she will be elected to Dail Eireann.

“She put in an incredible performance. She was literally out morning, noon and night with a fantastic campaign team.

“It was a positive campaign. We are very proud of her.

“It’s a good day for our party.”


Sinn Féin candidate Lynn Boylan has congratulated Ivana Bacik on what appears to be a certain victory.

“It’s not a long time ago when the idea of Sinn Féin having a seat in Dublin Bay South was unthinkable,” said Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald. “We still have huge prospects for growth.”

She added: “It is safe to say that the Government has been given a very strong message from this constituency.”


Counting is done and it looks like a comfortable lead for Labour candidate Ivana Bacik.


Here is the new electoral map for Dublin Bay South, based on the final tally.

And this is what it was like in February 2020, 17 months ago...



Ivana Bacik leads with 30 per cent after the final tally.


A tally sheet shows a majority for Sinn Féin's Lynn Boylan. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

Unopened ballot boxes at Simmonscourt, RDS in Ballsbridge, Dublin. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

A ballot paper showing preferences. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA



Almost half the tally done, results of the first count are expected about 2pm.


A look back at the results of the last election in Dublin Bay South in February 2020.

Sinn Féín and Fine Gael support was strong in distinct areas of the constituency, shown in the maps below. Will this byelection produce similar results, or will we have a new electoral map?

Further detail on the 2020 election results is available on Ian Richardson's site, here.



Independent candidate Dolores Cahill is refused entry to the count at the RDS because she refused to wear a mask. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins


The housing crisis dominated the election campaign, but will it be deciding issue?

Dublin Bay South has a higher share of flats and apartments than nationally (49 per cent compared to 11.8 per cent), and a lower proportion of houses and bungalows (48.2 per cent compared to 86.5 per cent).

The constituency also has a larger percentage of houses that are rented from a private landlord (44.3 per cent) than nationally (18.3 per cent). Most of the homes in Portobello, Ranelagh, Rathmines and Ballsbridge are privately rented.

Social housing is currently concentrated in the inner city areas of the constituency.

The planned development of 3,500 homes on the former Glass Bottle site in Ringsend was a dominant campaign issue.

There were reports that turnout was at near general election levels in Pearse Street and Ringsend, where Sinn Féin has been the leading party in recent elections.

It suggests that Lynn Boylan may perform better than was suggested in The Irish Times constituency poll, which put her support at 13 per cent.



This byelection was the first to take place during the coronavirus pandemic.

A series of safety arrangements were put in place to ensure the poll could be held in line with public health advice.

Hand sanitiser was available at all polling stations, while voters were asked to wear masks and observe social distancing rules when inside.

A man leaves a polling station in Rathgar yesterday. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

Polling stations were sanitised at regular intervals, with Perspex screens set up at each presiding officer’s desk.

Polling hours were also extended by 30 minutes to assist Covid-19 arrangements, closing at 10.30pm instead of the traditional 10pm.

Similar safety measures are in place at the vote count in the RDS this morning, with face masks, screens and sanitiser in use.


They're off... Counting is under way in the RDS.


It is still unclear how the pandemic has impacted voter turnout in Dublin Bay South.

By 9pm, the average turnout was reported at 40 per cent in the constituency, according to figures from RTÉ.

That compared to just 24 per cent of voters who had shown up to cast their ballot by 5pm.

Turnout was highest in Ringsend, reaching 44 per cent by 9pm.

In Harold’s Cross it was 40 per cent, in Sandymount it was 41 per cent, while Ranelagh saw the lowest turnout by a distance, at 27 per cent.

By those measures, turnout is significantly lower than in the 2020 general election.

However, in the four byelections held in 2019, turnout fell between 25 and 35 per cent.


Good morning. The count is about to begin in the Dublin Bay South byelection.

Polling in the contest to replace Fine Gael TD and former minister Eoghan Murphy closed at 10.30pm last night, and counting is now ready to get under way at the RDS.

The frontrunners – Labour’s Ivana Bacik, Fine Gael’s James Geoghegan and Sinn Féin’s Lynn Boylan – could face an anxious wait for the outcome, with the possibility that tallying will continue into the weekend.

Turnout was initially low throughout the day on Thursday, but picked up later into the evening.

Other candidates include Cllr Deirdre Conroy of Fianna Fáil, and Cllr Claire Byrne running for the Green Party.

The Social Democrats chose Sarah Durcan, while the People Before Profit candidate is Brigid Purcell.

The other candidates in Dublin Bay South are Justin Barrett (National Party), Jacqui Gilbourne (Renua), Mairead Toibin (Aontú) and independents Dolores Cahill, Peter Dooley, Mannix Flynn, John Keigher and Colm O’Keefe.

You can watch a live stream of the count on this page and we will provide live updates throughout the day.

Labour candidate Senator Ivana Bacik accompanies her mother Rina to her polling station in Rathgar, Dublin. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

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