National update: Just over a dozen of 926 local election seats filled

With counting underway for nine hours in the local elections and two by-elections, just over a dozen councillors are elected this evening, and none is from the coalition parties.

The by-elections remain too close to call, especially in Dublin West where transfers are key.

Counting in the European elections will take place until tomorrow, but Sinn Féin are in line to elect an MEP in each of the three constituencies.

More than 2,000 candidates are contesting 949 local authority seats. Forty-one candidates are contesting 11 MEP seats in the three European constituencies. By-elections are being held in Longford-Westmeath and Dublin West.

Latest national picture:

The first results of the local elections played out what is likely to be the story of these elections, with Independents, Sinn Féin and anti-austerity candidates taking the first seats.

However, there is a long way to go before the 949 seats are filled. When that happens, Labour are certain to have suffered major losses, including wipeouts in some local authority areas, and Fine Gael will have been bruised too.

Fianna Fáil will make some gains, with the return of names like Mary Hanafin and Seán Haughey in Dublin.

After Independents, the biggest winners will be Sinn Féin, likely to be the largest party on Dublin City Council and electing more than 100 councillors across the country.

In the Dublin West by-election, Sinn Féin's Paul Donnelly topped the poll with a lead of 79 votes cut to just eight by Ruth Coppinger of the Socialist Party after the second count. Transfers are now crucial there, with a key question being what will happen to Fianna Fáil's David McGuinness.

Donnelly, Coppinger and McGuinness have all been elected to Fingal County Council. One of them will be resigning that seat to sit in the Dáil.

A first count is due in Longford Westmeath, with all indications that it is Gabrielle McFadden's to lose.

The European Counts will take place tomorrow. Independents and Sinn Féin look set to be the big winners again. Labour will have no MEPs, but Fine Gael could keep four of the 11.

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