Donegal By-Election Underway

Voting has begun in the Donegal South West by-election, despite criticism over the election's timing and relevance.

Polling stations opened at 7am and remain open until 10pm tonight. The Dáil seat was vacated by Pat The Cope Gallagher after he was elected to the European Parliament last year.

The by-election has come under some strong criticism as the winner of the election could become one of the shortest serving TDs yet after it emerged a Dáil election could be called in around six weeks time.

On top of that, the bill for the Donegal South West by-election is estimated to be around €300,000.

Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty is the current favourite to win the seat, having forced the government to hold the by-election after winning a High Court case, which ruled that there had been an “unreasonable” delay in filling the seat.

Earlier this week, Mr Doherty said: "It is imperative that the whole of this constituency shows its anger and opposition to the draconian budget cuts which are being pursued by this government.”

On Tuesday, independent candidate Ann Sweeney unofficially withdrew from the race, saying the by-election had become ‘redundant’ following developments in Dublin where Fianna Fáil had agreed to hold a general election in the spring following calls by the Green Party.

The constituency includes five offshore islands where voters cast their ballots on Monday.

The count will begin at 9am tomorrow at the Finn Valley Athletic Centre in Stranorlar.


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