It was all fairly academic in the end as the long time favourite Pearse Doherty of Sinn Fein romped home to take the Donegal south west by election.Although the official count has yet to be declared both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael have conceded that Doherty will take the seat.
The biggest surprise was the relatively poor showing of Frank McBrearty of Labour, who tallies estimate got just 10% of the vote, similar to that of Independent candidate Thomas Pringle.
Fine Gael will also be disappointed as they came in just over 18% while the much battered Fianna Fail still came in with just over 21% of the vote.
Labour leader Eamonn Gilmore said that the party would be building on the by election vote for the general election. He pointed out that McBrearty had nonetheless trebled the vote for Labour in Donegal south west.
Doherty’s win puts the current numbers on the Dail on a knife edge. Fianna Fáil are now dependent on the votes of both Independent Jackie Healy Rae (former FF TD) and Michael Lowry (former FG TD).
Meanwhile Tanaiste Mary Coughlan was putting a brave face on the result when she said that Fianna Fail were still capable of winning two seats in the constituency in the next general election.