Independent Thomas Pringle has around 2,000 votes to make up in transfers if he is to keep his seat
The battle for the fifth seat in the Donegal constituency looks likely to go down to the wire.
With Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty and Pádraig MacLochlainn set to pass the quota on the first count, one outgoing TD will lose a seat.
Tallies show that only about 800 votes separate three outgoing TDs: Joe McHugh (FG), Charlie McConalogue (FF) and Pat ‘the Cope’ Gallagher.
Outgoing independent TD Thomas Pringle is lagging about 2,000 votes behind Gallagher, who is just behind McHugh.
Transfers from the two Sinn Féin TDs will be key and whoever is the most transfer-friendly will return to the Dáil.
Despite being so far behind on first preferences, there is optimism in Pringle’s camp that the independent can draw enough transfers to return to the Dáil.
The Killybegs candidate’s director of elections, former county councillor John Campbell, said the initial picture has been distorted by the large surplus the two Sinn Féin candidates will transfer.
As well as transfers from Sinn Féin, Pringle can expect votes from the Green Party candidate Michael White who tallied at 1,646 first preferences, he said.
“I don’t think you’ll get a real read on the five seats until their surpluses are distributed,” he said.
“At that stage, the next three will be in pole position to take the three seats,” he said. “If we are in sixth place and within 500 votes (of the fifth-placed candidate), I think Thomas will have a good showing from the eliminations and the transfers, which he has always done across all parties.”
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