GE2020 Results - ‘End of Tweedledum and Tweedledee’

By Maurice Garvey

A TRULY historic election for Dublin South Central with all four seats won by left-leaning candidates – one candidate each from Sinn Fein, Solidarity – People Before Profit, Green Party and Independents 4 Change.

It means for the first time that there is no Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael TD in the ‘People’s Republic of South Central.’

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Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Sinn Féin, celebrates topping the poll and retaining his seat in Dublin South Central

Outgoing Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh was expected to top the poll here, but he absolutely blitzed it, almost doubling the quota of 8,659 with 17,015 first preference votes.

First elected to South Central in 2002 with 5,591 votes, Ó Snodaigh posted a 39.3 per cent share in GE 2020, one of the best in the country, while his first preference votes almost tripled since GE 2016.

Arriving triumphantly to the RDS shortly after noon on Sunday, an emotional Ó Snodaigh was visibly moved by the support he received and expressed his preference for a “left Dáil grouping.”

Transfers from Sinn Féin helped numerous left-leaning candidates throughout the country, their canvassing mantra on the doors for people to ‘vote left and keep voting left’ resonated with the public.

This was certainly true in South Central with Ó Snodaigh’s transfers a major boost for outgoing TDs Brid Smith (PBP) and Joan Collins (I4C).

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Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald speaking at the RDS

Early on Sunday it was a five-way tie for the remaining three seats, with, in order of first preference votes – Minister of State and outgoing TD Catherine Byrne (FG, 5,078), Catherine Ardagh (FF, 4,782), Brid Smith (4,753), Patrick Costello (Greens, 4,041) and Joan Collins (2,831).

Safe in the knowledge that early tallies would improve her 11 per cent share, Smith was in good form after arriving in the RDS.

In 2016, she endured a nervy four-day recount with just 35 votes separating Smith and Catherine Ardagh (FF), so the uncertainty of an election was never far from her mind.

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Joan Collins after her election on the sixth count

The second count put all that to bed when Smith received 4,794 transfers from Ó Snodaigh, pushing her past the quota with a total of 9,547 votes.

Smith said the “very historic day” was an indication that the people were fed up with “Tweedledum and Tweedledee”, a reference to the FG/FF power-share structure, and that “this was the time to see them off.”

By count 3, it was very tight between Byrne, Collins and Ardagh, with Costello not far behind.

Late on Sunday, tallies suggested Costello and Collins might edge it, shortly before counting was suspended until the following morning.

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Brid Smith was delighted to secure a seat on the second count in the RDS on Sunday

On Monday, Labour and Social Democrat transfers propelled Costello into third place, and also boosted Collins.

Byrne and Ardagh simply failed to get enough transfers, and Collins held off the former FG Minister of State by less than 400 votes to secure her re-election to the Dáil.

Turnout was 55 per cent – lower than the 58 per cent in 2016 – but the end result is a seismic shift in the political dynamics of Dublin South Central.


Seats: 4. Turnout: 55.1 per cent. Electorate: 79,460. Quota: 8,659. Valid Votes: 43,291. Spoiled Votes: 515


  • Aengus Ó Snodaigh (SF) – elected Count 1 with 17,015 votes – 39.3 per cent first preference share
  • Brid Smith (Sol–PBP) – elected Count 2 with 9,547 votes – 11 per cent first preference share
  • Patrick Costello (Greens) – elected
  • Count 6 with 8,582 votes – 9.3 per cent first preference share
  • Joan Collins (I4C) – elected Count 6 with 7,807 votes – 6.5 per cent first preference share
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