First count results due in from Kerry constituency

The result of the first count of votes in Kerry in the Presidential election is due around now. (6pm)

There’s been a 45% turnout of eligible voters in the election with a slightly smaller turnout expected in the blasphemy referendum.

Based on tallies, it’s projected that Michael D Higgins will top the poll with around 50% of votes followed by businessman Peter Casey with 27%.

Kerry was the first county council to support Mr Casey’s bid to contest the Presidential election.

Returning officer Pádraig Burke says 45% of a total electorate of 111,777 voted in the election, with a similar, if smaller number, expected to have cast their ballot in the blasphemy referendum.

No count of the referendum will begin until the presidential count is completed.

The 45% turnout compares to around 51% of the electorate who voted in the old Kerry North West Limerick constituency at the last Presidential election in 2011.

In a first, political parties did not tally votes today but journalists carried out a tally of around 17% of the total number of 213 boxes, which included the postal vote.

That tally, which comes with a health warning, shows Michael D Higgins has 50.2% of the vote, Peter Casey with 27.4%, Sinn Féin’s Liadh Ni Riada on 8.3%, Joan Freeman on 6.3%, Sean Gallagher 5.5% and Gavin Duffy on 2.1%.

If these figures are correct, President Higgins has increased his percentage of support in Kerry from the last election in 2011. Then he received almost 38% of first preferences in the old Kerry North West Limerick constituency and almost 37% in the former Kerry South.

The tally of 8.3% first preferences for Liadh Ní Riada, if accurate, is disappointing for Sinn Féin given that in 2011, the party’s candidate, the late Martin McGuinness polled 16.8% in Kerry North West Limerick and 14.9% in Kerry South.

Seán Gallagher came second in both Kerry constituencies in 2011 with around 30% of first preferences but based on this tally, will be competing with Joan Freeman to finish fourth in the vote in Kerry.