Early indications suggest Clare voters have voted in huge numbers for outgoing president Michael D Higgins with independent candidate Peter Casey finishing very strongly in second place.
The former Dragon’s Den star is well ahead of the chasing pack with Joan Freeman likely to finish third while Sinn Féin’s Liadh ni Riadha and Séan Gallagher are neck-in-neck.
It looks highly likely that Gavin Duffy will finished last in the race. This early indications in the Banner County are largely in line with the RTE exit poll.
According to a tally of most of the boxes from Corofin National School, President Higgins was a runaway winner with 127 first preferences,
Peter Casey finished way ahead of the others with 55 votes, Joan Freeman got 16, Liadh ni Riada 11 and Gavin Duffy 1.
Michael D Higgins continues to top the poll in the most recent boxes that have been counted in Clare. In most areas the outgoing president is polling in the region of 50% just slightly less than the RTE exit poll, which put him on 55%.
Peter Casey continues to be way ahead of the chasing pack and is polling between 17% and as high as 29% in some boxes.
In a tally of one unidentified box, Michael D Higgins got 140 first preferences out of a total of 292 leaving him with 47%; Peter Casey got 85; Liadh Ni Riada 25; Séan Gallagher 22; Joan Freeman 15 and Gavin Duffy 5.
According to a tally of one box from St Tola’s National School in Shannon, which is located a short distance from where President Higgins was reared in Ballycar he won 113 first preferences or 50% of the vote while Peter Casey got 39 or 17%.
Liadh ni Riadha got 30 first preference votes, which would be expected as Shannon has a large number of Sinn Féin voters. Joan Freeman got 20 first preferences, Séan Gallagher 10 and Gavin Duffy 1.
Another tally from a box in Carrigaholt showed Peter Casey finishing a close second to President Higgins with 32 compared to 43 first preferences; Liadh Ni Riadha and Séan Gallagher got
10 apiece; Joan Freeman 10 and Gavin Duffy three.
President Higgins secured 51% of the first preference votes from a box in Bodyke National School winning 110; Peter Casey got 57; Joan Freeman 20; Liadh Ni Riadha 19 and Gavin Duffy 2.