Ireland elections: IRA-linked party at historic high in exit poll

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"We are ready for government", he said.

Sinn Fein has put forward too few candidates to capitalise, as the groundswell of support caught the party itself off guard after it sunk to 9 per cent at local elections past year.

In the tallies he received a higher percentage of first preference votes (23.7%) than Fianna Fail's four candidates combined (22.6%).

Of the three, Fine Gael looks like being the big loser, with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's party set to ship several seats.

"I don't think I'm fluent now but I definitely was".

In a result emblematic of the Sinn Fein surge, the first seat declared in the election was the party's Donnchadh O Laoghaire, who topped the poll in Cork South Central ahead of Mr Martin.

"It's something of a revolution in the ballot box".

Under this scenario, the party that wins the largest number of seats in the Dail will have to seek support from others until they can beat the simple majority target to form the government.

Both Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have insisted for years that they would not govern with Sinn Fein, citing differing economic policies and its past links to the IRA.

"But let's be in no doubt that those policy difficulties and those principles are still hard hurdles".

"I say what I mean and I mean what I say", he said Monday.

But although Varadkar reiterated his rejection because of "principle and policy", Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin declined to repeat earlier refusals to consider a coalition with Sinn Fein, saying only that there were significant incompatibilities on policy.

New North American trade deal travelling through Parliament unhindered
Linebarger said the major agreement will establish a firm foundation for economic growth in all three countries. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, openly pushed for the provision, which includes $300 million in funding for the U.S.

"I know other people are talking about that. I respect the decision of the people", he told Irish broadcaster RTE.

It took the parties 10 weeks to form a government in 2016.

While Varadkar led the referendum campaign for the government and, as Ireland's first gay prime minister, is seen overseas as a symbol of change, McDonald may be the main beneficiary of the recent sweeping social changes in the once staunchly Catholic country.

"The Troubles" saw the IRA wage a campaign against unionist counterparts and British security forces over UK-rule in Northern Ireland that saw more than 3,000 killed on all sides.

Meanwhile, real estate stocks such as Irish Residential Properties IRES.I and Glenveagh Properties GLV.I also took a beating on Sinn Fein's housing policies that include abolishing the "Help-to-Buy" scheme and imposing a rent freeze.

"This is certainly an election that is historic... this is changing the shape and the mould of Irish politics". But the party is now attracting voters with left-wing proposals for tackling Ireland's housing crisis and bolstering the nation's creaking health-care system.

"It's a direct analogue to the left-wing populism that you see in Greece and in Spain", O'Malley said.

It is a shakedown that could benefit Sinn Fein indirectly, if its surpluses boost the numbers of potential left wing partners in government. "It is classic populism".

He plumped for an early election after successfully helping to broker a deal cushioning Britain's European Union exit on January 31 by avoiding a hard border with Northern Ireland.

"The government handled the Brexit as good as could be done, but that's over". But Brexit featured little in an election campaign dominated by domestic problems.

In its election manifesto Sinn Fein said it would establish a parliamentary committee and citizens assembly to plan for Irish unity and Ms McDonald said she believed there would be a border poll within five years.

"Our word is our bond", Fianna Fail lawmaker Jack Chambers said.

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