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Conway-Walsh and Ring set to be elected on first count

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COUNTING DUTY Staff at the count centre in the TF Royal Theatre conducting the first count for the Mayo constituency. 

Anton McNulty

The Sinn Féin surge which dominated the General Election campaign is set to elect the Erris-based Senator Rose Conway-Walsh.
According to final tallies Conway-Walsh has polled 23 percent of the vote in the Mayo constituency.
The quota is expected to be in just shy of 13,000 votes and with the tally figures putting her on 14,387 she is expected to exceed the quota and be elected on the first count.
Her performance in the General Election has been the talk of the count centre in Castlebar and the Ballycroy native is set to become the first Sinn Féin elected in Mayo in almost 100 years.
However, according to the final tallies, she will be beaten to top spot by current Minister for Community and Rural Development, Michael Ring who the tally figures have on 14,488 votes and will also expected to be elected on the first count .This will be a milestone for Ring who, despite being a phenomenal vote getter since entering the Dáil in 1994, has never been elected on the first count.
The Westport-based Minister had been trailing Conway-Walsh in the tallies for most of the morning but when the Westport boxes were opened, Ring received a 48 percent share of these boxes to take a slender lead.
Fianna Fáil deputy leader, Dara Calleary is also expected to follow them into the Dáil with a 14 percent share of the vote. He polled 9,068 and should be enough to see him elected even if he does not reach the quota.
The real battle in the constituency will be for the fourth and final seat with outgoing TD Lisa Chambers and the Fine Gael duo of Alan Dillon and Michelle Mulherin all in the running.
Fianna Fáil Brexit spokesperson, Lisa Chambers is currently in poll position with 6,352 votes, over 1,000 votes ahead of former Fine Gael TD Michelle Mulherin on 5,346 and 1,243 ahead of Alan Dillon on 5,109.
Green Party candidate Saoirse McHugh polled 4,041 votes and while it does not put her out of the running, she will need transfers to go her way to bring her back into the contest.
Boxes opened at 9am at the TF Royal Theatre with the Castlebar boxes the first to be opened and it was clear from early on that the Sinn Féin surge had made its way to Mayo. According to Fine Gael tallies Conway-Walsh took almost 20 percent of the vote in Castlebar with less than 1 percent between her and Alan Dillon who was on 20.33 percent.
Dillon, who is running in his first-ever election, will have mixed emotions with his vote in Castlebar. He outpolled Fianna Fáil rival Lisa Chambers but Michael Ring taking 18 percent of the vote in Castlebar could be crucial if Dillon fails to take a seat.
The battle for the final seat will likely come down to transfers and where Ring's and Conway-Walsh's surplus goes after they are distributed. Fine Gael will be hoping the bulk of Ring's vote will go to Dillon and Mulherin and hope it will be enough to take them above Chambers.
Of the rest of the candidates, Aontú's Paul Lawless will be pleased with his performance having obtained 4 percent of the vote with 2,789 votes. People Before Profit candidate, Joe Daly will be disappointed to receive just 1 percent while the remaining six candidates received less than 1 percent.
The official result of the first count is expected to be around 5pm this evening.