Stephen Donnelly: Ireland has used #GE16 to reject civil war politics

Exit polls suggest that the Social Democrats have had a stronger than expected election...

Social Democrat co-leader Stephen Donnelly says that Irish voters have shown that they want "something different" as all data suggests that the electorate has turned away from the Coalition parties.

"We fought with pretty much no money," Mr Donnelly reflected as Trinity College's Michael Marsh projected that the party could secure seven seats based on RTE exit poll data.

This is the "magic number" for Ireland's smaller parties as it ensures full speaking rights in the Dail.

When it was put to him that this projection could overstate the party's gains, he conceded that this is true and that the Social Democrat's primary objective is to build on the three seats that it had before the election.

Mr Donnelly says that the public is rejecting "civil war politics" while he maintained the party is not interested in taking part of a coalition which would maintain the "status quo" in Irish politics.

He added that the fragmented nature of today's results could leave Ireland with a minority Government and a "stronger parliament" where more voices will have to be taken into account when decisions are being made.

An exit poll published this morning by RTE shows Fine Gael and Labour well short of a majority, in line with last night's exit poll published by the Irish Times.

The poll puts Fine Gael support at 24.8%, down from 36.1% from the 2011 election. The Labour Party receives 7.1%, compared to 19.5% in 2011.

That means support for the Coalition has dropped from 55.6% in 2011 to 31.9%.

On the other hand, after a successful campaign from Fianna Fáil and their leader Micheal Martin, support for their party is to 21.1%, up from 17%.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin stands at 16%, up from 10%.

The poll shows one-third of voters chose independents or smaller parties.

Independent candidates receive 11% support; while the AAA-PBP stands at 4.7%, Social Democrats at 3.7%, Green Party at 3.6%, Independent Alliance at 3%, Renua at 2.4% and Others at 2.6%.

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