According to an Ireland Thinks projection for the Sunday Independent, Sinn Féin is poised to secure 67 seats, making it the dominant force in the expanded Dáil. However, forming a government may hinge on collaboration with Fianna Fáil.
Sinn Féin’s Surge:
A meticulous analysis combining opinion polls and historical election data indicates that Mary Lou McDonald’s party is anticipated to nearly double its TDs in the upcoming election, expected in 2024 or early 2025.
Despite this surge, Sinn Féin is projected to fall short of the 87-seat threshold required to independently govern in the now 174-seat Dáil. Smaller parties, facing potential seat losses due to recent Electoral Commission constituency changes, seem unlikely partners for a coalition.
Fianna Fáil’s Crucial Role:
Fianna Fáil emerges as a key player, holding the potential to form a majority government in partnership with Sinn Féin. However, Fianna Fáil, even in collaboration with Fine Gael, may struggle to secure a two-party government with their projected combined 75 seats.
Fianna Fáil TD Éamon Ó Cuív expresses a preference for a republican government if Fianna Fáil assumes the role of the largest party, casting uncertainty on a Sinn Féin-Fianna Fáil coalition.
The Ireland Thinks projection details the party-wise seat distribution, highlighting the Green Party at one TD, Labour at three, Solidarity-PBP at three, Aontú at one, and 15 Independent TDs, with the Social Democrats anticipated to win nine Dáil seats.
The latest poll numbers reveal Sinn Féin at 33% (-1), Fine Gael at 21% (+2), Fianna Fáil at 18% (no change), Social Democrats at 6% (+1), Greens at 2% (-3), Labour at 3% (+1), Solidarity-PBP at 3% (no change), Aontú at 2% (no change), and Independents/Other at 10% (-1).
Note: This analysis relies on Ireland Thinks’ statistical model, mapping the historical relationship between parties’ vote share and seat share in Irish elections.