Michael D Higgins tops the poll in Clare

Michael D Higgins tops the poll in Clare


Separation of Presidential Election and Referendum votes took several hours.

President Michael D Higgins will serve a second term in the Phoenix Park following his comprehensive win in the 2018 Presidential Election while he also topped the poll in Co Clare.

Counting got underway at the Auburn Lodge Hotel in Ennis at 9.00am today with the first task for the 50 counters being to separate the Presidential Election and Blasphemy Referendum ballot papers.

While there were no official tallies, a random sample of boxes indicated early on that the current President was set to top the poll while fellow candidate Peter Casey polled very strongly in many areas.

In one box from Connolly, Mr Casey received 42% of the 223 votes cast while President Higgins took 47.5% of the first preference votes.

Given his own strong links with Clare, having been raised in Ballycar and educated in Ballycar and Ennis, Michael D Higgins polled well in many parts of the county.

In one box from Sixmilebridge, the incumbent secured 66.2% of the vote with Peter Casey taking 21.5%. From the same box, Gavin Duffy received 2%; Joan Freeman (3.3%); Seán Gallagher (3.6%) and Liadh Ní Riada (3.3%).

In another box from the Drumbiggle area of Ennis, Michael D Higgins received 55.1% first preference votes.

By 2.00pm, separation of the ballot papers was completed allowing sorting of the Presidential ballots to commence. Counting of the papers for the Presidential Election commenced at around 2.30pm.

Returning Officer for the Clare Constituency, Patrick Wallace, confirmed the results of the vote at 5.15pm. He confirmed:

Electorate 83,044

Total Poll 41,871

Spoiled Votes 449

Total Valid Poll 41,422

First Count

Casey, Peter – 11722 – 28.3%

Duffy, Gavin – 617 – 1.5%

Freeman, Joan – 1969 – 4.75%

Gallagher, Seán – 2289 – 5.52%

Higgins, Michael D. – 22639 – 54.65%

Ní Riada, Liadh – 2186 – 5.3%

Meanwhile, the result of the Blasphemy Referendum, although completed several hours ago, was only confirmed and announced at 9.35pm.

The final result was:
Electorate 83,044
Total Poll 41,776
Spoiled Votes 755
Valid Poll 41,021
Yes – 25386 – 61.89%
No – 15635 – 38.11%


Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.