Fianna Fáil has retained its status as Ireland's largest party in local government following the local elections that were held last Friday, June 7.

The process of counting the votes in Ireland's local elections concluded on Wednesday, June 12, four days after counting began on Saturday and five days after the people of Ireland went to the polls.

Ireland uses Proportional Representation – Single Transferable Vote (PR-STV) in its elections where voters can choose to vote for as many, or as few candidates as they like, in order of their preference.

While a voter’s first preference is always counted, second and further preferences are often counted and have the ability to determine the results of an election.

Ireland's final three candidates were elected in the Newbridge Local Electoral Area (LEA) in Co Kildare on Wednesday - Noel Heavey and Rob Power of Fianna Fáil and Independent Tom McDonnell were the final candidates elected.

According to RTÉ News, there was a turnout of 49.4% in Ireland's local elections this year.

Results of Ireland's 2024 local elections:

  • Fianna Fáil - 248 seats (22.9% of first preference votes)
  • Fine Gael - 245 seats (23% of first preference votes)
  • Independent - 186 seats (20.9% of first preference votes)
  • Sinn Féin - 102 seats (11.8% of first preference votes)
  • Labour - 56 seats (5.3% of first preference votes)
  • Social Democrats - 35 seats (3.4% of first preference votes)
  • Other - 33 seats (5.5% of first preference votes)
  • Green Party - 23 seats (3.6.% of first preference votes) 
  • People Before Profit / Solidarity - 13 seats (1.5% of first preference votes)
  • Aontú - 8 seats (2.1% of first preference votes)

While Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael won the most seats in Ireland’s 2024 local elections, both parties lost seats from the last local elections in 2019.

And while Sinn Féin - which is currently Ireland's largest opposition party - won more seats than it did in 2019, the party's overall performance has been deemed 'disappointing' after opinion polls in recent months showed Mary Lou McDonald's party in the lead.

On Sunday, before counting was complete, McDonald told RTÉ News: "Obviously we are disappointed that we didn't manage to get more of them elected.

"We have made some gains - they are modest, but they are there. It hasn't been our day.

"Clearly, frustrations - anger, indeed - with government policy in this occasion has translated into votes for Independents and Others."

On Thursday when counting was complete, Tanaiste Micheál Martin, the head of Fianna Fáil, thanked the candidates:

I just want to take the opportunity to thank all of our Fianna Fáil candidates who contested the Local Elections. Fianna Fáil remains the largest party in local government because of the efforts of so many of you the length and breadth of our country, embedded in our communities.

— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) June 12, 2024

With Fianna Fáil - who is currently in coalition with Fine Gael and the Green Party in national government - remaining the largest party at the local level, speculation has now risen as to when a general election will be called.

As per Irish law, the same Dáil shall not continue for longer than five years from the date of its first meeting. As such, the current 33rd Dáil must be dissolved by the President of Ireland at the request of the Taoiseach no later than February 19, 2025, and a general election must be called by March 22, 2025.

Meanwhile, counting continues for Ireland's European Parliament elections, which were also held on Friday, though counting began on Sunday.

As of Wednesday evening, five of Ireland's 14 seats in the European Parliament had been filled - Fine Gael has won two seats, while Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, and Labour won one each.

And in Co Limerick, John Moran, an Independent, has become Ireland’s first-ever directly elected Mayor.