Talks on the formation of a government could be delayed for several weeks because of a deferment of the general election vote in Tipperary following the sudden death of independent candidate Marese Skehan.

While the rest of Ireland will vote on Saturday, the Tipperary constituency vote has been put back for a number of weeks because of Monday’s sudden death of independent candidate Marese Skehan at her home in Thurles.

Constituency returning officer James Seymour postponed the poll as required under the 1992 Electoral Act.

Following directions on a new election date which could be up to three weeks away, new nominations for candidates will close next Tuesday. 

Read more: Historic poll results sees Sinn Féin surge ahead

Seymour said about 800 ballot papers had already been returned from nursing homes and hospitals, as well as about 700 postal votes.  These are in sealed boxes and will now have to be disposed of, pending a fresh election.

Because of the delay, people in the Tipperary constituency could have an unprecedented influence over the make-up of the next government.

Latest opinion polls have given Fianna Fail hopes of taking two seats in the five-seat constituency. Independents, Fianna Fail and Mattie McGrath seem set to be returned to the Dail.  Labour’s Alan Kelly is also tipped to be returned to the Dail.

Fine Gael, without any representation, are desperate to win one seat after losing two in 2016 when the county was unified into one constituency.

Depending on how close the election will be in the rest of the country, there could be a long wait for Tipperary to be the deciding factor.

Read more: Minor matters - A brief history of Ireland's smaller political parties

Tipperary independent candidate Marese Skehan passed away suddenly.Twitter / jackiecahillff