Pat Buckley, Sinn Fein celebrating with his supporters after he was elected to the Cork East constituency on the first count, at the general election count of the Cork East constituency at the Mallow GAA Complex. (Picture: David Keane)

Late on Saturday night, a nationwide exit poll was released. It pointed towards a seismic realignment in Irish politics.

For the first time, the traditional hold of the two-party system had been significantly loosened and Sinn Féin had forced its way into the ‘big party’ group. 

Across the country its candidates topped polls, hauling in astonishing first preference votes. 

The constituency of Cork East did not buck that night’s trend, and Sinn Féin’s candidate Pat Buckley was elected on the first count, with 12,587 first preference votes. 

Full story in this week’s Print & Digital Edition