2010 Donegal South-West by-election

A by-election was held in the Dáil Éireann Donegal South-West constituency in Ireland on Thursday 25 November 2010, following the election of Fianna Fáil TD Pat "the Cope" Gallagher to the European Parliament at the June 2009 election. Most voters cast their ballots on 25 November 2010;[1][2] 754 voters on offshore islands (Arranmore, Tory, Inishbofin, Gola, and Inishfree) were entitled to cast their ballots on 22 November.[3]

2010 Donegal South-West by-election

 2007 general election 25 November 2010 2011 general election 
Turnout34,424 (57.4%)
Nominee Pearse Doherty Barry O'Neill Brian Ó Domhnaill
Party Sinn Féin Fine Gael Fianna Fáil
First preferences 13,719 6,424 7,344
Percentage 39.85 18.66 21.33
Final count 16,897 8,182 8,069

Nominee Thomas Pringle Frank McBrearty Jnr Anne Sweeney
Party Independent Labour Independent
First preferences 3,438 3,366 133
Percentage 9.99 9.78 0.39
Final count

Donegal South-West shown within Ireland

TD before election

Pat "the Cope" Gallagher
Fianna Fáil

Elected TD

Pearse Doherty
Sinn Féin

The government through a vote in Dáil Éireann decides when by-elections for seats in the lower house are called. Possessing a small majority in the Dáil, the government had delayed in calling this by-election. While there is no specific legal requirement on when to hold a by-election in Ireland, they are generally held within six months of a vacancy occurring.[4] The 17-month gap between the seat becoming vacant and the writ being moved is the longest in the history of the state.[5]

Sinn Féin senator Pearse Doherty was elected on the fourth count.[6]