Fianna Fáil edges out Sinn Féin and Fine Gael to win most seats as election results are confirmed

Fianna Fáil edges out Sinn Féin and Fine Gael to win most seats as election results are confirmed

IT'S been a tumultuous few days for all three major parties in Ireland, but as the dust finally settles on Saturday's general election, Fianna Fáil have emerged with the most seats.

They'll be the biggest party in the 33rd Dáil after the duo of Brendan Smith and Niamh Smyth secured the final two seats last night.

It brought the party to 38 seats, one more than Sinn Féin, and three more than Fine Gael.

Sinn Féin, who topped the poll in most areas, and Fianna Fáil each had 37 TDs elected but as Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl was automatically returned, FF will be the top party when the Dáil resumes.

DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 10: Mary Lou McDonald, President of Sinn Fein greets supporters in Dublin City Centre on February 10, 2020 in Dublin, Ireland.

Elsewhere, the Green party took 12 seats, Labour and the Social Democrats took six each, Solidarity-People Before Profit took five seats and 21 were taken by independents.

The parties will now be locked in negotiations in order to work out how to get to the magic number of 80 for a Dáil majority.

Despite failing to secure the most seats, the real winners of the election were Sinn Féin, who took everybody (but the electorate it seems) by surprise by breaking Ireland's long-standing two-party system, and winning the popular vote.

In fact, they may have won more seats had they fielded more candidates in anticipation of such a good result.

Shortly before counting finished, Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald brazenly predicted that she just might become Ireland's next leader.

"I may well be the next taoiseach, yes," she told reporters triumphantly in Dublin on Monday.

She later told the media: "I think it would be a mighty thing to have a Sinn Féin taoiseach and also a woman perhaps in the job but you might say 'she would say that wouldn’t she?'"