(Vatican Radio) Counting in the Republic of Ireland's General election is underway following Friday’s poll.
An exit poll commissioned by the Irish Times newspaper suggests the Coalition parties have fallen far short of an overall majority but Fine Gael remains the largest party at 26%.
Ireland's uneven recovery was the focus in the election in which voters punished the government for years of austerity despite warnings that political instability might damage a growing recovery.
The early indications are that there was a turnout of about 66%.
Fr Sean Healy is Director of Dublin based think tank Social Justice Ireland. He spoke to Vatican Radio’s Lydia O’Kane about the election and the country’s economic stability.
Speaking about the prospect of forming a new government Fr Healy said, "there will be no clear result in the days following the election when the results are known... There's going to be a lot of independents elected aswell who are not tied to any political party. Now there's quite a number of those in the current parliament but there'll be a substantial increase in the new one. So, I think we'll have a situation that will take a bit of time to work out..."
Regarding the country's economic recovery Fr Healy points out that, "this is the first election after the recovery has kicked in and one of the things their seeing in it that is annoying them is that the recovery is not being felt by low to middle income people at all. People on higher incomes are doing very well over the recovery, people on low to middle incomes are not and that is actually one of the issues at the core of this election..."