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Opinion polls suggest that Sinn Fein is on course to challenge the 90-year duopoly of the state's two main parties, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.

Surging support for Sinn Fein, which is committed to the reunification of Ireland, threatens the country's political equilibrium even though the party is unlikely to form the next government because both Fine Gael and Fianna Fail refuse to work with it.

Before getting the results, here is a selection of the best pictures from this voting day.

Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar is facing a hard battle to hang on to power, with recent polls putting his party in third place.

Members of the public arrive to cast their votes at St Anthonys boys school in Ballinlough, Cork.

A man enters a Polling Station in Athy, Co Kildare as polls open for the Irish General Election.

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A member of the public fills out their ballot paper in a booth in a Polling Station in Dublin.

In Monday's final opinion poll, Sinn Fein were in front on 25 percent, with Fianna Fail on 23 percent and Fine Gael on 20 percent.

Under this scenario, the party that wins the largest number of seats in the Dail will have to seek support from others until they can beat the simple majority target to form the government.

However, the odds would still be stacked against party leader Mary Lou McDonald leading the next government as Taoiseach.

Despite his leadership in the opinion poll, Sinn Fein, who wants to unite Northern Ireland with the Republic, is only presenting 42 candidates and can not form a majority government, even if everyone wins.

With three parties vying for the top spot in today's election, no single group is expected to gain enough seats to govern alone, and a coalition of some kind is nearly inevitable.

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Both Varadkar and Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin, a 59-year-old former teacher, are convinced that they will not form a coalition with Sinn Fein.

"They want a change in representation and they want a change in government".

However, Brexit did not feature prominently in a campaign that was instead dominated by domestic issues such as spiralling rental prices, record-breaking homeless numbers, controversy over the state pension age and a struggling health service. Ireland's current Fine Gael government has been sustained by a confidence and supply agreement with Fianna Fail - but Saturday's results could possibly see that situation flipped.

That landmark pact between two parties founded from opposing sides of Ireland's civil war of the 1920s took 70 days to negotiate following the inconclusive 2016 General Election.

The willingness of smaller parties such as Labour and the Greens to become a junior coalition partner could prove critical.

Fine Gael's traditional rival Fianna Fail was the main party in government when Ireland experienced an economic collapse over a decade ago.

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