Crowley and Ní Riada over the line in South
Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin candidates elected MEPs
Brian Crowley: “I wanted to go the last time for the presidency but I didn’t get that chance.” Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
Fianna Fáil’s Brian Crowley and Sinn Féin’s Liadh Ní Riada were elected as MEPs for Ireland South yesterday. Mr Crowley exceeded the quota on the first count, while Ms Ní Riada was elected on the fourth.
Mr Crowley’s vote of 180,329 – some 27.42 per cent of first preferences – left him 48,829 votes over the quota of 131,500 in the expanded four seat constituency. The news was greeted with loud cheers by his supporters at the count centre in the Nemo Rangers GAA complex in Cork city.
Some nine hours later, he was joined by Ms Ní Riada when, she picked up 1,750 transfers from Direct Democracy Ireland’s Jan Van de Ven, to put her over the quota with some 1,090 votes to spare.
The Sinn Féin win was greeted with a chorus of “We’re on the one road” with Ms Ní Riada hoisted shoulder high to wave a Tricolour before her supporters from Cuil Aodha in the Múscraí Gaeltacht broke into a stirring rendition of her late father Seán’s reworking of the Jacobite lament Mo Ghile Mear.
“I feel very proud as a Sinn Féin republican on this day which is a historic day for this constituency. This result tonight has been achieved with the help of all my party colleagues, family and people on the ground. It really has been a terrific occasion for Sinn Féin,” she said.
Earlier Mr Crowley paid tribute to all those who had assisted in his campaign before revealing that he still harboured ambitions to run for the presidency and believed his performance in Ireland South augured well for any presidential bid.
“Personally I was very humbled so many people put their trust in me – this election was certainly a good dry run to know what it’s like to run a campaign on that scale but who knows what’s going to happen in the future – I wanted to go the last time for the presidency but I didn’t get that chance.
“I suppose this result does prove that my vote isn’t just a Munster vote because four counties of Leinster have come in where nobody knew me previously and it would appear I got a good vote there too, but we’ll have to wait and see,” he said.
Among the other candidates, sitting Fine Gael MEP, Seán Kelly polled a creditable 83,520 or 12.7 per cent to put him in a comfortable position for the third seat but there was some surprise at the strong showing of Fine Gael TD, Simon Harris who outpolled running mate, Senator Deirdre Clune.
Mr Harris took 51,483 first preferences – 7.83 per cent of the vote – compared to 47,353 for Ms Clune – 7.21 per cent – and although Ms Clune narrowed the gap with 4,397 transfers from Mr Crowley, compared to 2,429 for Mr Harris, the destination of the final seat appears likely to go down to the wire.
Among the others in contention were Independent Diarmaid O’Flynn of Burn the Bondholders who led a chasing pack with 30,320 first preferences.
This was marginally ahead of sitting Labour MEP, Phil Prendergast on 30,313 – both representing 4.61 per cent of the first preference. For Fianna Fáil, Waterford based Kieran Hartley took 29,987 or 4.56 per cent with Grace O’Sullivan of the Greens on 27,860 or 4.23 per cent in an election which saw a turnout of 55 per cent or 679,296 from among the electorate of 1,221,683.
Mr Hartley gained a whopping 20,362 transfers from Mr Crowley’s surplus to bring him to 50,349, but it was unlikely to put him in contention for the final seat which should go to either Mr Harris or Ms Clune, without either reaching the quota.