European elections: Wallace passes out Kelleher in South constituency

Dublin: Daly on way to Brussels after securing third seat, leaving Andrews in ‘cold storage’ until Brexit

The European Parliament Election count for Dublin has concluded with Independents For Change candidate Clare Daly taking the third seat while Barry Andrews won the final seat. Video: Bryan O’Brien

 

Independent TD Mick Wallace could secure the second seat in the five-seater Ireland South constituency ahead of Fianna Fáil TD Billy Kelleher.

Sitting Fine Gael MEP and former GAA president Seán Kelly has already been elected, describing his poll-topping performance as “probably the greatest moment of my political career”.

As the distribution of transfers continues, Mr Wallace had 88,759 votes by the 13th count. Mr Kelleher was on 87,964.

Mr Wallace said that he was “amazed” at the reception he received on the doors had translated in to votes. He believed his “talking straight” persona resonated with voters.

Mr Wallace admitted he was not very familiar with the transfer system, having only been in count centres for his previous elections for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, sitting Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada and Green Party Senator Grace O’Sullivan are in fourth and fifth place, with 83,891 and 80,708 votes respectively.

They are followed by Fianna Fáil’s Cllr Malcolm Byrne on 72,853 and sitting Fine Gael MEP Deirdre Clune on 67,896.

It is expected that the Ireland South Election will conclude in the early hours of Thursday morning at the earliest.

Kelly received 119,444 first preference votes but had to wait an excruciating 24 hours to cross the finish line from the announcement of the first count results.

Dublin

Meanwhile, Independents 4 Change TD Clare Daly and Fianna Fáil’s Barry Andrews have taken the final two MEP seats in Dublin.

Ms Daly secured the third seat on Tuesday with a final total of 87,770 votes and Mr Andrews the fourth seat with 68,952.

Green Party candidate Ciaran Cuffe and Fine Gael’s Frances Fitzgerald took the first and second seats respectively on Monday.

Sinn Féin’s Lynn Boylan was eliminated from the Dublin European Parliament constituency after the 15th count.

Ms Daly said she was “gobsmacked” by the response she received “from every corner of this city”.

In a speech in the RDS after her election, she said: “I want to assure those people, many of whom are hurting and let badly down by our political system, that I intended to use the voice in Europe as I have used the voice in Dublin Fingal to be an advocate, a speaker-out for change and to rattle the cages of those in authority.”

She said her team had conducted their campaign on a “shoe-string budget, with a raggle-taggle mob of Independents 4 Change staff.”

Ms Daly also paid tribute to Ms Boylan, describing her as an “exceptionally good” MEP.

“I’m very sorry to lose her, I’m very glad to see that transfers amongst the left carry through on this election, it is the way of the future. We will face that in a general election, which I hope will be very soon.”

Following a row marked by the suspension of the count on Monday night, it was decided to distribute Ms Boylan’s votes instead of automatically electing the remaining two candidates.

This was done in order to determine who would take the third seat and the fourth seat.

This is important because the fourth seat is effectively in limbo due to the Brexit impasse, and Mr Andrews will not able to take it until the UK leaves the European Union.

Meanwhile, Mr Andrews, who took the fourth seat, said it was satisfying that a Fianna Fáil MEP would be returned for Dublin, adding that he would consider what to do for the next few months until the UK leaves the EU.

“I see Brexit as a disaster for this island. You don’t have to study it to understand what a negative impact it will have. But if Brexit does happen I’m ready to serve in the European Parliament.”

He said he understood there were more than 50 MEPs across the EU in a similar situation to his. Mr Andrews said there was confusion around how the electoral counts would work for those in “cold-storage” and said it was time for an electoral commission.

Midlands North West

In Midlands North West, there is still no sign of a second MEP being elected. Independent MEP Luke Ming Flanagan was the closest to the finish line with 90,187 after count eight, followed by Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy on 81,544 and Fine Gael’s Maria Walsh on 72,265.

Peter Casey took 1,124 transfers on the eighth count and on 60,759 remained ahead of the Green Party’s Saoirse McHugh, with 55,455.

They were trailed by Fianna Fáil pair Brendan Smith, with 44,836, and Anne Rabbitte, with 32,041.

Independent Fidelma Healy Eames faced elimination on the ninth count last night.

On Monday, Ms McGuinness was the first of 13 Irish MEPs elected. The 59-year-old sitting MEP, first elected to the European Parliament in 2004, received 134,630 first-preference votes, exceeding the quota by some 16,000 votes in the four-seater constituency.

Ms Walsh, a former Rose of Tralee, took more than 6,000 of Mairead McGuinness’ first preference vote.

Local elections

All 949 seats have been filled in the local elections, with Longford County Council finally declaring results after four days of counting. The Green Party was the big winner having recorded its best election results to date while Sinn Féin was the big loser. Sinn Féin lost seats on councils all over the country – and was wiped out on some local authorities – in a big reversal of fortunes compared to the last such elections five years ago.

The party has seen its councillors fall from 159 in 2014 to 81.

Ministerial confusion

Earlier, the Minister responsible for electoral reform admitted he had become confused about the legal rules as they applied to the Dublin Euro count.

Minister of State for Electoral Reform John Paul Phelan said on RTÉ’s Today with Seán O’Rourke show he had made a mistake in earlier comments about the legislation.

He said, initially, that Ms Boylan’s votes should be excluded before clarifying his remarks.

“It will be necessary to redistribute them...apologies for my misunderstanding...I doubted myself last night when I was reading the reports, mostly on social media, about what had happened.

“The law that was quoted actually wasn’t the updated law [which]...was amended by the 2019 Act. [This] does require the distribution of both to determine the order of elections, because the order is important.

“In order to determine the positioning of candidates that has to be done for the first time in this particular European election.”