Fine Gael to be largest Irish party in European Parliament

Taoiseach claims party will return five MEPs as recount called in Ireland South

 

Fine Gael is set to be the largest Irish party in the European Parliament, with an expected five MEPs out of a total of 13.

Fine Gael won two seats in Midlands North West, where sitting MEP Mairéad McGuinness was joined by party colleague Maria Walsh. Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy and Independent Luke “Ming” Flanagan retained their seats in the four-seat constituency.

In Ireland South, Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher will join Fine Gael’s sitting MEP Seán Kelly in Brussels and Strasbourg.

Independents4Change’s Mick Wallace was poised to be elected last night, along with Fine Gael’s Deirdre Clune.

However, Sinn Féin’s Liadh Ní Ríada, who is in a battle for the last seat with Grace O’Sullivan of the Green Party, sought a full recount. It begins this morning at Nemo Rangers GAA club in Cork.

Recounts

After 17 counts, Ms Clune had 97,935 votes, Ms O’Sullivan 96,095 and Ms Ní Ríada 95,573.

Senator Grace O’Sullivan said she understood the reason for the recount, but remained confident she would take the fifth seat.

In Ireland South, the fifth-place finisher will remain on standby and will take up their seat only when the UK leaves the European Union.

In Dublin, Ciarán Cuffe of the Green Party, Fine Gael’s Frances Fitzgerald, Clare Daly of Independents4Change and Barry Andrews of Fianna Fáil were elected, with Mr Andrews in reserve until Brexit takes effect.

Four byelections will be needed to fill the Dáil vacancies created by Mr Wallace in Wexford, Ms Daly in Dublin Fingal, Ms Fitzgerald in Dublin Mid West and Mr Kelleher in Cork North Central.