Last European Parliament seat taken by Marian Harkin

Midlands North-West count lasted almost five days

Europe’s final parliamentary seat was filled at sunrise in south Mayo yesterday when Independent MEP Marian Harkin edged out Fianna Fáil’s Pat the Cope Gallagher to retain her seat in the enlarged Midlands North-West constituency.

Europe’s final parliamentary seat was filled at sunrise in south Mayo yesterday when Independent MEP Marian Harkin edged out Fianna Fáil’s Pat the Cope Gallagher to retain her seat in the enlarged Midlands North-West constituency.

 

Europe’s final parliamentary seat was filled at sunrise in south Mayo yesterday when Independent MEP Marian Harkin edged out Fianna Fáil’s Pat the Cope Gallagher to retain her seat in the enlarged Midlands North-West constituency.

It was 4am when all of Ireland’s 11 seats – and Europe’s 751 – were filled, after a 16-hour-long recheck through Wednesday night in Castlebar, Co Mayo.

Fine Gael ended the election with four MEPs, Sinn Féin and Independents have three seats each, and Fianna Fáil has one.

“For Ireland, it is past time that we get a deal on our legacy debt; our bank debt,” Ms Harkin said after being elected.

Ms Harkin said the make-up of the new European Parliament made it a “very different and disparate” body which needed to consolidate.

She thanked outgoing MEP Mr Gallagher for finishing the count “with great dignity” and observed that “if it could have been somebody else other than Pat here tonight . . . that is what I would have wanted”.

Both worked closely as members of the centrist Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE).

She also paid tribute to outgoing MEP, Jim Higgins of Fine Gael, who lost his seat.

Independent TD Luke Ming Flanagan topped the poll and reached the quota on the second count, with Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness and Sinn Féin candidate Matt Carthy taking the second and third seats.

After four days and one long night of sorting of papers Mr Gallagher conceded defeat and said he was a “realist” and would not be seeking a full recount.

The recheck had been offered by returning officer Fintan Murphy when only 275 votes separated him and Ms Harkin after the eighth count on Tuesday night.

Mr Gallagher – who was first elected to the Dáil in 1981, held several junior ministries and was MEP between 1994 and 2002 and from 2009 – thanked the returning officer and his staff for their “painstaking, meticulous” rechecking.

Flanked by former junior ministers Dara Calleary and Noel Treacy, and observed by supporters of Ms Harkin, there was little triumphalism and some quiet emotion as he congratulated all those elected.