European election counts: How to watch the counting and vote transfers for two remaining constituencies

The elimination of the minnows will clarify the picture in Ireland South and Midlands-North-West

Independent Ireland candidate for Europe Ciarán Mullooly remains in the race in Midlands-North-West. Photograph: Fiachra Gallagher

Dublin done and dusted. The elimination of the Green Party’s Ciarán Cuffe was the key moment in the RDS last night, paving the way for his transfers to elect Labour’s Aodhan Ó Riordáin ahead of Independent Ireland’s Niall Boylan.

Cuffe’s exit marked a severe deterioration in the outlook for the Greens; Labour honchos at the RDS were pinching themselves in delighted disbelief.

In Limerick, Independent John Moran confirmed the trend evident since the boxes opened by winning the mayoralty – Ireland’s first – with relative comfort.

We’re a long way from concluding in Cork and Castlebar, though, where the counts for Ireland South and Midlands-North-West (MNW) will continue at least until tomorrow, and possibly into Friday. South picks up with its 11th count this morning; MNW begins its 10th count. So what should we look out for today?


So ten counts done in Ireland South; it could take another ten. It’ll be some time before we reach the business end of things here, as there are still a lot of minnows to be eliminated. Nine of the remaining 15 candidates who are contending for seats won less than 5 per cent of the vote. They will all have to be eliminated and their votes distributed before we get to the big beasts. They have nearly 200,000 votes between them.

Watch out for where these transfers go, as they will have a big bearing on the later order of elimination among the contenders. There’s a hefty chunk of right-wing and, indeed, far-right votes (including Derek Blighe’s 25,000) – some of them could go to Independent Michael McNamara, who has been critical of the Government on immigration and whose substitute is the daughter of Tipperary Independent TD Mattie McGrath. But could some anti-establishment votes go to Mick Wallace?

If the Green candidate Grace O’Sullivan gets a substantial transfer from Labour and the Social Democrats – and even from the next-out former Green Lorna Bogue – it would put her ahead of Wallace. Kathleen Funchion needs a big transfer from running mate Paul Gavan.

Fianna Fáil’s Cynthia Ní Mhurchú has outstripped expectations but will need to pull in transfers from everywhere – not impossible for a “celebrity” candidate, but unpredictable at best – before Fine Gael’s John Mullins goes out. The danger for her is that her running mate, Billy Kelleher, sucks up too much of the Fine Gael-Fianna Fáil transfer to help her sufficiently.

The margins will be fine, though; at this stage, with Sean Kelly home and hosed and Billy Kelleher certain to be elected, Michael McNamara is a probable; the rest – four-into-two among Ní Mhurchú, O’Sullivan, Wallace and Funchion – are possibles.

European election live: Green Party’s Ciarán Cuffe and Independent Clare Daly lose seats in Dublin raceOpens in new window ]

In Midlands-North-West, count 11 begins this morning and we’re still dealing with the elimination of the minnows here too. Green candidate Pauline O’Reilly is next out; after that there are seven candidates to go before we get to the contenders.

If anything, it’s even tighter than South here. Just 22,000 votes separate the top five, led by Luke Ming Flanagan, who is still more than 30,000 votes shy of a quota. Nobody is getting elected here for quite a while yet.

After the top five – Ming, the two Fine Gaelers Nina Carberry and Maria Walsh, Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowen and Independent Ireland’s Ciaran Mullooly – there are three further contenders: Sinn Féin’s Michelle Gildernew, Fianna Fáil’s Lisa Chambers and Aontú’s Peadar Tóibín. Both Gildernew and Chambers will get transfers from their running mates, but unless they get all the votes (they won’t) or pick up big transfers elsewhere, it’s hard to see them making it.

Tóibín has a shot though – there are 50,000 right-wing votes to be distributed in the next few counts and if he can get a big chunk of those (and maybe some Sinn Féin transfers) he could possibly catch Mullooly. It’s a tall order – Mullooly will also fancy his chances at getting some of those votes – but it’s not impossible. The thing to watch in the coming counts is whether the votes of John Waters, Hermann Kelly and then Peter Casey are flooding to Tóibín and not to Mullooly. If so, the Aontú leader has a chance.