Elections 2024: All 949 local seats filled as counting continues for Europe in Midlands-North-West and Ireland South

Luke Ming Flanagan leads the pack in Castlebar as battle for three Ireland South seats comes down to four candidates

Counting continues at TF Royal Theatre in Castlebar for the Midlands-North-West constituency in the European elections. Photograph: Wednesday June 12, 2024.

22:55

This story is no longer being updated. For Thursday’s live election results story see here.

Main Points

European Election Count

  • Midlands-North-West: Luke Ming Flanagan (Ind) continues to lead the pack after the 15th count. The results will be available in detail here
  • Ireland South: Seán Kelly (FG) was the first MEP elected in the constituency. The battle for the last three seats has come down to a contest between Kathleen Funchion (SF), Michael McNamara (Ind), Mick Wallace (Ind) and Cynthia Ní Mhurchú (FF). The results are here
  • Dublin: The capital’s four new MEPs have been elected. See the final results in full here

Local election count

  • Newbridge LEA: The final local seats in the country were filled on Wednesday evening after 11 counts over five days, including four recounts

Limerick Mayoral Election

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22:54

And we’ll leave it there for tonight folks. Counting is set to continue on for Midlands-North-West and Ireland South on Thursday but all local government seats in the State have been filled.

Thanks for sticking with us. We’ll be back tomorrow with the latest on the race to Brussels on irishtimes.com.


22:52

Before we call it a night with Wednesday’s live election coverage, let’s do a quick comparison between this year’s local election results and how things wrapped up in 2019.


22:50

Derek Blighe eliminated in Ireland South

Barry Roche in Cork:

Sinn Féin’s Kathleen Funcheon and Independent Michael McNamara were looking increasingly like joining Sean Kelly and Billy Kelleher in Brussels after Funcheon received a whopping transfer from Susan Doyle of the Social Democrats .

The distribution of almost 23, 000 votes from Doyle’s accumulated total of 29,670 left Independent4Change and Fianna Fáil’s Cynthia Ní Mhurchú in poll position to fight for the fifth and final seat with Wallace leading by 67,146 votes to Ní Mhurchú 65,361.

But perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was Doyle’s transfer of 7,675 votes to the Green Party’s Grace O’Sullivan – the biggest transfer in the entire contest – which gave O’Sullivan a glimmer of hope after she had earlier conceded that her seat was gone.

The 16th count concluded around 11pm with the elimination of Derek Blighe of Ireland First and the distribution of his 38,625 papers along with the 42,831 garnered by Fine Gael’s John Mullins determining the destination of the last seat when counting resumes on Thursday.


22:19

‘Thanks, Peter’, says Flanagan, as McHugh eliminated

We have more news from Castlebar, writes Fiachra Gallagher

Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan bagged a whopping 5,654 transfers from Peter Casey in count 15.

“Thanks, Peter,” Mr Flanagan said from the count centre floor after the figure was read out.

Poll-topper Mr Flanagan is over 15,000 votes ahead of the chasing pack, with Fine Gael’s Nina Carberry the closest on 80,364 votes.

Saoirse McHugh (Independent) was excluded following the latest count. Her 31, 519 votes will now be distributed.


21:56
Stacks on stacks of ballot papers at the count centre at Nemo Rangers GAA club in Cork on Wednesday. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Four candidates battle for last three Ireland South seats

The battle for the last three seats in Ireland South intensified among four contenders last night as outgoing MEP, Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher continued on his slow march to take the second seat behind poll-topping Seán Kelly of Fine Gael elected on the first count.

The battle for the last three seats had come down to a contest between Sinn Féin’s Kathleen Funchion from Kilkenny, Independent Michael McNamara from Clare, Independent4Change Mick Wallace from Wexford and Fianna Fáil’s Cynthia Ní Mhurchú from Carlow.

The distribution of Funchion’s running mate Paul Gavan 25,521 papers on the 14th count had propelled Funchion to the head of this chasing pack after she picked up 15,750 transfers but the elimination of Clare based Eddie Punch on the 15th count saw her overtaken by McNamara.

McNamara at the end of the distribution of Punch’s vote brought him to 74,197 ahead of Funchion on 72,081 with Wallace leading Ní Mhurchú by 64,631 to 63,540 with Derek Blighe of Ireland First, John Mullins of Fine Gael and Grace O’Sullivan of the Greens still to be eliminated.

Also eliminated was Susan Doyle of the Social Democrats whose 29,671 papers were still in the process of being distributed by Returning Officer Martin Harvey and his staff among the remaining eight candidates left in the field at 9.30pm.

Meanwhile, Kelleher was watching on somewhat aloof to the battle between the backmarkers as with 10,492, he was poised to take the second seat albeit at a sloth like pace as only Labour’s Niamh Hourigan transferred more than one thousand votes to him.

Watching the various eliminations, Grace O’Sullivan has conceded that she was set to lose her seat, saying that the Green Wave that had propelled her to success in 2019 had ebbed out to leave her stranded with almost 30,000 votes less than five years ago.

Counting is due to be adjourned after the completion of the distribution of Doyle’s votes and is set to resume with the elimination of Blighe, Mullins and O’Sullivan on Thursday with the final result must likely to be delivered on Thursday afternoon or evening. – Barry Roche in Cork


21:31
Green Party incumbent MEP Grace O'Sullivan at Nemo Rangers GAA club count centre on Sunday. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

‘It’s slipping away now’, says Green’s O’Sullivan

From Barry Roche in Cork:

Incumbent Green MEP Grace O’Sullivan has said this evening: “You can see it’s definitely slipping away now but I’ve been realistic all the time from the get-go when the preference votes were being put on the tables and I acknowledged that it was substantially down on my 2019 vote

“I mean being a sitting MEP, there are different reasons for that and we saw a number of others including Mick Wallace who was down on his 2019 vote so I just wasn’t sure how I would manage the transfers and interestingly enough I haven’t been that transfer friendly

“So again in 2019 and that’s my only comparative, I was extraordinarily transfer friendly whereas this time I haven’t – 2019 was the climate campaign and the tide very much came in and the Green Wave was there and now it just feels that momentum has gone.

“People have other things on their minds and that concerns me because as an ecological party and as an ecologist myself, climate change has not gone away by any doubt – my concern is that Government is not getting that message across.”


21:18

It’s dinner time in Castlebar for Flanagan, currently sitting on a comfortable lead in the constituency on 89,660 votes after 14 counts. His nearest rivals are former jockey Nina Carberry (Fine Gael) on 78,717 votes, Maria Walsh (Fine Gael) on 78,204, Barry Cowen (Fianna Fáil) on 76,545 votes and Ciaran Mullooly (Independent Ireland) on 65,619.

The quota is 113,325.


21:00

Seems like we haven’t seen the last of Sinn Féin’s James Stokes.


20:35
Tom McDonnell

Newly elected McDonnell ‘all about our borders’ and Irish women ‘breeding’

More from Arthur Beesley in Punchestown

Clutching the tricolour after securing his seat, newly-elected Independent Tom McDonnell described himself as an “independent nationalist” and said he was “all about our borders”.

Mr McDonnell said the win was a stepping stone to the general election, saying he was “pro-immigration both ways – out and in – but controlled, vetted, and letting good people that we need”.

“My agenda going forward will be to look after the women of Ireland and make sure that they have more children – and give them tax incentives that [the] more children they have the more tax breaks they get,” Mr McDonnell said.

Mothers should receive a €7,000-€8,000 tax incentive for every additional child they have, he added. “Our women are only breeding 1.5-1.6 children. That’s shocking for an Irish woman ... If we don’t have women breeding, we die out as a breed.”

Labour finished the local election with 56 council seats overall, the Social Democrats won 35, the Greens at 23 seats, People Before Profit Solidarity won 13 and Aontú 8 seats. Independents won 186 seats and others won 33.


20:06

In Cork, the 14th count has seen the elimination of Independent Ireland’s Eddie Punch.


19:56

Newbridge LEA count concludes

Fianna Fáil has won two of the final three seats in the local election to bring its overall tally to 248, cementing its status as the biggest party in local government after five days of counting. Fine Gael finished with 245 seats.

The Fianna Fáil victory had been a foregone conclusion as the last Kildare seats were determined on Wednesday evening because Fine Gael had no more candidates in the race.

Sitting Fianna Fáil councillors Noel Heavy and Rob Power were re-elected in the Newbridge electoral area in the 11th count, alongside Independent Tom McDonnell. Mr McDonnell beat a challenge from teenage Sinn Féin candidate James Stokes, following the elimination Aontú candidate Melissa Byrne.

Most of day was spent on a fourth recount of the 10th Newbridge count after a line of inconsistent counts. The Kildare count started on Saturday. – Arthur Beesley


19:18

Peter Casey eliminated in Midlands-North-West

Peter Casey (Independent) has been eliminated following the 14th count in Midlands-North-West.


18:40

From Barry Roche in Cork:

Ireland First leader Derek Blighe said he wasn’t surprised by his support in the Ireland South constituency where he garnered over 25,000 first preferences and he said it sent a clear message to the Government that they need to listen to the people.

“This vote shows there’s a new way of thinking ... This isn’t about me – this is about the people telling the Government that they are not listening to their message any more. I was expecting to do well and I’m over the moon with the vote I got and if I never got one more transfer, I would walk out of here a happy man.”


18:35

Aontú's Melissa Byrne eliminated from Newbridge race

From Arthur Beesley in Punchestown:

Aontú candidate Melissa Byrne has been eliminated from the race for Kildare county council, giving way to a Sinn Féin candidate James Stokes in the hunt for one of the final three seats in Newbridge local electoral area.

After the day-long fourth recount of the 10th count at Punchestown racecourse finished around 6pm, returning officer Eoghan Ryan said he will proceed this evening with the 11th count. The likelihood of two of the remaining Newbridge seats going to Fianna Fáil suggests the party will emerge from the local elections with the biggest haul of seats, a prospective tally of 248 against Fine Gael’s 245.

Mr Stokes, a teenage campaigner for Travellers’ rights, finished the fourth recount with 1,100 votes after receiving 14 votes from the surplus of successful Social Democrat candidate Chris Pender.

This placed him two votes ahead of Ms Byrne, who finished with 1,098 votes after receiving four votes from Mr Pender’s surplus. Her votes will now be distributed in the next count.

Mr Stokes is now in a race for a final seat in the electoral area with Independent candidate Tom McDonnell, who enters the 11th count with 1,159 votes after receiving one vote from Mr Pender’s surplus.

Amid talk of a legal challenge to the eventual result after a line of inconsistent counts, Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín had earlier expressed concern about the treatment of “couple of ballots” in the Newbridge recount.

Although Mr Ryan said there had been some “slight shifts” in the latest recount, he said “there were no significant material errors of huge consequences” in earlier counts. “We just had to follow the sequence through each of the counts starting again,” Mr Ryan said.

The fourth recount had begun on Wednesday morning after the third recount late on Tuesday night put Mr Stokes one vote ahead of Ms Byrne. The two candidates were vying to avoid elimination and proceed to the eleventh count in the six-seat electoral area in Kildare county council.

Sinn Féin sought the third recount after the second recount said Ms Byrne and Mr Stokes had the same number of votes. That would have put Ms Byrne into the next round with Mr Stokes leaving the race because the Aontú candidate had more first preference ballots.

Ms Byrne was two votes behind Mr Stokes after the first recount, which Sinn Féin sought after the first count of the tenth count put its candidate a single vote behind Aontú.

The fourth recount leaves Fianna Fáil candidates Noel Heavy and Rob Power leading the race for the first two of the remaining seats in the electoral area, with 1,482 and 1,324 votes respectively.

Two Fine Gael candidates have already been elected in Newbridge, Peggy O’Dwyer and Tracey O’Dwyer.

Aontú indicated after Ms Byrne’s elimination that it will not seek another recount.

“We’re going to reflect now on the finer details,” the party’s spokeswoman said. “We’re going to take a little bit of time I think really it’s incumbent on us to ensure democracy is given its full expression.”


17:48

From Social Democrats candidate Rory Hearne. He was eliminated from the running for a seat in Brussels in the 12th count of the Midlands-North-West constituency.

Hearne said he is “proud to have put generation locked out of a home” central to his campaign.


17:09
Ireland First's Derek Blighe watching transfers being counted in the Ireland South count centre in Nemo, Cork.

16:52

Hermann Kelly eliminated from Midlands-North-West race

Hermann Kelly (Irish Freedom Party) was eliminated following the 13th count in Midlands-North-West.

Ciaran Mullooly (Independent Ireland), with 62,598 votes and in fifth place, still holds a considerable lead over Sinn Féin’s Michelle Gildernew with 49,584 votes. – Fiachra Gallagher


16:50

Ní Mhurchú has jumped back in front of Mick Wallace on foot of 2,065 transfers from Labour’s Niamh Hourigan to put her on 61,259. Wallace has 60,547 votes, though these positions could change again with the elimination of Gavan, writes Barry Roche.


16:47

From Barry Roche in Cork:

Billy Kelleher’s marathon trek back to Brussels continues as he took another step to the finish line thanks to 2,992 transfers from Labour’s Niamh Hourigan to bring him just shy of 100,000 votes.

Kelleher is still over 14,000 votes short of the 114,761 quota but Hourigan’s votes were his biggest transfer to date but it may well be Thursday before Kelleher reaches the quota or gets elected without reaching the quota.

Next for the exit door is Sinn Féin’s Paul Gahan and distribution of his 25,521 papers should propel his running mate, Kathleen Funchion to the front of the chasing pack of Independent Michael McNamara, Independents4Change’s Mick Wallace and Fianna Fáil’s Cynthia Ní Mhurchú.


16:40

Gildernew: Sinn Féin ‘still in with a fighting chance’

The latest from Fiachra Gallagher in Castlebar where the counting in the European race continues:

Sinn Féin’s Michelle Gildernew appeared to change her view on the state of play in the Midlands-North-West constituency, speaking to reporters on Wednesday afternoon.

“Yes, we’re still in with a fighting chance, but, you know, it’s hard to predict how its going to end up,” she said.

On Tuesday, Ms Gildernew said she was “probably resigned” to not winning a seat in Midlands-North-West.


16:21
Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín with the party's Newbridge LEA candidate Melissa Byrne at the Punchestown count centre earlier on Wednesday.

16:00

While we’re waiting for more news from Castlebar, Cork and Punchestown, Labour’s Niamh Hourigan has tweeted following her elimination from the Ireland South race, congratulating party colleague Aodhán Ó’Ríordáin for his success in Dublin last night.


15:13

From Barry Roche at the Ireland South count centre in Cork:

The 12th count and distribution of Aontú’s Patrick Murphy’s in the Ireland South constituency was interesting in that it has most likely changed the sequence of eliminations for some of the other back markers.

The principal beneficiary was Independent Michael McNamara, who gained 2,170 transfers from Murphy’s 17,421 transfers, to inch him closer to taking the third seat after the already elected Seán Kelly and Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher who remains on track to take the second seat.

Among the other main beneficiaries from Murphy’s elimination were Derek Blighe of Ireland First, who picked up 1,725 transfers, just marginally more than Independent Ireland’s Eddie Punch, who picked up 1,712 papers.

Mick Wallace also got a healthy tranche of 1,522 transfers to bring him to 59,511 and put him ahead of Fianna Fáil’s Cynthia Ní Mhurchú on 59,194 for the first time since the count began on Sunday at the Nemo Rangers GAA club in Cork.

The other notable development on foot of Murphy’s elimination was that Punch, whose message for greater support for farmers echoed Murphy’s similar call in relation to fishers moved ahead of Sinn Féin’s second candidate Paul Gavan for the first time.

Punch has moved up to 25,221 votes compared to Gavan’s 24,623 and if they maintain this ranking after the elimination of Labour’s Niamh Hourigan and the distribution of her 24,211 papers this means Gavan will be next to be eliminated.

The expectation is that Gavan will transfer a substantial number of votes to his running mate Kathleen Funchion, who is currently trailing McNamara, Wallace and Ní Mhurchú in the race for the last three seats, and that she will then leapfrog all three to lead the chasing pack.

Kelleher remains over 18,000 shy of the 114,761 quota while Murphy’s strong transfer to Blighe opens up the possibility that with Gavan, Punch and Doyle still to be eliminated after Hourigan, Blighe could actually over take Fine Gael’s near becalmed John Mullins currently on 37,950.


14:33

Social Democrat Rory Hearne eliminated on 12th count in Midlands-North-West

From our reporter Fiachra Gallagher in Castlebar:

Rory Hearne (Social Democrats) has been eliminated on the 12th count in Midlands-North-West, having garnered 19,279 votes. Hermann Kelly (Irish Freedom Party) received the most amount of transfers (3,572) from John Waters, bring him to a total of 20,885.

Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan still leading the poll on 84,665 votes. Ciaran Mullooly (Independent Ireland), with 61,888 votes, is still in fifth place in the five-seat race, ahead of Michelle Gildernew (Sinn Féin) on 48,074.


14:25

Let’s jump straight into the latest from Arthur Beesley in Punchestown:

Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín expressed concern about the treatment of a “couple of ballots” in the Newbridge LEA recount, amid talk of a legal challenge to the eventual result after inconsistent counts.

As the fourth recount of the 10th count continued at Punchestown on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Tóibín said he would not pre-empt any decision on a court action but didn’t rule one out either.

“What’s happening here, unfortunately, is that each count is coming back with a different figure, and as a result, both sides probably have some justification in not being fully confident of where we’re at,” he told reporters.

The fourth recount began on Wednesday morning after the third recount late on Tuesday night put teenage Sinn Féin candidate James Stokes one vote ahead of Aontú's Melissa Byrne. The two candidates are vying to avoid elimination and proceed to the eleventh count in the six-seat electoral area in Kildare county council.

Sinn Féin sought the third recount after the second recount said Ms Byrne and Mr Stokes had the same number of votes. That would have put Ms Byrne into the next round with Mr Stokes leaving the race because the Aontú candidate had more first preference ballots.

Ms Byrne was two votes behind Mr Stokes after the first recount, which Sinn Féin sought after the first count of the tenth count put its candidate a single vote behind Aontú.

Mr Tóibín expressed anxiety about the lack of consistency, saying Aontú would be “very reluctant” to go to court over the outcome.

“I think that you can only go down to the routes such as that if you have clear grounds that something has gone wrong and that the process hasn’t been implemented properly,” he said.

“There is a couple of ballots there where I don’t believe it is clearly marked and where the preferences are and you know that’s the key question here. We just need to make sure that it’s clear there is, you know, no supposition. There’s no guessing.”


14:24

Good afternoon everyone, Glen Murphy here for the rest of Wednesday’s counting action. Thanks to Sarah Burns for the work so far today.


13:52

South Dublin County Council reminds local and European candidates that election posters must be taken down by midnight on Friday and will be subject to a fine of €150 if they don’t.


13:47

Vivienne Clarke reports:

The Green Party’s director of elections, Ossian Smyth TD, has said that people still want what the Green Party is offering.

Speaking on RTÉ radio’s News at One, Mr Smyth said that being in Government reduced transfers, but that the number of Green Party councillors elected was second only to the ‘Green Wave’ of 2019.

An anti-Green agenda had been “pushed” by both conservative and right wing parties, he said.

Attacks against his party by some Coalition partners had been only a minor contribution to the poorer results, added Mr Smyth.

“I think that people still want what we’re offering. They still want renewable energy, they want cheap public transport. They want to protect nature. They know it’s got a value. So what we have is not going away. The policies that we are championing are the same ones that we have been champions of since the 80s. And I think that we will certainly return.”

Mr Smyth dismissed a comment by Senator Regina Doherty that the Green Party wanted to turn Dublin into ‘a spaghetti junction of cycle lanes that divided the city like East and West Berlin’ as “a ludicrous thing to say.”


13:40

13:37

12:46

Meanwhile, back in Dublin, the staff and guests at the Shelbourne hotel have had to be evacuated due to a fire. The full report can be read here.


12:40

Our reporter Arthur Beesley has the latest from Punchestown, where the final seats for Kildare County Council are still being determined:

The marathon count for Kildare county council entered its fifth day on Wednesday after the returning officer ordered a fourth recount in the Newbridge electoral area.

The fourth recount of the tenth count began the morning after the third recount late on Tuesday night that put teenaged Sinn Féin candidate James Stokes one vote ahead of Aontú's Melissa Byrne. A result is not expected for several hours as the two candidates vie to avoid elimination and proceed to the eleventh count.

Either Ms Byrne or Mr Stokes will be in contention for the final seat in the six-seat electoral area against Independent candidate Tom McDonnell.

Two other remaining seats are likely to go to Fianna Fáil candidates Noel Heavey and Rob Power.

The first three seats went to Tracey O’Dwyer and Peggy O’Dwyer, both Fine Gael, and Chris Pender of the Social Democrats.

Aontú sought the latest recount in the light of the second recount result that said Ms Byrne and Mr Stokes had an equal number of votes. If the second recount stood, Ms Byrne would have gone into the next round and Mr Stokes would have left the race because the Aontú candidate had more first-preference votes.

Ms Byrne was two votes behind Mr Stokes after the first recount, which Sinn Féin sought after the first count of the tenth count put its candidate a single vote behind Aontú.


12:33

Should Taoiseach Simon Harris call an early election? Gerard Howlin says talk of leading the Government to next March is heroic but foolish while Justine McCarthy argues voters would not reward Harris for an opportunistic U-turn on the election.

Both writers make their case here.

In Midlands-North-West, Irish Freedom Party candidate Hermann Kelly says he is “still in the game” after the eleventh count.


12:31

12:15

11:33

Fiachra Gallagher reports from Westport:

John Waters (Independent) has been eliminated following count 11 in the Midlands-North-West constituency. His 17,206 votes will be distributed in the next count.


11:30

Political Correspondent Cormac McQuinn reports:

Green Party Minister Catherine Martin has warned politicians from the other Coalition parties that the climate crisis “is way too important to toy around with” during elections.

Her remarks come after Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil candidates attacked the Green Party during the European Election campaign.

Fine Gael’s candidate in Dublin, Regina Doherty, accused the Green Party of being “autocratic” during her bid to be elected to the European Parliament while Fianna Fáil’s Midlands North-West candidate Lisa Chambers also took potshots at the party.

Party leader Eamon Ryan said on Monday that he had raised the matter with the other Coalition leaders, Taoiseach Simon Harris and Tánaiste Micheál Martin.

He told RTÉ's Prime Time it was not acceptable that when parties in a Coalition “look for their electoral advantage [by] tackling colleagues with accusations”, and he disputed the charge that the party was autocratic.

He also said: “we work well in Coalition, we are not out there lambasting our colleagues or doing personal attacks on Government colleagues – I think that is totally inappropriate and wrong.”

Asked if he had got a guarantee from the other leaders that it wouldn’t happen again, he said: “I think they heard what I said and I’m sure that wouldn’t happen again.”

On Tuesday the Taoiseach said it is “entirely appropriate for different political parties to express political views during an election” and that views should be presented in “a civil and respectful way”.

At an event in Dublin Ms Martin, the Green deputy leader, was asked if she thinks attacks on her party from other Coalition parties will reduce.

She replied: “I can’t control the other political parties and what they might do. But what I would say to them very clearly is climate action is too serious. The climate and biodiversity crisis that we are facing is way too important to toy around with.

“And what we need is all political parties and Independents to take this seriously because it is the issue of our generation and next,” she said.

Earlier Ms Martin said it is “really important that that campaigns are conducted in the most respectful way possible and we have a clear message when it comes to climate action.

“I think it’s regrettable if climate action is something that is toyed about with at election time. It’s too serious of an issue. We need all parties to show leadership and embrace the climate action that is needed.”

Ms Martin added: “it’s when all political parties take that on board and I think some of the message was, as some candidates have said themselves, very clumsy, and that is regrettable because what we need is everyone to realise the extent of the challenge that we are facing.”

She said she believes the Coalition is “working well”, that “collaborative politics” is the Green Party’s style and that “we’re focused on the job of work that needs to be done”.

The Green Party’s Dublin candidate Ciarán Cuffe lost his European Parliament seat, but the party’s other MEP Grace O’Sullivan is still chasing possible election in Ireland South.

On her chances Ms Martin said: “Today is the key day for Grace looking at where the transfers are will be coming from.

“I’m still holding out for Grace. I think she’s a very unique campaigner, activist politician.

“I’d actually like to pay tribute to herself and Ciarán Cuffe in the incredible, innovative leadership they showed.”

In relation to Ms O’Sullivan she said: “It’s fingers crossed. I wouldn’t rule Grace out.”


11:28

For those wondering what will happen to Lynn Boylan’s dogs when she goes to Brussels ...


11:13

From Barry Roche, Southern Correspondent at Nemo GAA for Ireland South Count:

Outgoing Green MEP, Grace O’Sulllivan’s chances of retaining her seat in Ireland South are all but gone after she failed to get the necessary number of transfers from An Rabharta Glas candidate, Lorna Bogue to close the gap to fellow outgoing MEP, Mick Wallace.

O’Sullivan would have been hoping to get 2,000/3,000 votes to narrow the gap to Wallace, but the event she picked up just 928 votes while Wallace picked up 652 votes leaving the margin between at over 6,000 votes with Wallace on 56,979 and O’Sullivan on 50,420.

Bogue’s relatively poor transfer to O’Sullivan was clearly good news for Wallace as it now means that O’Sullivan will be the last of the five candidates chasing the final three seats and will the first of them to be eliminated.

The expectation is that while she may have pulled votes from Green Party supporters all over the constituency, there will also be a Waterford element to her vote which could well transfer to Wallace, her fellow candidate from the southeast who hails from Wexford.

O’Sullivan’s demise may also benefit Fianna Fáil’s Cynthia Ní Mhurchú and Sinn Féin’s Kathleen Funchion again on the basis that Ní Mhurchú hails from Carlow and Funchion from Kilkenny so if there is a local geographical element to O’Sullivan’s vote, they may both benefit.

All of which means that after Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher takes the second seat, there will be a four-way contest for the three remaining seats with Independent Michael McNamara currently leading this chasing pack on 60,285 with Ní Mhurchú next on 57,913.

Wallace is next on 56,979 votes ahead of Funchion on 53,300, but she is banking on a huge transfer from Sinn Féin running mate Paul Gavan who currently has 23,808 papers to distribute and that should see her leapfrog to the front of this pack of four contenders.

The worry for Sinn Féin is that while Funchion may jump to the front on Gavan’s transfers, she may not be able to stay there as Sinn Féin has not proven hugely transfer friendly in the local elections and that may possibly come to hurt them here too.

They will be hoping for transfers from Michael Leahy of the Irish Freedom Party, who espouses a tighter immigration controls and has over 15,000 votes to distribute as has fisherman’s advocate, Patrick Murphy of Aontú.

Ironically, Sinn Féin may end up relying for transfers on one of their arch critics, Derek Blighe of Ireland First, who has targeted Sinn Féin over the party’s views on immigration, and he could well have 30,000 votes for distribution by the time he exits the contest.

Other factors to consider will be almost 49,000 votes accumulated by Susan Doyle of the Soc Dems and Niamh Hourigan and where they will go, and if O’Sullivan is to have any slight hope of hanging on, she needs these to break to her in a significant higher ratio to Wallace.

Also up for grabs will be over 22,000 votes garnered by Eddie Punch of Independent Ireland and given his Clare base and messages on “fixing our broken immigration” system and focus on farming, McNamara looks like being the obvious beneficiary.

All of which leaves Fine Gael’s John Mullins, currently stranded in seventh place, just shy of 37,000 votes but don’t be surprised if these transfer in significant numbers to his fellow Cork man, Fianna Fáil’s Kelleher, to finally free him from his ongoing purgatory of waiting.


10:56

Great piece from Miriam Lord on Dáil proceedings yesterday. She writes:

Here we go.

There will be no let up now until a general election is called.

What did he mean when he said that?

Is she trying to imply something?

Did he get his teeth fixed for the posters?

What were the Taoiseach and Tánaiste muttering about just there?

What is that group of Fianna Fáilers whispering outside the chamber up to?

Why has the Government decided to rush through the Planning and Development Bill to the absolute fury of the Opposition?

Clearing the decks, that’s why.

The full piece can be read here.


10:54

Senator Pauline O’Reilly, chairperson of the Green Party, has said that the Green Party has played a critical role in highlighting climate and nature policies in the Coalition Government.

“It’s an ongoing frustration, that when you are in Coalition, you work with other people and you pull them along on this journey that we have to make as a country in relation to being resilient. When it comes to climate, and also and restoring nature, but it wouldn’t be happening without the Green Party.

“Of course, absolutely everybody is important on that journey. But I think we have to be honest about this, that many of those things had not been happening before this Government and that that’s the kind of critical place that it plays a role. It is about negotiation and compromise in order to get the best outcome for the future.,” she told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show.

Senator O’Reilly, who was a candidate in the European elections, said there had been some suggestions during the campaign that the Green Party did not care about the day to day issues facing people.

“Nothing could be further from the truth, without any evidence, I might add. But we’re coming out of a campaign now. I take the approach that, I’m honest, I have integrity. But really, this is about the issues. This is about the policies. This is about what you can do at a European level. The majority of the laws that impact us in terms of climate, come from Europe.”


10:38

Vivienne Clarke reports:

Minister for Higher Education Patrick O’Donovan has attributed the success of the Fine Gael party in the local election to the “very vibrant, energetic campaign under our new leader”.

Mr O’Donovan was speaking on RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show in response to Green Party complaints about the behaviour during the campaign of Fine Gael, which had claimed Green Party leader Eamon Ryan had behaved in a dictatorial and autocratic manner.

Every party had lost councillors and MEPs in last week’s elections, he said. While it may appear to be a “blood sport” to political commentators, the candidates who had lost their seats were now “wounded and very sore”.

People were entitled to have opinions, he said, “but I do think people need to be fair in that”. Each of the parties in the Coalition had targets they wanted to achieve, some of which could cause frustration for others. But those three parties had achieved 50 per cent of the vote which was “a resounding endorsement of the work that’s been done”.

Politics was about trying to be in government and making a decisive difference on behalf of the people who voted for you, he added.

“But in Ireland, because of proportional representation, that also involves compromise along the lines of respect within Government. And that’s what we have done over the last four years. And that’s what we’re going to continue to do for the remainder of the Government.”

All of the Government parties were very conscious of the impact of climate change, he said: “We’re not climate deniers.”


10:21

10:10

An interesting point raised here ... Who will Labour select as their candidate for Dublin Bay North? Meanwhile, Fine Gael’s Richard Bruton and Fianna Fáil’s Seán Haughey have both said they will not contest the next general election, leaving just Cian O’Callaghan of the Social Democrats and Sinn Féin’s Denise Mitchell as the only sitting TDs there.


09:58

09:47

Political Editor Pat Leahy identifies what to look out for today as counting resumes in Ireland South and Midlands North-West:

He writes: 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.

The full article can be read here.


09:26

Fine Gael’s new MEP for Dublin is off to Brussels already ...


09:19

09:13

08:58

An Coimisiún Toghcháin, Ireland’s independent electoral commission, has welcomed a significant 29 per cent reduction in the level of spoilt votes seen in the local and European elections.

Provisional figures collected by the commission show that in the June 7th local and European elections there were 77,464 invalid or spoilt votes. The same elections in 2019 saw 108,488 votes declared invalid. This is a reduction of 31,024 despite a larger number of people voting.


08:55

Vivienne Clarke reports:

The chief executive of the Electoral Commission, Art O’Leary, has said there needs to be a better understanding of why people did not vote in last week’s local and European elections so that solutions can be found.

Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland, Mr O’Leary explained such action would ultimately involve education, information and public engagement.

“We need to be in schools and universities, but also in groups that traditionally don’t get engaged.”

There were many reason why people did not vote – there wasn’t a simple answer, he said, adding many issues affected turnout. The turnout for this year was “slightly” less than the figure for 2019, at almost 50 per cent.

“We need to place that in context, because the Electoral Register grew by almost 250,000, between 2019 and 2024. So in fact, there were nearly 100,000 extra voters came out to vote last Friday. But we’re doing a voter survey at the moment, and we’ll have some more concrete data in the weeks ahead.

“But I think it’s notable that the weather was good, so that wasn’t really a factor. But it was the first week in June ... It’s the first week of the holiday season. Secondary schools had closed the week before as well.”

Mr O’Leary acknowledged the turnout had been dropping consistently in the last 20 years, it was 58 per cent 20 years ago. This indicated the scale of the challenge for the Electoral Commission, he said.


08:47

Good morning. Counting is continuing on Wednesday for Ireland’s MEPs in Midlands North-West and South. There are only three council seats left to decide out of 949, and they are all in the Newbridge Local Electoral Area of Kildare County Council. Aontú's Melissa Byrne has called for another recheck of the recount and this gets under way at 10am.