Fianna Fáil claims seat in Ireland South as Mick Wallace loses out

Counting in European elections nears conclusion as new team of MEPs emerges

Former Eurovision host Cynthia Ní Mhurchú won a second seat for Fianna Fáil. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The final shape of Ireland’s new team of MEPs was emerging on Thursday night after marathon counting for the European elections neared a conclusion.

In Ireland South, former Eurovision host Cynthia Ní Mhurchú captured a second seat for Fianna Fáil as she held off the challenge of outgoing Independents 4 Change MEP Mick Wallace, who lost his seat.

Independent Michael McNamara was also elected alongside Sinn Féin’s Kathleen Funchion to join Fine Gael’s Sean Kelly and Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher.

There were further political exits, as sitting MEP Grace O’Sullivan lost her seat in what was another blow for the Green Party after the loss of Dublin MEP Ciarán Cuffe.


Ms O’Sullivan said being seen as “a party of Government” was a factor as she appeared to be less transfer-friendly than five years ago.

“I think we have seen an interesting pattern where I saw that Mick Wallace did better than I did on Sean Kelly’s transfers which was a big surprise to me because Sean Kelly and Mick Wallace in terms of policies would be polar opposites,” she said.

“I found it strange that people were favouring someone with very different views rather than someone who is Coalition partnership with them and I had kind of expected some degree of loyalty there and we really haven’t seen that at all.”

In Midlands-North-West, Independent Luke “Ming” Flanagan topped the poll to win a third term in Brussels. He received a huge bulk of transfers from Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín after his elimination.

Sinn Féin’s Chris MacManus became the fifth sitting MEP to lose his seat, alongside Ms O’Sullivan, Independent Clare Daly, Mr Cuffe and Mr Wallace.

“Me and my team worked as hard as we could over the last number of weeks during the actual campaign,” he said, adding that it will be important after the election “to listen to what people have said to us on the doorsteps”.

Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowen was expected to be elected in the 20th count with a surplus to be redistributed. Fine Gael’s Nina Carberry and running mate Maria Walsh also appeared in a strong position. The final seat was on track to be fought out between Independent Ireland’s Ciarán Mullooly and Sinn Féin’s Michelle Gildernew.

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times

Fiachra Gallagher

Fiachra Gallagher

Fiachra Gallagher is an Irish Times journalist