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Deirdre Clune's seat at risk in Ireland South as Kelly tops the poll

Fine Gael MEP Deirdre Clune canvassing this week

Fine Gael MEP Deirdre Clune is at real risk of losing the seat she won in 2014, with an official exit poll placing her seventh on first preferences in the five seat constituency.

An RTÉ-TG4-Red C exit poll for Ireland South said the Cork-based MEP is on 9% of first preferences, and is in a four-way fight for the final seat in the constituency.

The poll states has the candidates getting the following numbers of first preference votes:

  • Sean Kelly, Fine Gael, 16%
  • Liadh Ní Riada, Sinn Féin 13%
  • Billy Kelleher, Fianna Fáil, 13%
  • Grace O'Sullivan, Greens, 12%
  • Mick Wallace, Independents4Change, 10%
  • Malcolm Byrne, Fianna Fáil, 9%
  • Deirdre Clune, Fine Gael, 9%
  • Andrew Doyle, Fine Gael, 4%
  • Sheila Nunan, Labour, 3%
  • The rest of the candidates in the field polled less than Sheila Nunan

While Ms Clune is likely to be able to depend on a substantial transfer of votes from Mr Kelly, it is unclear if Mr Doyle's transfers will be enough to bring her over the line - or if, after a public turf war, she will even receive them.

Elsewhere in the constituency, Mr Kelly is as predicted likely to surge home, followed most likely by Ms Ni Riada - albeit on a lower first preference than in 2014 - and Mr Kelleher, whose election will cause a by-election in Cork North West.

Green senator Ms O'Sullivan is also expected to have enough space based on the exit poll to be in contention for the fourth seat, in part because of her expected transfer friendly image, although both she and Mr Wallace will be watching each other closely as they are based in Waterford and Wexford respectively.

That will leave Ms Clune struggling for the final seat, with Mr Byrne and Mr Wallace also in contention.

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