Election 2019 home

#Elections2019: Billy Kelleher 'elated' as he is elected as MEP for Ireland South

#Elections2019: Billy Kelleher 'elated' as he is elected as MEP for Ireland South
Billy Kelleher celebrates after he is elected. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Latest: Fianna Fail TD Billy Kelleher described himself as "elated, honoured and humbled" after being elected to the European Parliament.

The Cork North-Central TD became the second person elected in the Ireland South constituency, joining Sean Kelly, who surpassed the quota yesterday.

Mr Kelleher secured almost 40,000 transfers from party colleague Malcolm Byrne to bridge the gap on the 17th count.

Joined by party leader Micheal Martin, his friends, family and dozens of other Fianna Fail members at Nemo Rangers GAA Club, Mr Kelleher said he was humbled after the election.

"Elated, honoured, humbled; it's democracy in action," he said.

"It's a wonderful feeling to be elected by friends, neighbours, people you know and people you don't across the constituency. It's a really humbling experience - and an emotional one.

"The last few days have been a roller-coaster for everyone in the campaign, not just the candidates but their families, friends, neighbours, the people who walked the roads the last few months. It has been a roller-coaster for everybody but it shows what we should value in this country, our democracy, giving people their say and making sure that people are held to account."

Now attention turns to distributing Mr Kelleher's surplus, with the race tight for the remaining spaces.

Independents 4 Change candidate Mick Wallace looks set to secure a seat, with Deirdre Clune, Liadh Ni Riada and Grace O'Sullivan battling for the fourth and fifth seats - the so-called 'cold storage' seat - in the constituency.

Currently, Ms Clune is just under 2,000 votes ahead, with just 522 votes separating Ms Ni Riada and Ms O'Sullivan.

Update - 4.55pm: O'Sullivan hails 'miracle' transfers as Clune back in the mix in Ireland South

#Elections2019: Billy Kelleher 'elated' as he is elected as MEP for Ireland South

Green Party candidate Grace O'Sullivan said that she was sad that she had let people down before receiving a "little miracle" of transfers on the 16th count, writes Elaine Loughlin.

Ms O'Sullivan is right back in contention for a seat in Ireland South after picking up more than 8,000 transfers from Andrew Doyle and Sheila Nunan.

She has now leapfrogged Fianna Fail's Billy Kelleher, but the Cork North-Central TD is expected to edge back ahead once his running mate Malcolm Byrne's transfers are distributed.

But, Ms O'Sullivan said that she had started to doubt her chances before the last count and that she needs a huge boost from Nunan, in particular.

"I was looking for a little miracle and it has happened," she said, just after the 16th count was announced.

We knew all along that the Shiela Nunan, Labour vote would be a good transfer and we expected that there could be a green vote coming out of Andrew Doyle's because of the strong Green position in Wicklow. Now I am feeling very confident but there is still a way to go.

There are just a few thousand votes separating Ms O'Sullivan, Mr Kelleher and sitting MEPs Liadh Ni Riada and Deirdre Clune, with a nail-biting few hours ahead for the candidates.

Earlier, Mick Wallace was leading the way on 101,725 votes, with speculation rife that he could be elected.

Ms O'Sullivan said she had been "very concerned" before the announcement of the last count.

"It is a massive weight off my shoulders," she said.

"It is really hard. It is not just about the candidate but their children, their families, the party and all the people who were on the ground in the 12 counties. I was trying to ground myself because I didn't want to reflect back and think I had let them down.

I worked my ass off and we had a great team but I was feeling sad that I had let people down.

"We knew there would be a surge but I wasn't sure because of the geographical nature of the east coast vote and the transfer to Deirdre Clune but that is the gift, for me, of the whole election."

Earlier: Deirdre Clune right back in the mix in Ireland South

#Elections2019: Billy Kelleher 'elated' as he is elected as MEP for Ireland South

Deirdre Clune is right back in the hunt for a seat in Ireland South after a huge transfer of votes, writes Kevin O'Neill.

In the 16th count, the votes of her running mate Andrew Doyle and Labour's Sheila Nunan were distributed, with Clune picking up more than 20,000 of the 80,000 transfers.

It means that there is now just 4,000 votes separating four candidates in the race for seats.

It is a huge turnaround in the Fine Gael MEP's fortunes after a slow start when she picked up just 64,605 votes.

She was in the 7th after that count but is now right back in contention after the latest round of transfers. She is now less than 2,000 votes short of Liadh Ni Riada, with Billy Kelleher and Grace O'Sullivan slightly ahead.

The distribution of the Doyle and Nunan votes has also pushed Ms O'Sullivan ahead of Mr Kelleher in the race for seats, though Mr Kelleher is expected to take a significant portion of transfers from his now eliminated running mate Malcolm Byrne.

Byrne had just over 80,000 votes, the majority of which are expected to be split between Kelleher and Mick Wallace, with Wallace still leading the way on 101,725 votes.

The next count is not due until late tonight, with speculation rife that both Kelleher and Wallace could be elected.

More on this topic

Fine Gael to promise tax cuts as part of next election campaignFine Gael to promise tax cuts as part of next election campaign

No election until May 2020, government advisers are toldNo election until May 2020, government advisers are told

Councillors who bowed out at May's local elections to receive retirement gratuitiesCouncillors who bowed out at May's local elections to receive retirement gratuities

Sinn Féin candidate selection throws up election conundrums for other parties in KerrySinn Féin candidate selection throws up election conundrums for other parties in Kerry