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#Elections2019: Clare Daly says fight for Dublin seat could go to the courts

#Elections2019: Clare Daly says fight for Dublin seat could go to the courts

Independent Clare Daly has insisted she will fight for a seat in Dublin amid suggestions a row over transfers in the European elections could go to the courts.

A row over the transfer of votes brought a halt last night to counting and decisions in the European elections in Dublin, concerning the so-called fourth and last Brexit seat.

It had been expected that the ballot papers of Social Democrats councillor Gary Gannon would be distributed on count 15. But this came to a halt shortly after 11pm.

There was then a disagreement between campaign teams for Ms Daly and Fianna Fáil’s Barry Andrews over the distribution of transfer votes for the final two seats in the four-seater.

The row centres over whether Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan's votes can be transferred across to Ms Daly or Fianna Fáil's Barry Andrews when the sitting MEP is eliminated, as is expected.

Two seats have already been filed in the constituency, by the Green's Ciaran Cuffe and Fine Gael's Frances Fitzgerald.

Ms Daly's team say that the returning officer Fergus Gallagher earlier yesterday gave a commitment that those votes would be distributed and counted.

However, this would set a precedent as the last person to be eliminated in an election count usually results in the next highest candidate being elected automatically and without the votes being added on to any final tally.

While Ms Daly and Mr Andrews look likely to take the last two seats in the four-seater, neither want the fourth. The fourth seat only comes into play if and when Brexit goes ahead. It has been deemed the 'cold storage' seat, as the MEP elected to it may have to wait months or longer to go to Europe.

Ms Daly said it was her understanding that in Ireland South that they were counting the votes of the sixth candidate for the five-seater there.

Explaining the scenario, Ms Daly said:

That’s what we were told [about here] earlier. But it has changed when Fianna Fáil arrived. So now we don’t know.

Asked by the Irish Examiner whether the issue could go further than the count centre, Ms Daly answered:

“It is the returning officer’s prerogative to suspend the count because I think they want to assure themselves that the procedures they are applying are consistent with decisions they made earlier and consistent with the new legislation.”

She also admitted that the matter could end up before the courts.

Asked about the election row, Ms Daly also added:

“I’m not the one who started this.

“I’m not the one arguing, I’d like the outcome of the election to reflect the way that Dublin voters voted.”

“What I want to see is what I think the returning officer wants to see, which is consistent and fair procedure across the board, that’s his job.”

But Ms Daly also admitted she would do everything she could to fight for a Dublin seat, insisting “of course I would.”

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