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#Elections2019: Deirdre Clune makes shock comeback in EU elections

#Elections2019: Deirdre Clune makes shock comeback in EU elections
Billy Kelleher chats with Deirdre Clune. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Fine Gael's Deirdre Clune has made an incredible comeback in the Ireland South constituency and is now in contention to take the fourth seat.

The outgoing MEP picked up more than 8,000 transfers in count 17, which also saw Fianna Fáil's Billy Kelleher elected to the second seat in the South.

Fine Gael's Sean Kelly topped the poll in the 12-county constituency and was the first elected.

Ms Clune was in seventh place after the first count, but has now made significant gains from the transfers of Fianna Fáil candidate Malcolm Byrne.

Speaking after the latest count, which now has put her in fourth position behind Mick Wallace on 97,935 votes, Ms Clune said: "It's too close to call but I think I have made a lot of progress in the last two counts, we will see if that continues, who knows.

You are talking geography, you are talking political parties, there is no tracking these votes and where they are going to end up. You just hang in there and wait for them to come count after count, it's narrowing now.

"We will sit here as long as it takes," she said.

Accompanying Ms Clune at the count centre in Nemo Rangers GAA club, Tánaiste Simon Coveney said Ms Clune has been a great MEP and had shown herself to be incredibly resilient throughout this election.

"Now in the count again she is showing herself to be incredibly transfer friendly, all of the candidates that are being eliminated are all transferring to Deirdre Clune and she has moved her way up the list and it now looks likely that she will be elected.

"We need to be careful how we say that because nothing has been concluded of course," said Mr Coveney.

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