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#Elections2019: Sean Kelly tops Ireland South European poll; Clune in battle for seat

#Elections2019: Sean Kelly tops Ireland South European poll; Clune in battle for seat

Sean Kelly has topped the poll in Ireland South but has come in just shy of the quota.

After two days of counting the results of the first count were announced at 7.30pm, however the Fine Gael candidate was 1,422 votes short of the quota having received 118,444 first preferences.

Independent candidate Jan Van De Ven received the lowest number of first preferences with 1,423 votes which will now be distributed out.

Fianna Fáil's Billy Kelleher came in second with 84,083 votes, this was followed by Independents 4 Change candidate Mick Wallace on 81,741, Sinn Féin's Liadh Ní Riada on 79,072 first preferences and Green Party candidate Grace O'Sullivan with 75,946 votes.

Fianna Fáil have another candidate in sixth place, Malcolm Byrne, on 69,166 votes, almost 5,000 votes ahead of Fine Gael's Deirdre Clune.

After the announcement Mr Kelly said it was very satisfying to get 118,444 first preferences, especially since Fine Gael had fielded three candidates in the constituency.

"The fact that I come from the extreme south west of Kerry, people often vote geographically, it shows that we had a wide appeal and the hard work put in over the last number of years was recognised by the voters and I am most grateful to every one of them for giving me their number one."

However, he did not rule out bringing in another party colleague despite Deirdre Clune only receiving 64,605 first preference votes. Fine Gael's third candidate Andrew Doyle got 38,738 first preferences.

Mr Kelly said: "It's still possible that we will end up with two seats and I think the figures would indicate that we have a great chance so hopefully we can get the two seats."

There are five seats available in Ireland South, with the fifth seat becoming available after the UK leaves the EU.

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