Recounts ongoing in three constituencies

COUNTS were continuing late into the night in Galway West, Laois Offaly and Wicklow last night to decide who will take the final seats in the 31st Dáil.

Almost 27 hours after he requested a recount of votes in the 10th count in Laois Offaly, Fine Gael’s Liam Quinn was eliminated shortly after 8.30pm last night. He was followed two hours later by Fianna Fáil's John Moloney.

The count was expected to continue into the night until the final four seats in the five seater constituency were filled. Fine Gael’s Charles Flanagan has already topped the poll.

Meanwhile, the count in Galway West could drag on to midweek with little progress being made yesterday after grinding to a halt on Sunday afternoon.

So far just two of the candidates — Fianna Fáil’s Eamon Ó Cuív and Derek Nolan of Labour — have been deemed elected, with five in contention for the three remaining seats. The count halted at 4pm on Sunday on the request of Fine Gael candidate Fidelma Healy-Eames, who was about to be eliminated as she trailed party rival Sean Kyne by 56 votes.

Senator Healy-Eames claimed there was a discrepancy in a city box and her request for a full recount was granted by returning officer Marion Chambers-Higgins. That recount began shortly before 7.30pm on Sunday night, was discontinued at 1.30am on Monday morning and resumed again at 10am yesterday.

The absence of announcements on how the recount was progressing added to the confusion and frustration throughout yesterday, with no official updates being given.

Tallymen predict Healy-Eames will be eliminated in the recount but the real fear is when the process resumes in earnest — an 11th count when Nolan’s surplus will be distributed — it will again grind to a halt with a recount request from one of the remaining candidates.

Tallymen predict that outgoing independent deputy Noel Grealish will hold his seat while Brian Walsh looks good to hold onto the retiring Fine Gael deputy Padraig McCormack’s seat. However, the battle for the fifth seat is likely to force another recount with Fine Gael’s Sean Kyne predicted to win it but the margin could be just a few dozen votes and that is likely to trigger a request for a recount from independent Catherine Connolly.

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