Over half of constituency ballots rechecked

More than half of the total number of ballot papers cast in the Midlands-North-West constituency have been rechecked.

Over half of constituency ballots rechecked

First-preference bundles for Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, Mairead McGuinness, and Matt Carthy have been reviewed.

Count staff are checking each vote to make sure it has a number 1 for the candidate in question.

No major discrepancies have been found among some 330,000 papers. So far, only a handful of votes have been found to have been placed incorrectly in bundles.

Supporters of outgoing Independent MEP Marian Harkin say there will be no material change to the 275-vote gap between her and Pat the Cope Gallagher as a result of the recheck.

Around 70 volunteers travelled to the count centre in Castlebar to monitor the process, after the Harkin campaign issued a call for assistance yesterday.

Mr Flanagan is also helping out, along with key members of his campaign team.

Fianna Fáil said it is particularly keen to view the ballot papers of its other candidate, Thomas Byrne.

After his elimination, 16,013 votes were not transferable.

The party is hoping that some discrepancy in this regard may assist Mr Gallagher.

The recheck is progressing faster than was initially thought.

Fintan Murphy, the returning officer, said the way in which count staff have approached their task since votes were sorted on Saturday morning had made the job more straightforward yesterday.

It was hoped that the recheck would conclude late last night.

A decision on whether to call a full recount at that stage would rest with the individual candidates.

The decision to do a recheck was welcomed by both candidates.

Ms Harkin said if she was the one trailing, she would want a recheck.

She said: “If I was in Pat’s position I’d be looking for this and that’s why I’m quite happy that happens because this is the democratic process.

“We have to be sure that it is right and whoever wins at the end of the day that’s it. But we must make sure that it is right. I believe it will take more than one day.”

Mr Gallagher said the recheck was necessary because only the slimmest of margins separated them.

He said: “I welcome the offer by the returning officer to commence a recheck.”

“Of course, we have to take into consideration that the margin is just 275, which is less than 0.05%, and in the circumstances I am very pleased that the returning officer has done this.”

Exit poll proves accurate

By Stephen Rogers

One of the country’s largest market research companies has revealed a comprehensive nationwide poll it carried out ahead of last week’s European elections proved to be almost 100% accurate.

On May 23, Behaviour & Attitudes conducted a European elections exit poll on behalf of RTÉ.

The company surveyed a representative sample of more than 3,000 voters across all three Euro constituencies. Interviewing was carried out between 7am and 10pm, with results and analysis delivered to the broadcaster by 7am the following day for airing on that morning’s news bulletins.

“The exit poll proved to be remarkably accurate,” the company said. “In fact, the Behaviour & Attitudes RTÉ Exit Poll was 99% accurate in predicting candidate first preferences on the day.”

In the South, the difference between the exit poll and the result was just 0.8%, in the Midlands Northwest it was 1.1% and in the Dublin constituency it was just 0.6%. That gave a national average difference of just 0.86%.

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