Fine Gael supporters appeared confident the party was in line to take a second seat in the East constituency tonight as their sitting MEP arrived at the count.
Ms Avril Doyle said she was still cautious to say she had won the second seat for the party over Labour’s Peter Cassells but she admitted the last few days had been hard on her campaign team.
She said: “I’d be delighted if I won the second seat, real delighted. We are not there yet. I’ve had a wonderful team behind me and a wonderful campaign manager.”
Of her noted absence from the East constituency count hall in Garristown in County Meath as her running mate topped the poll, she said: “There wasn’t a story until recently.”
Finegael’s newcomer Mairead McGuinness was the first passed the post in the East in the early hours of Monday morning – some 17 hours after the sorting started.
Ms McGuinness turned up at the hall to offer her senior running mate her support as the count continued late into its second day.
Labour’s Peter Cassells was still 10,000 votes short of Ms Doyle. But only had a few thousand left than Sianna Fail’s Liam Aylward. Mr Aylward was expected to get the majority of his running mate, Seamus Kirk’s transfers if he was eliminated.
Sinn Fein’s John Dwyer and the Green Party’s Mary White have been eliminated from the race for the three seats, as were the six Independents.
The count is expected to go until late this evening as Mr Dwyer’s 46,547 votes are distributed and Ms Doyle is around 32,000 votes off the quota.
Mr Aylward needs 40,000 votes to get past the post, and Mr Cassells would need around 42,000.