Ganley gamble backfires as Libertas lose votes

Libertas leader Declan Ganley lost 3,000 votes in the European Parliament poll after his demand for an investigation into the allocation of ballots embarrassingly backfired.

Libertas leader Declan Ganley lost 3,000 votes in the European Parliament poll after his demand for an investigation into the allocation of ballots embarrassingly backfired.

The multi-millionaire businessman delayed counting at the North West constituency for nine hours after alleging that as many as 11,000 of his votes were given to a rival.

However, a systematic spot-check of the half a million votes at the count centre in Castlebar, Co Mayo, found that his first preference was 67,638, rather than the 70,638 originally declared.

It is understood the 3,000 votes wrongly allocated to the Libertas leader were in fact for eliminated Independent candidate Fiachra O’Luain.

A spokesman for Mr Ganley insisted the lengthy investigation was worthwhile, despite its embarrassing result for the anti-Lisbon Treaty organisation.

“Three thousand votes can be the winning and losing of an election,” he said. “Libertas believes it was a worthy exercise.”

The second count in the 11-county constituency, one the largest in Europe, eventually resumed after 6pm.

The revised figures make it even less likely Mr Ganley will take one the three seats in the North West.

Mr Ganley is expected to formally concede defeat this evening.

Ganley now stands on 67,638 votes, down from 70,638, more than 12,000 behind third-placed Jim Higgins (Fine Gael) in the three-seat constituency.

Independent candidate Marian Harkin MEP remains at 84,813 with Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher (Fianna Fáil) on 82,643.

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