Cork North-Central TD Billy Kelleher has admitted he is in a “good position” after polling in second place in the first count in Ireland South, but says it is “far too early” to be certain of securing a seat.
The Fianna Fáil candidate said he was happy with the result of the first count, which saw no candidate reach the quota, but added that he was cautious of getting too comfortable at this point.
“It’s far too early to call one way or another. Clearly I’m in a good position, but I’ve been in good positions before and I’ve seen how to tight it can get towards the end of the counts,” he said.
Deputy Kelleher finished on 84,083 after the first count, behind Fine Gael’s Sean Kelly on 118,444, and ahead of Mick Wallace, Liadh Ní Riada and Grace O’Sullivan.
He conceded that that Fianna Fáil winning two seats was now a “long shot”, with councillor Malcolm Byrne well back in the vote count.
“Geography will come into it when candidates are eliminated, so it is going to be a difficult few days for the candidates bunched together, probably seven for four seats,” he added.