#Elections2019: Dublin elects its four MEPs with Clare Daly in third spot

Dublin's four new MEP seats have finally been decided, after three days of counting.

#Elections2019: Dublin elects its four MEPs with Clare Daly in third spot

Update 4.37pm:Dublin's four new MEP seats have finally been decided, after three days of counting.

Independents4Change candidate TD, Clare Daly, has won the third seat, with Fianna Fáil's Barry Andrews securing the so-called "cold-storage" fourth seat, which can only be taken up once Brexit happens.

Ms Daly extended her lead over Barry Andrews after outgoing Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan's votes were redistributed.

The count was dramatically suspended last night after legal teams for both candidates had raised concerns over whether Boylan's votes would be transferred.

Update 3.10pm:

After almost 34 hours of counting Sean Kelly has become the first MEP elected in the Ireland South constituency.

The former president of the GAA received 119,444 first preference votes, but had to wait until the ninth count before being re-elected to the European Parliament.

Independents4Change candidate Mick Wallace and Fianna Fáil TD Billy Kelleher are now in the hunt for enough transfers to get them over the line in second position.

Mr Wallace, who performed better on first preferences than exit polls had suggested, has also received the lion's share of transfers from the majority of eliminations

After the first count there were 2,342 votes between Billy Kelleher in second position and Mick Wallace in third, however, after eight counts that gap had reduced to 1,070 votes.

Sinn Féin's Liadh Ní Riada, Grace O'Sullivan of the Green Party, Fianna Fáil's second candidate Malcolm Byrne and outgoing Fine Gael MEP Deirdre Clune are expected to be battling it out for the final two seats. However, it could be late on Thursday before all five MEPs are elected in Ireland South.

Update 3.04pm:

By Fiachra Ó Cionnaith, in Castlebar, Co Mayo

Controversial presidential race runner-up Peter Casey has predicted the final seat in the Midlands North West MEP election will come down to a three-way battle between himself, Fine Gael's Maria Walsh and Sinn Féin's Matt Carthy.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner this afternoon, Mr Casey said: "I am very much in the mix" and that he believes he is set to benefit from a vote surge due to transfers overcoming counts from Renua's Michael O Dowd, Independent Fidelma Healy Eames and Fianna Fáil.

File photo of Peter Casey.
File photo of Peter Casey.

After six counts in the sprawling 13 county constituency, just one candidate - sitting Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness - has been elected, after cruising home on the first count with the highest first preference haul in the country.

However, while Independent MEP Luke 'Ming' Flanagan is likely to join her on the four-seat podium in the coming 24 hours, the race for the final two seats is still tight, with the sixth count just after 2pm showing:

* Luke 'Ming' Flanagan, Independent, is on (+631) 87,964 - (quota of 118,986)

* Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin, (+375) 79,028

* Maria Walsh, Fine Gael, (+694) 71,425

* Peter Casey, Independent, (+390) 58,602

* Saoirse McHugh, Greens, (+898) 53,966

* Brendan Smith, Fianna Fáil, (+125) 44,255

* Anne Rabbitte, Fianna Fáil, (+273) 31,471

* Dominic Hannigan, Labour, (+211) 13,408

* Fidelma Healy Eames, Independent, (+826) 17,590

* Cyril Brennan, Solidarity-People Before Profit, (+188) 8,553

* and Michael O'Dowd, Renua, (+232) 7,677

With no one elected on count six, the lowest performing candidate at that stage - Mr O'Dowd, who is the brother of Fine Gael TD Fergus O'Dowd - was eliminated, with his 7,677 votes now due to be spread out in count seven.

Mr Flanagan has predicted on Twitter that he will win the second seat and come in above the quota at some point either tonight or more realistically on Wednesday morning.

He has also predicted that the two final seat winners will come in under the quota, and has said it is possible that Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith could be pushed momentarily back in contention.

However, speaking with the Irish Examiner, Mr Casey questioned the prediction, saying his own tallies suggest he is "very much in the mix" - and that he expects transfers from Renua, Ms Eames and Fianna Fáil to come his way.

Asked if, provided he stays ahead of Fianna Fáil, he is effectively in a battle with Fine Gael's ex-Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh for the final seat, Mr Casey said: "Yep, I think that's right, the last seat is up for grabs and who out of the two of us is more transfer friendly, who would get more from Fianna Fáil?"

"I think Matt as well, he's definitely not home and hosed. Actually, I think I might hop over them both."

The likely next four counts which will dominate today and tonight's checks will most likely see transfers from Renua's Mr O'Dowd, Solidarity-PBP's Cyril Brennan, Labour's Dominic Hannigan and Independent Fidelma Healy Eames.

Update 2.30pm:

By Juno McEnroe, in the RDS, Dublin Independent Clare Daly is in poll position to win the third seat in the European Parliament Dublin constituency after a row with Fianna Fail candidate Barry Andrews over the counting of votes.

The two MEP hopefuls are trying to avoid coming in fourth, where they would effectively be frozen out of the European parliament for many months until Brexit goes ahead.

The disagreement has seen lawyers for both teams gathering in the RDS count centre and proceedings had more or less stalled overnight with the standoff.

Returning officer Fergus Gallagher this afternoon now decided to continue with the count and has eliminated Sinn Fein sitting MEP Lynn Boylan, who was in fifth place, and said her transfers will be distributed.

But the distribution of Social Democrats Gary Gannon's transfers has already pole vaulted Ms Daly into the lead, putting her ahead of Mr Andrews.

The transfers put Ms Daly on 65,683 votes compared to Mr Andrews who now falls back into fourth place on 63,177.

Transfers from Ms Boylan will almost certainly put Ms Daly beyond reach, guaranteeing the Independents4Change TD the third seat.

The row is complicated by the fact that no candidate wants the fourth seat. That seat only comes into effect if and when Brexit goes ahead. And that could take months.

Asked about the decision to share out Ms Boylan's votes, Ms Daly said she welcomed the move.

Mr Andrews said he did not want to "overshadow" proceedings. But he also said, when asked if legal action might be taken, that he was ruling nothing in or out.

The development comes after the minister in charge of the legislation for the European elections shifted his position in a matter of hours on whether Ms Boylan's transfers should be counted or not.

Initially, local government minister John Paul Phelan said on radio this morning that the fifth candidate's votes in the Dublin race should not be distributed. This was in line with the legislation, he claimed.

However, speaking on RTE radio later in the morning, he flip-flopped on the matter and said that Ms Boylan's votes should indeed be shared out.

Mr Phelan said:

“The updated law was amended by the 2019 Act which does require the distribution of both to determine the order of elections, because the order is important.”

This triggered criticism from academics as well as Fianna Fail who have questioned how strong the law is on the elections and highlighted problems around the extra so-called Brexit 'cold storage' seat.

Update 2pm by Kevin O'Neill: Sean Kelly is now just 151 votes short of reaching the quota.

It is expected that Mr Kelly will secure the final votes he needs on the next count when staff finish the transfer of Allan J Brennan's 5,132 votes.

The eighth count brought about very little change in the votes, with the biggest number of Mr Brennan's tallies going to Independents 4 Change candidate Mick Wallace, who has done well on transfers all day. He picked up another 351 on this count, bringing his total to 83,771.

Mr Wallace still trails Fianna Fáil's Billy Kelleher, though, with Mr Kelleher now on 84,841.

Liadh Ní Riada added 305 to her total, increasing her lead over Grace O'Sullivan, Malcolm Byrne and Deirdre Clune in the battle for seats.

But, it remains all eyes on MEP Sean Kelly, who now has 119,715, just 151 short of the quota of 119,866.

It now looks likely that Theresa Heaney will be eliminated on the next count.

Meanwhile, outgoing Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has been eliminated in the Dublin European Election Count.

Her votes are being redistributed, which should put Independents4Change Candidate Clare Daly into third position, and on her way to Brussels.

She has finally overtaken Fianna Fáil's Barry Andrews, who is now expected to take the new fourth and final Dublin Seat in the European Parliament.

This will be a so-called "cold-storage" seat, meaning he can only take up the seat if and when the UK leaves the EU.

Additional reporting by Digital Desk

By Kevin O'Neill and Elaine Loughlin

Update 12.30pm: Candidates in Ireland South are still awaiting the first election in the 12-county constituency.

Counting is continuing at Nemo Rangers GAA Club, with Identity Ireland candidate Peter O'Loughlin the latest to be eliminated. He was knocked out on the seventh count.

Fine Gael MEP Sean Kelly continues to lead the way and is now just 321 votes short of the quota. It is expected that he will reach the quota in the next two counts.

The seventh count involved the distribution of Colleen Worthington's votes, with Independents 4 Change candidate Mick Wallace picking up the biggest share of these at 556.

Mr Wallace remains in third, just over 1,000 votes behind Fianna Fáil's Billy Kelleher.

Sinn Féin's Liadh Ní Riada continues to perform well, with 79,945 votes, and Green Party candidate Grace O'Sullivan is a little further behind on 77,020.

Attention now turns to the distribution of Mr O'Loughlin's 4,181 votes.

Meanwhile, A "simple recount" is underway in the Dublin European Election Count at the RDS.

Fianna Fáil candidate Barry Andrews wants the count staff to look again at Count 14, which was the distribution of Labour candidate Alex White's transfers.

As things stand, Barry Andrews is ahead of Independents4Change candidate Clare Daly with Sinn Féin's Lynn Boylan in fifth.

A dispute has emerged over whether Boylan's vote should be distributed, which could put Daly ahead of Andrews and into third.

Whoever comes third will head to Brussels, while the fourth-placed candidate must wait for Brexit to occur.

In Cork, Sean Kelly has said he warned the EU Parliament that Ireland could face legal battles over cold storage seats when they were being distributed.

Mr Kelly said he expects the saga to end up in the courts.

A row over the transfer of votes and the so-called 'cold storage' Brexit seat brought a halt to counting in the European elections in Dublin last night and the Ireland South could see the same situation arising when it comes down the final fifth seat, which will only become available when Britain leaves the EU.

"It's a bit of a mess but Brexit was always going to be a mess and this is just another part of it," Fine Gael MEP Mr Kelly said.

I said it all along that it will probably end up in the courts, the lawyers will be delighted.

Ireland has received two extra EU seats, one in Dublin and one in Ireland South but they can only be taken up after Brexit.

Speaking in the count centre in Cork, Mr Kelly said: "I remember well, it was mentioned and came up for discussion, I said: 'For God's sake don't be distributing any seats until the British have actually left'.

"I had said that first of all it was discourteous, we were sitting down with British MEPs and talking about distributing their seats.

"Secondly I said there is a slight possibility at this stage that Brexit was not going to happen and what are you going to do then?

"And I said thirdly it would send out a good message that we are keeping all these seats in reserve for expansion.

"But they didn't listen to me and now we are in a bit of a mess as a result," he told the Irish Examiner.

Additional reporting by Digital Desk

Update 11.15am by Kevin O'Neill: Sean Kelly is edging closer to a quota in the Ireland South vote but is still a few hundred shy.

After the sixth count, the Fine Gael MEP picked up another 257 votes, leaving him 486 shy of the quota of 119,886.

Independent candidate Colleen Worthington was eliminated in the sixth count, as staff at the Nemo Rangers count centre start to make their way through the 23-candidate ballot.

The most recent count saw the distribution of Paddy Fitzgerald's 3,332 votes, with Dolores Cahill picking up the largest portion of these at 300.

Liam Minehan picked up 280, with Breda Patricia Gardner (228) and Mick Wallace (206) also taking a decent share of the transfers.

With Worthington eliminated, Identity Ireland candidate Peter O'Loughlin is now trailing, with 4,047 votes.

There has been little change at the top of the ballot, with Billy Kelleher, Mick Wallace, Liadh Ní Riada and Grace O'Sullivan still placed second to fifth.

Fianna Fáil's Malcolm Byrne has 69,511 votes and Fine Gael MEP Deirdre Clune is 7th with 65,005. Ms Clune is likely to be dependent on transfers from her party Andrew Doyle if she is to retain her seat.

Update 10.50am: The frontrunner in the Ireland South constituency is now fewer than 800 votes away from reaching a quota.

After the fifth count at Nemo Rangers GAA Club this morning, Sean Kelly is just 743 votes off reaching the quota of 119,886, with expectations growing that he will be the first candidate elected in the 12 county constituency this morning.

He took a step forward this morning, picking up 350 transfers from Walter Ryan-Purcell, who was eliminated last night on the fourth count.

Independents 4 Change candidate Mick Wallace and Green Party candidate Grace O'Sullivan continued to prove friendly to transfers, picking up 323 and 272 votes respectively.

Fianna Fáil's Billy Kelleher remains in a strong position with 84,388 votes to date, and Sinn Féin's Liadh Ní Riada is also still in the mix with 79,573.

Independent candidate Paddy Fitzgerald was eliminated in the count, with the process of transferring his 3,332 votes now ongoing.

Meanwhile the Dublin European Election count is due to resume following a dispute between Independents4Change Clare Daly and Fianna Fáil's Barry Andrews over the final seat.

As things stand, Barry Andrews is ahead of Clare Daly, meaning she would only become a sitting MEP after Brexit.

The disagreement is over whether Lynn Boylan's vote should be distributed, which could put Daly ahead of Andrews and into third.

After discussions between the Returning Officer and the two parties, it was decided to suspend counting until 11am.

But this could end up in the courts.

In the Midlands North West constituency, Fine Gael’s Mairead McGuinness topped the poll and was elected on Monday.

Independent Luke “Ming” Flanagan will also be hoping for a return to the European Parliament.

Sinn Fein’s Matt Carthy, Fine Gael’s Maria Walsh – a former Rose of Tralee – and former presidential candidate Peter Casey, who is standing as an independent, are also vying for the three seats that remained unfilled on Monday.

Counting is also continuing to fill the last remaining of the country's 949 council seats.

Fianna Fáil has retained its position as the largest party at local government level, with Fine Gael not making the gains it had hoped for.

The Green Party enjoyed a surge in support, while Sinn Fein suffered a bruising poll, losing many councillors.

Additional reporting by Digital Desk and PA

Earlier: Three of 13 MEPs elected as count goes into third day

Update 7am: Three of Ireland's 13 European Parliament seats have been filled so far.

Mairead McGuinness, Ciaran Cuffe and Frances Fitzgerald have all been elected and counting will resume in the three constituencies this morning.

A dispute over the final two Dublin seats led to the suspension of counting at the RDS last night.

The row centres on which of the two candidates will take up the final so-called "cold storage" seat, which can be only be taken up once Brexit happens.

Fianna Fáil's Barry Andrews and Independents4Change Clare Daly are in contention for the third seat, after Ciarán Cuffe and Frances Fitzgerald were elected.

Clare Daly is in fourth position, behind Barry Andrews.

It's unclear if Sinn Fein's Lynn Boylan, who will be eliminated after the next count, will have her votes transferred.

They could leap-frog Clare Daly ahead of Barry Andrews, meaning he would have to wait for Brexit to take his seat in Brussels.

The count has been suspended until 11am.

Seán Kelly will be the first MEP elected in the Ireland South constituency in the European elections later.

He is just over a thousand votes off the quota after 4 counts.

Fianna Fáil's Billy Kelleher is currently second, with independent Mick Wallace in third, followed by Sinn Féin's Liadh Ní Riada and the Green Party's Grace O'Sullivan.

Billy Kelleher says it is hard to take anything for granted at this stage.

"Well I've been standing for elections since 1992 and I've seen people that were very confident and their hopes being shattered and vice-versa, so agony and ecstasy are very close in this particular business of elections," he said.

Fine Gael look set to take two seats in the Midlands-Northwest constituency.

Today's count will go into its third day in Castlebar.

Independent Luke 'Ming' Flanagan and Sinn Féin's Matt Carthy are on course to retain their seats.

Former Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh is in pole position to take the final seat.

She benefitted greatly from Mairead McGuinness's surplus after her election, but the first-time candidate isn't taking anything for granted.

"Yes, Mairead was great and seeing 38-40% of her surplus come to me was fantastic but we've a long 48 hours [to go]," she said.

"I'm listening to the experts, the tallymen, and they said they could be here until Thursday. We keep chipping away but the quota is so large and we'll see what the next couple of days look like."

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