Euro recount may cost €1m and expected to take 28 days; A price should not be put on democracy: SF

Sinn Féin has defended the decision to call a recount in the Ireland South European elections - claiming a price cannot be put on democracy.

Euro recount may cost €1m and expected to take 28 days; A price should not be put on democracy: SF

Sinn Féin has defended the decision to call a recount in the Ireland South European elections - claiming a price cannot be put on democracy.

The Ireland South constituency will not be able to send any MEPs to Europe until mid-July after a full recount of the 750,000 votes was called.

While Fine Gael's Sean Kelly and Fianna Fáil's Billy Kelleher reached the quota in the initial count, they will be prevented from taking up their seats in Brussels and remain in limbo as MEPs cannot be officially declared elected until all of the five seats are filled.

Just five discrepancies were found in a recheck of the votes of both outgoing MEP Liadh Ní Riada and Green Party senator Grace O'Sullivan this morning.

The overall outcome from the recheck changed by just one vote with Ms Riada gaining three votes and Ms O'Sullivan obtaining two Just 326 votes now separate the candidates.

The recount, which is expected to take 28 working days, will begin in Nemo Rangers GAA club in Cork on Tuesday.

The process is expected to be lengthy due to the fact that many counters will now have to return to their ordinary jobs and will not be able to commit to the six extra weeks.

Speaking after the recount was announced, Sinn Féin TD Jonathan O'Brien said: "There were 750,000 votes cast so in order to have full confidence in the process not just for ourselves but for the people who took the bother to go out and vote on the day I think they deserve to have a very accurate result, the only way that we can get that is by having a full recount.

"I don't put any price on democracy."

Mr O'Brien added: "There were a number of discrepancies and we did a very partial recheck, I estimate about 2% of the votes cast were rechecked so there is still another 98% there left to be rechecked, we don't know how many errors are contained in that."

"Will it make a material difference? There is only one way to find out and that's to have a full recount," the Cork North-Central TD said.

In a statement tonight Jonathan O’Brien went on: “Our primary aim, is to ensure that those who voted receive a very accurate result.

“We must also make certain that the candidate who is eventually elected, be it Liadh or Grace, is satisfied that they were elected as an MEP fairly and squarely.

“Let me also be very clear on this point - Sinn Féin has absolutely no desire to prolong this process beyond the point of reasonability. We will monitor the recount closely and we will make decisions which best uphold the imperative of fairness and the public interest.”

Meanwhile, Ms O'Sullivan's election agent, Ed Davitt, said the Green Party is disappointed by the decision to call a recount.

Grace O'Sullivan
Grace O'Sullivan

"We are very concerned about the constitution of the new parliament that is supposed to happen on July 1, we have been told that we are looking at 28 working days for this process to complete itself, we don't thing the result will be overturned that would be relatively unprecedented in recount history in Ireland."

Speaking after the announcement, returning officer Martin Harvey said he would have loved to have been able to give a final announcement in the count but explained that Ms Ní Riada is entitled to a recount:.

"This is democracy in action and in progress and we will do what's necessary."

Mr Harvey said gardaí will remain in the count centre over the weekend to protect the ballots before the re-examination of papers begins at 9am on Tuesday.

"Unfortunately it will take time, what we are proposing is to count from Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm or 6pm, we won't count at weekends, if we did we wouldn't be able to get the staff to do that, so that's where we are.

"We will have reduced staff as most people will be gone back to work."

Mr Harvey went on to say the recount may cost up to €1m but pointed out that the true cost was not yet clear as it had not been estimated in full.

- Additional reporting by digital desk

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.