Former SDLP leader concedes he is unlikely to win Dublin MEP seat

Former SDLP leader Mark Durkan has conceded he is unlikely to win an MEP seat in Dublin.

Mr Durkan ran as a Fine Gael candidate for the Dublin constituency in Ireland.

An RTE exit poll estimated his vote share was just 5%.

Arriving at the count centre at the RDS on Sunday evening, he said the possibility of winning the seat seemed unlikely.

European Parliament election
European Parliament election

“I’m not in here believing I am going to defy the gravity of the exit poll,” he said.

“But I don’t regret running, I’ve enjoyed the conversations with people across Dublin, I’ve enjoyed it as an experience.

“I’ve enjoyed listening to the arguments and the ideas of other candidates as well, I have huge respect for a range of other candidates.

“Those who are elected I wish well, those who aren’t elected I also wish well and I want to commend them because the quality of the debate whenever you listen to it in various hustings and discussions was very good.

“Unfortunately, it wasn’t a debate that was really platformed on the media and I can understand media generally treat local government and European elections as second order elections and I suppose when there are so many candidates, it’s hard to have meaningful debates in the usual way that happens in political discourse.”

European Parliament election
European Parliament election

Mr Durkan said running in an election in the Irish Republic was a “one off” due to Brexit, adding he has no current plans to do it again.

“I’m tattooed SDLP and the number of people who greeted me at the door as the SDLP man, and I wasn’t going to disavow them of that,” he said.

“But the fact is, I was invited to run in this European Parliament election for the unique and particular reasons about Brexit, it was only for that reason I was invited to run, it was mainly for that reason I accepted the invitation to run.

“I would have no plans to be running in other elections here.”