Four seats filled in European elections in Ireland

Four seats in the European elections in Ireland have been filled.

Fine Gael MEP Sean Kelly took the first seat in the Ireland South constituency.

The former GAA president was elected on the ninth count with 119,883 votes, after surpassing the quota of 119,866.

It is now a battle between Fianna Fail’s Billy Kelleher and Independents4Change candidate Mick Wallace to claim the second seat.

European Parliament election
European Parliament election

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein’s Lynn Boylan has been eliminated from the Dublin constituency and her votes will be redistributed following a dispute over the transfer of votes.

Independents4Change TD Clare Daly, who is ahead of Fianna Fail’s Barry Andrews, is expected to take the third seat.

Speaking afterwards, Ms Daly said: “We are glad that decision has been maintained.

“I was always happy with the process. We weren’t the ones who questioned any of it.

“I think the count has been carried out excellently, efficiently and very well.

Earlier on Tuesday, a recount was ordered following a request from the Fianna Fail candidate.

Green Party candidate Ciaran Cuffe and Fine Gael’s Frances Fitzgerald have already secured their seats in this constituency.

European Parliament election
European Parliament election

Ms Daly is in line to claim the third seat with Mr Andrews taking the fourth seat.

Ms Daly had requested that Ms Boylan’s votes were redistributed before the final declarations.

The issue is significant because whoever comes in fourth will face a wait to formally take their seat.

The fourth seat in Dublin is one of two extras Ireland has been allocated as a result of the Brexit vote.

Those candidates who take Ireland’s two additional seats at Brussels and Strasbourg will not be able to fill them until the UK actually leaves.

European People’s Party Congress – Dublin
European People’s Party Congress – Dublin

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.

In the Ireland South constituency, no-one was elected at the close of a second day of counting on Monday night.

None of the 23 candidates on the 2ft long ballot paper reached the quota after a marathon first count at the Nemo Rangers GAA Club in Co Cork.

The sheer size and volume of the ballot papers have delayed progress at the count centre – more than 200 staff are grappling with 750,000 ballot papers, weighing 7.5 tonnes.

Fianna Fail’s Billy Kelleher came in second when the first preferences were totted up.

He was followed by Independents 4 Change candidate Mick Wallace, Sinn Fein’s Liadh Ni Riada, the Greens’ Grace O’Sullivan, Fianna Fail’s Malcolm Byrne and Fine Gael’s outgoing MEP Deirdre Clune.

Counting is also continuing to fill the last remaining of Ireland’s 949 council seats.

Fianna Fail 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.

Friday’s election day also saw voters deliver a resounding Yes vote to liberalise Ireland’s divorce laws, with the length of time separated couples must wait to obtain a formal divorce now set to be halved.

There were also plebiscites in Cork, Waterford and Limerick on government proposals for directly elected mayors with executive functions.

Voters in Cork and Waterford rejected the idea, but Limerick voted in favour.

Northern Ireland power sharing
Northern Ireland power sharing

In the European election in Northern Ireland, the cross-community Alliance Party registered another electoral upset when leader Naomi Long took the second seat.

Incumbent MEPs Diane Dodds, of the DUP, and Sinn Fein’s Martina Anderson secured the other two seats in Monday’s count.