Ireland resumes EU elections count after transfer of votes row in Dublin

Counting has resumed in the European elections in Ireland.

The count was suspended in the Dublin constituency late on Monday night amid a dispute over the transfer of votes.

Green Party candidate Ciaran Cuffe and Fine Gael’s Frances Fitzgerald had already been elected by that stage.

European Parliament election
The Green Party’s Ciaran Cuffe celebrates with family and party members as he takes the first seat in the Dublin consistency in the European elections (Cate McCurry/PA)

Fianna Fail’s Barry Andrews and independent Clare Daly are in line to claim the two remaining seats.

However, Ms Daly has requested that the votes of Sinn Fein’s Lynn Boylan, who is set to lose her seat, are redistributed before the final declarations, as this could see her secure the third seat.

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 wll not be able to fill them until the UK actually leaves.

European People’s Party Congress – Dublin
Mairead McGuinness of Fine Gael topped the poll in the Midlands North West constituency (Niall Carson/PA)

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.

Fine Gael’s Sean Kelly is poised to take the first seat.

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
Alliance Party leader Naomi Long (Liam McBurney/PA)

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.

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