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Saturday 30 September 2023 Dublin: 13°C
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When we can expect to elect our first MEPs and other essential things to know about today's counts
There’ll be battles for the final seats in all three EU constituencies while the council seats are almost filled.

ALMOST 48 HOURS after ballot boxes opened around the country, we’re still awaiting the election of our first MEP. 

Ciarán Cuffe should be the first European Parliament candidate elected when counting recommences in Dublin’s RDS. 

Meanwhile there are only around 80 council seats, out of a total of 949, still yet to be filled. 

Here’s what you need to know: 

Ireland’s EU elections

We’re still awaiting first counts in Ireland South and Midlands North West, where the sheer volume of paper – not to mention the length of the ballot papers – has been slowing the process down. 

A first count in Ireland South is expected between 1pm and 3pm today and a first count in Midlands North West is expected around noon or lunchtime. 

In the South constituency Fine Gael’s Sean Kelly, Sinn Féin’s Liadh Ní Riada and Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher are expected to take the first three seats. In the mix for the fourth and fifth seats are Independent Mick Wallace, Green Grace O’Sullivan, Deirdre Clune of FG and Fianna Fáil’s Malcolm Byrne.

In Midlands North West sitting FG MEP Mairead McGuinness is expected to top the poll, with fellow returning MEPs Luke Ming Flanagan and SF’s Matt Carthy likely to take the next two seats and FG’s Maria Walsh and Green Saoirse McHugh in the mix for the fourth, potentially in a three-way battle with Peter Casey. 

Dublin will be starting its eighth count this morning, but, with Green Party poll topper Cuffe still some distance off the quota there could be at least three more counts before he gets over the line. 

Frances Fitzgerald of Fine Gael is set to take the second seat in Dublin, followed by either Barry Andrews of FF or Independent Clare Daly. Sinn Féin outgoing MEP Lynn Boylan could, also, potentially clinch the final seat there. 

FRANCES FITZFERALD 8L5A6170_90571841 / Leah Farrell Frances Fitzgerald keeps an eye on the count. / Leah Farrell / Leah Farrell

Local elections  

There’s less than 80 seats left to fill in the country’s local authorities, with some slots filled in the early hours of this morning – including in Galway, where former TD Colm Keaveney (FF), was among a group elected in the Tuam area on the seventh count. 

Counts will continue in just a handful of counties today, including in Cork City and County Councils, Donegal, and in Meath where logistical problems meant the first count couldn’t begin until yesterday morning. 


The UK will send 73 MEPs back to Europe in the wake of the election Theresa May said would never happen. 

The Brexit Party has surpassed expectations securing 28 seats, while the Liberal Democrats have seen 15 candidates elected and Labour ten. The Green Party has seven seats, with the Conservative Party on three and Plaid Cymru of Wales on one. 

Scotland will not declare any of its results until this morning as it awaits results from one region, while Northern Ireland’s count will not begin until 9am (NI doesn’t count on a Sunday due to a long-standing Christian observance).

Whatever happened to the plebiscites? 

While we had a result in the divorce referendum (it was a ‘yes’) on Sunday morning, we’re still awaiting word on the ‘other’ other vote: plebiscites on whether to introduce directly-elected mayors were held on Friday in Cork, Limerick and Waterford. 

The ballots are yet to be counted in those three areas, but indications are that the result may be a ‘no’ in all three.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin hit out at the government for its handling of the Cork city plebiscite at the weekend. 

“I am not going to be a party to a shambolic operation like this. I said it to the government. They can’t expect people to be coming in behind a proposal that is poorly thought out,” Martin said. 

He added: “This was just shambolic and a mess by the government.” 

The plebiscite had the support of the government with Fine Gael’s Simon Coveney campaigning for a Yes vote in recent weeks. Fianna Fáil stayed out of any campaigning for or against the proposal. 

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