As it happened: Counting continues to fill MEP seats as all councillors elected

We’re still waiting for seats to be filled in Ireland South and Midlands North-West.

LAST UPDATE | May 28th 2019, 10:00 PM

IT’S NOW OVER four days since the voting started in the European elections but we’re still not halfway there.

We now have six of 13 MEPs elected with Dublin’s complement of four completed.  Counts in Ireland South and Midlands North-West are continuing late into the night, but are expected to wrap up shortly.

Meanwhile, the final council seats have just been filled – you can find the final, full list of councillors here.

We’ll have all the developments this evening as they happen, but to catch you up with what’s been happening go and take a look at our European election centre.

Good morning, Rónán Duffy here and I’ll be guiding you through the early hours of what we’ll call day four.

The count in the local elections is almost finished, with just six seats out of 949 to be filled, but the Europeans are dragging on. 

Hopefully we should have a full house of 13 MEPs by the end of the day but we’ll have to wait and see. 

Before we get on to talking about the messy business of electoral law being debated in the RDS. Let take a look at the state of play. 

Three European candidates have so far been elected, Mairead McGuinness (FG), Frances Fitzgerald (FG), Ciarán Cuffe (GP)

In Ireland South, we’ve had four counts and Fine Gael’s Séan Kelly is just shy of the quota of 119,866. He should be elected in the next few counts. 


In Midlands North-West, we’ve had four counts too. McGuinness got in on the first count and the rest below are looking for transfers.

Odds are the top four will stay as they are at the moment but the transfers of the two Fianna Fáil candidates will be crucial. 


Back to Dublin, where everyone is suddenly becoming very interested in electoral law.

The debate is over what happens to the vote transfers which would determine who would end up in third and fourth place. It all centres around the fact the fourth seat will not be available until the UK leaves the EU.

The dispute concerns what happens to the fifth place votes and whether they will be transferred or not. 

The fifth place candidate will be Lynn Boylan her transfers could make a difference to Clare Daly and Barry Andrews, if of course they are used. 

Gary Gannon has been eliminated in sixth place and his transfers have been counted, but those results haven’t been announced yet. 

Here’s how it looks ahead of that.


One person who has no such worries is the Green Party’s Ciarán Cuffe, who was safely elected in Dublin yesterday.

He told Newstalk Breakfast this morning that he’s delighted to be Ireland’s first Green Party MEP since Patricia McKenna was elected in 1999. 

He outlined why he thought his party performed so strongly:

I think very clearly it’s the climate change election and I think it’s been an election where the future of the planet hangs in the balance. I think what happened was young people knew this, young Irish students with their climate strikes showed us what Martin Luther King called ‘the fierce urgency of now’.

Speaking of McKenna, the former Green was one of those who had been saying that the problems we’re currently seeing in Dublin were inevitable. 

The Dublin count is resuming at 11 am so we should get more clarity from the returning officer then.

We have another count coming in now from Midlands North-West. 

We’ll have some numbers now in a moment. 

Here are the results of the fifth count in Midlands North-West and what it does to the numbers. 

Peter Casey (Ind) received the biggest number of transfers there, moving him a bit further away from Saoirse McHugh (GP) but still outside the top four who’ll be elected.

Both Dilip Mahapatra and Olive O’Connor will now be eliminated and their votes distributed. 


We’ve had two more counts in Ireland South too and we’re now finished count 6.

Seán Kelly is now just 486 votes short of the quota and will be elected soon.

The latest transfers have also given Mick Wallace (I4C) a bit of a boost, greatly helping his chances of election. 

He’s in third place in the five seater so is looking good. 


Fine Gael Junior Minister John Paul Phelan is having to do a bit of backtracking.

After going on  RTÉ’s Morning Ireland to say one thing, he’s now on Sean O’Rourke to take it back. 

It’s about the controversy over the Dublin count. The junior minister says it’s his understanding that that when Lynn Boylan (SF) is eliminated her votes WILL be counted.

He says this is because the Dublin count is to be counted as if it’s a three seater and that Clare Daly’s (I4C) argument is correct. 

“She’s right, absolutely spot on as far as I’m concerned,” he tells O’Rourke.

He says he quoted the wrong law on radio this morning

“The law that was quoted wasn’t the updated law… The amended law does require the votes to be distributed,” he says. 

Phelan calls it a bit of a “mea culpa moment”.

“Nobody died,” O’Rourke responds. “We had a lot of fun talking about it.”


There’s drama in Bantry too, where one of the six outstanding seats remains unfilled.

Fianna Fáil have got wind of what’s going on and aren’t happy. 

Every indication suggests that if Boylan’s votes are distributed then Daly will leapfrog Andrews into the third seat. In fact, she’s probably already there after the distribution of Gary Gannon’s votes. 

This would put Andrews in the ‘cold storage’ seat, the one that only becomes active when (if) Britain leaves the EU.


Not a full recount but a recount of Alex White’s 22,205 votes. 

Barry Andrews wants these recounted before we get into the business of Gary Gannon and Lynn Boylan’s transfers.

Our political correspondent Christina Finn is in the RDS and is following the recount

This count was the elimination of Alex White, whose surplus elected Fitzgerald, so they’re looking at where her surplus went after. 

Constitutional law lecturer at TCD David Kenny is another who said this confusion was always likely to happen and could have been avoided. 

Legal teams are now here in Dublin.

Slightly less dramatic than a troop of lawyers in suits with briefcases but serious business nonetheless.

3860 European Election Manifesto_90570121 Fianna Fáil candidates in MNW Brendan Smith and Anne Rabbitte. Leah Farrell / Leah Farrell / /

Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith looks like he’s fallen short of winning a seat in the European Parliament. 

The Cavan-Monaghan TD ran alongside his party colleague Anne Rabbitte TD in a strategy that’s been criticised by some within the party

Despite the electoral defeat, his first since 1992, Smith told Northern Sound FM he would be running again in the next general election.

I don’t know who started that rumour but I can totally dismiss it for you because I’ve always said that regardless of the outcome, whatever way the European election went, that I would be continuing to represent this constituency and I would be seeking the support of the people in the next general election.  

Here’s the latest from Ireland South after Colleen Worthington’s votes are distributed.

It’s put Kelly within 321 votes of re-election and he’ll probably be elected at the next count, which will be the distribution of Peter O’Loughlin’s (Identity Ireland) votes.

Billy Kelleher TD is also inching towards a seat but he says it’s hard to take anything for granted at this stage.

“Well, I have been standing for elections since 1992 and I have seen people that were very confident and their hopes being shattered and vice-versa. Agony and ecstasy are very close in this particular business of elections.”


Hello! Aoife Barry here temporarily, while Ronan grabs some lunch.

It’s been a full-on few days at the count centres – but during moments of quiet, the journalists have been wondering about a few things…

If you want to delve more into the law behind the discussions over the vote transfers in Dublin, this thread might be of interest.

We mentioned that Trinity lecturer David Kenny has weighed in, the comments in response to his tweet got even more granular.

Rónán back here and it’s just got very busy.

We’ve counts in from Dublin, Ireland South and Midlands North-West.

We’ll start with Dublin where the result of the 15th count (Gary Gannon’s transfers) have finally been announced.

That count, as expected, has seen Clare Daly (I4C) leapfrog Barry Andrews (FF) into the third seat. That leaves Andrews in the Brexit-dependent fourth seat. 

Sitting MEP Lynn Boylan (SF) has now been eliminated and those transfers are also being distributed.

Whether this would happen or not was the big question but it’s unlikely to make much of a difference at this point. This is because Daly is likely to benefit from Boylan’s transfers to a much greater degree. 

Fianna Fáil disagree with the returning officer’s decision but at the end of the day it doesn’t make much odds to Andrews now. 

We’ll give you the exact figures in a second but for now here’s the announcement.

12562 Clare Daly Sam Boal / Sam Boal / /

Clare Daly TD wearing a Free Assange t-shirt in the RDS ahead of being elected as an MEP. 

And here are those numbers in Dublin showing how Clare Daly took about a third of Gary Gannon’s transfers to move into third place ahead of Barry Andrews. 


And now to Midland North-West where we have the results of the sixth count.

The transfers from Dilip Mahapatra (Ind) and Olive O’Connor (Ind) were pretty evenly spread so they haven’t made much of a difference to the overall standings.

The main question in this count is whether Peter Casey (Ind) can get enough transfers to overtake Maria Walsh (FG) to take the last seat.

At this point it’s looking unlikely that he’ll do so but he’s not giving in yet.

Casey has told the Irish Examiner that he should receive transfers from Michael O’Dowd (Renua), Fidelma Healy Eames (Ind) and the two Fianna Fáil candidates.

He may do, but he’s about 13,000 votes behind so he’ll need to do very well.

Here’s the state of play in Midlands North-West after six counts.


Remember when I said about an hour ago that Seán Kelly would ‘probably’ be elected on the next count? 

Well….. he wasn’t.

The Fine Gael MEP needed 321 transfers to take a seat and he got just 170 from the eliminated Peter O’Loughlin of Identity Ireland. 

The Ireland South constituency has five seats, including the one Brexit-dependant one, sand there are several people who have a chance of taking it.

The Green Party’s Grace O’Sullivan is currently in fifth place and she’ll be hoping to stay there and win her party its second MEP seat. 

With Saoirse McHugh (GP) out of the running in MNW, it would perhaps be a bit disappointing for the Green Party if it only came away with one MEP seat after Friday’s exit poll suggested they could win three seats.
Here’s the state of play after eight counts.



The Kerryman is the first MEP to be elected for the area, reaching the quota on the ninth count.

Kelly topped the poll yesterday and has been on the cusp of re-election for several counts.

Ahead of the ninth count, Kelly needed just 151 votes to reach the quota and he received 168 transfers after Allan Brennan was eliminated. 

We had hoped that we’d have an official declaration in Dublin soon confirming Clare Daly and Barry Andrews as the final two MEPs.

It’s practically all over after the recount was resolved but Lynn Boylan’s transfers still have to be doled out.

The latest we have is that there’ll be a result at about 4.30pm.

In some non-Irish election news, the fallout from the MEP elections in the UK is continuing.

Today’s major news is that former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell has been expelled from the party after he admitted to voting for the Liberal Democrats.

Campbell had plenty to say about the decision.

Fine Gael’s Yemi Adenuga, who you may recognize from Gogglebox, made history yesterday by becoming the first black woman elected onto a council in Ireland. 

Adenuga was voted onto Meath County Council in the Navan electoral area. 

Speaking to LMFM today, the new councillor said her candidacy wasn’t about ‘making history’ but rather about representing people. 

When you set out to do something you don’t know you’re making history, it was only yesterday that people started relating to me that, ‘look, do you realise you’re the first black woman to be elected to any council in the Republic of Ireland?’ And for me that was amazing.

“I believe that something interesting and amazing is going to be happening in Ireland, diversity is no longer just a word, it’s action. And I believe there are so many people in this nation of diverse backgrounds have so much to bring and can offer to the economy.”



PastedImage-37119 Christina Finn Christina Finn

Daly has taken the third seat and Andrews the fourth, it means that Andrews will have to wait until Brexit happens to take his seat. 

Barry Andrews has been speaking to RTÉ’s Drivetime about winning the fourth seat in Dublin, a bittersweet victory that means he’ll have to wait until after Brexit to actually take his seat.  

“It’s been a long count and a long campaign and I’m just delighted to win a seat back in the national capital, it’s been a long time for Fianna Fáil and hopefully part of a recovery of a party more generally,” Andrews says. 

“It’s an unusual situation, unprecedented in fact but Brexit is the context that this is happening but I’m delighted to win the seat. Ultimately, one doesn’t want Brexit to happen, it really is such a negative thing.”

I’ve been studying Brexit for the past two years in the Institution of International European Affairs and you don’t actually have to be studying it to actually understand the damage it can potentially do, both for Ireland and for Britain and more widely for the European Union, so nobody wishes it to happen. 

“It’s a really damaging thing but if it happens I’m ready to take my seat and I think Ireland faces a crisis of influence actually in the European Union post-Brexit.” 

Clare Daly tells Drivetime that she ran her campaign on a “raggle-taggle” budget and supporters.

We’re very clear that Europe is where to tackle the big issues… There’s the issue of the EU army, an urgent need to take on the big corporations in terms of fossil fuels…in this era of climate change we’ll need to change that and look at changing fiscal rules.

She’s asked if she’ll join the Green grouping in the European Parliament: “The Greens are a bit of a mixed bag – they’ve been in government in six different countries, including Ireland, and haven’t changed much in terms of climate change.”

Daly said that she was sorry to see that Lynn Boylan lost her seat, and that she had been an excellent MEP, and had said that “throughout the campaign”.

Belgium Europe Summit Taoiseach Leo Varadkar arriving for a meeting of the European People's Party in Brussels. PA Images PA Images

While all this has been going on back home, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is in Brussels for a meeting of the European People’s Party in Brussels. 

It comes as EU representatives look to vote on a new Commission president to replace Jean Claude-Juncker, who was from the EPP. 

The EPP remains as the largest party in the European Parliament after last week’s vote but it has lost some MEPs.  

“I had a very good meeting earlier on with the EPP party leader… I’m somebody who believes in a more democratic Europe,” Varadkar said. 

The EPP has won the most seats so the next President of the European Commission should reflect that, Varadkar said.

“There’s no question that the Brexit party did well in the European elections in Britain, so did Remain parties if you add up their results.”

He said that the results in the North were particularly remarkable, as a non-unionist or nationalist MEP, Naomi Long, has been elected for the first time.

Varadkar said that he couldn’t predict whether there would be a new British government or not, but said that Ireland and the EU would stand by their position.

This is how the make up of the parliament is looking, it includes Britain’s MEPs that are of course schedule to leave in the coming months.


In the meantime, we’ve also had a count in Midlands North-West. That’s count number 7. 

These were the transfers from Renua’s Michael O’Dowd and and Peter Casey (Ind) did do well out of them, just as he said he would. 

It wasn’t overwhelming though and out of 7,677 transfers Casey picked up 1,033 votes. 

This brought him about 700 votes closer to Maria Walsh but he still lags about 12,000 behind her in the race for the last seat. 

Here’s how it looks now.


Okay, given that we have a little bit of a lull I (Rónán) will be taking this opportunity to bow out. 

My colleague Gráinne Ní Aodha will be taking over for the evening as we hope for some more seats filled.

Thanks for joining us! 

Gráinne Ní Aodha here taking over the Liveblog as we get the latest count results from the Midlands North-West and from Ireland South.

Here’s how things currently stand, from Kathleen McNamee at the Castlebar count centre:

“While most people thought Flanagan would benefit the most from Brennan’s transfers, it was actually Carthy who fared better. Interesting because he’s not been the most transfer-friendly so far.”

Here’s how things stand.

Luke Ming Flanagan, Matt Carthy, and Maria Walsh are set to join Mairéad McGuinness in Brussels, while Presidential candidate Peter Casey is in 5th on 10.21% and Green Party Saoirse McHugh sixth on 9.32%, and look to lose out on a seat.


Some analysis here from Luke Ming Flanagan on what happens next.

The quota is very high in the Midlands North West area, at 118,986 votes.

A friendly reminder that your vote does count: The Labour Party’s Anne Ferris has been elected to Wicklow County Council’s last seat – after getting one vote more than her rival candidate. 

Despite all the talk of Green Wave and Tsunamis, this is by far the best maritime reference of the week.

The tide Lynn Boylan Twitter Lynn Boylan Twitter

There are intense discussions going on in Bantry, Cork, over how votes should be interpreted… 

We’ve done a piece on spoiled votes here, where you can have a read about why this debate is so important for final tallies. 

We’ve had a 12th count in Ireland South, and still no one has reached the quota.

Mick Wallace has, however, leapfrogged Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher, and is in the second place spot now. 

Another count, another quota not reached.

Luke Ming Flanagan, Matt Carthy, and Maria Walsh are still poised to take the three MEP seats left, while Peter Casey and Saoirse McHugh are the runners-up.



We have just four councillors left to confirm, after the SocDems’ candidate was confirmed in Bantry. 

The final four councillors to be elected are in Longford.

So here’s the final list of councillors

In short, it represents a massive blow for Sinn Féin, cain for Fianna Fáil and has given the Greens the majority in Dublin City Council. 

We’ve also seen the first black female councillor elected; Hazel Chu win the largest percentage of first preference votes for a first-time candidate in Irish history; and two descendants of political dynasties – Haughey and Lemass – fail to get elected.


Here’s a greater breakdown of that local election result:

A lovely moment.


Here’s the result of Count 10, the distribution of Fidelma Healy Eames’ votes.


MNW 10

Mnw 10 2

We’re going to leave it there for tonight – things have quietened down considerably as we wait for the final counts from Ireland South and the Midlands North-West to come in.

No one will be elected then, based on the votes being transferred – so we should have our final team of MEPs by tomorrow.

Join us again tomorrow morning for the final leg of live election 2019 coverage. Slán.

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