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Dublin: 16 °C Monday 17 June, 2019
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RESULTS FROM THE local elections have been coming in fast all day and we have more than 840 of those seats filled around the country now.

All three count centres handling European election ballot papers have stopped for the night, without any MEPs elected, though we have had some counts in Dublin. 

We do already have the official result of the divorce referendum, which was confirmed late last night – an overwhelming Yes vote. 

And don’t forget that ballots still have to be counted in the three directly elected mayor plebiscites in Cork, Limerick and Waterford. That won’t happen until tomorrow.

Good evening! There may be another long night ahead as things are moving a bit more slowly with the counts than was expected. 

There are now more than 600 local election seats filled with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil bagging about 50% of those between them. Independents have also done well, while Sinn Féin has taken a hit in a number of places. 

At the RDS, the Taoiseach told reporters that the results today don’t change the fact that his decision on a general election will be based on what’s best for the country, rather than what is best for his own party.

Varadkar said there is a “mixed picture” in local election results for his party so far, but he said it appears as if Fine Gael will do well in the EU election.

He was asked again about TD Maria Bailey, who confirmed yesterday she was dropping her compensation claim against the Dean hotel. When asked whether he has confidence in her he replied “I do, of course” but added that he has questions to ask her about the recent controversy.

Reporter Olivia Kelleher has been speaking to Independents4Change TD Mick Wallace at the Cork count centre. 

He said his election chances in the Ireland South constituency in the EU election are wholly dependent on his performance on transfers – and on how Fianna Fáil holds up. 

“They were saying on the radio that Fianna Fail were doing better than the exit poll showed. That will be problematic for me. Malcolm Byrne is obviously a competitor with me for the fifth seat. So if he does better it is somewhat more difficult for me.”

Wallace admitted he wasn’t familiar with the count scene as he “only turned up for a few minutes” when he was elected in 2011 and 2016.

“I have never really watched the process before. I will probably see a bit more of it this time. I might learn something!”

He said the reception he got on the doorsteps was positive, people liked he “talks straight”. One member of the public did ask him about his sartorial choices and in particular his fondness for sporting the colour pink.

He joked that when he doesn’t wear pink people “get on to him’ about the absence of the colour.

If I wear pink they say ‘You always wear pink.’ So in actual fact I wear all the colours in the rainbow but pink is my favourite colour. I like green. I liked browns too. But I am probably biased in the favour of pink.

Wallace says he is optimistic for the future whatever happens over the coming days.

“Pressure is only for tyres. The people will make the call. I accept whatever comes. I will make the best of it either way.”

We spent most of yesterday talking about the RTÉ/TG4 exit poll because, well, it’s all we had for a good chunk of the day. In the UK, media outlets were not allowed to conduct exit polls – not because of the EU regulations but because of UK legislation. 

This means there won’t really be much of an indication of results there until we have first counts. 

Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin said he is “not at all disappointed” with his party’s results in the elections. 

Locally, Labour will get at least 57 seats, he said, with 20 new councillors in key areas.

He has acknowledged though that the results for the European elections were “not so good”. 

In case you, like Diarmuid are wondering about the sitting TDs who have run for European seats, Virgin Media TV’s Gavan Reilly has explained it. 

See, this time around Ireland has an extra two seats to fill which we have gained because Britain is leaving the European Union. But they haven’t left yet (let’s not get into that here), so their elected MEPs will be entitled to take those seats until it happens. 

Once that happens, the two Irish MEPs who were elected to those final seats will be able to take their places. 

“They only lose one seat when the next one becomes vacant, so they can continue to serve as TDs in the meantime,” Gavan said

Counting went into the early hours of the morning in some places, but we’re hearing that midnight will be the cut-off point in most count centres tonight. Counting is likely to go well into tomorrow (and probably Tuesday) anyway. 

Some news coming in from exit polls in France – it looks like Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party is estimated to have topped the European election vote. 

A projection for France 2 shows the party coming first with 23.2%, ahead of of President Emmanuel Macron’s grouping on 21.9%. 

Back at home, we’re really in the thick of it now as we try to keep up with the recounts being called.

Our news editor Sinead O’Carroll has been looking at recounts around the country:

Bantry West, Cork – to begin at 11am on Monday. This will be the 55th and final seat to be filled on Cork County Council. Independent Finbarr Harrington is just one vote ahead of the Social Democrats’ candidate Holly McKeever Cairns .

Galway City Central – full recount to begin tomorrow. It was called following a request from Labour candidate John McDonagh after the ninth count. He was just eight votes behind Martin O’Connor of the Green Party.

Galway City East – full recount will begin tonight as requested by Sinn Féin’s Mairéad Farrell. She is in jeopardy of losing her seat, 17 votes behind Eoin Hanley of the SocDems.

Shannon, Clare – Fine Gael’s Garret McPhillips requested the recount as he was just five votes behind Independent Gerry Flynn. This will be the second recount in the ward. It is being undertaken by staff tonight who resumed after a really short break.

Cabra-Glasnevin, Dublin City Council – Aine Clancy of Labour has requested a full recount and it will start at 9am tomorrow. There were just six votes in the difference between her and her party colleague Marie Sherlock.

South East Inner City, Dublin City Council – With just 12 votes separating Independent Mannix Flynn and People Before Profit candidate Annette Mooney, there will be a recount.

Trim, Meath – A complete recheck of the first count has to take place as 97 ballot papers that should have been allocated to Joe Fox were, in fact, given to Noel French. That would have elected Fox on the first count, deeming him elected with a surplus. That may have had knock-on implications so a check is important.

Independent councillor Ian McGarvey, Ireland’s oldest elected representative, has taken the third seat in the Milford electoral area of Donegal County Council.

He turns 89 this July and he told Donegal Daily that it has “always been a pleasure to assist people in difficulty”.

The National Women’s Council of Ireland has praised three Traveller women who ran in the local election.

Although they didn’t win a seat, the council said their campaigns were “the start of a breakthrough for greater representation of Traveller women in local government”:

We have another update from Olivia Kelliher in Cork. She’s been speaking to the candidates in the Ireland South constituency who are running for European seats.

She caught up with Fine Gael MEP Sean Kelly who has insisted his party is in the running to win two seats there, despite indicates from the RTÉ/TG4 exit poll.

“No votes have been counted yet and above all you have to realise that transfers have a big bearing on it – particularly when you have 23 candidates,” he said.

“There are going to be a whole pile of transfers and if they fall the right way they are going to push up candidates quite a lot.”

He also expressed support for the party’s electoral strategy:

At the start of this campaign there was an agreed divide between the party and the candidates and I have honoured that 100%. I wanted to show it could be done honourably without any changing or any deviation. I worked very hard in Europe – and I worked hard in Ireland. I recognise that sometimes people say that people don’t recognise what is going on in Europe. I think it is an example that if you work hard, people notice.

All of the seats in Carlow County Council have been filled (with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael taking 11 between them) and staff have been dismantling the count centre at lightning speed:

Speaking of the local seats, more than 670 of them have now been filled. If you want to check who your local councillor is, we have a handy list here

RTÉ is reporting that counting for Cork City Council has stopped for the night and will resume at 11am tomorrow. There is just one seat left to fill there tomorrow. 

Francis Fitzgerald was also asked about the prospect of a general election. She said she doesn’t see the immediate need for one… 

Obviously the elections are the big topic of the day, but there are other things going on in the world.

Here are some of the other news stories that have been happening today:

There’s less than an hour now until polls close in other European Union countries and that means Ireland will be able to announce results from that point. 

That doesn’t mean we will actually have any, unfortunately. There are indications that in Dublin there may be some eliminations tonight, but no seats announced.

We already know that it will be lunchtime tomorrow in the Ireland South count centre in Cork before we have a first count. 

And in Castlebar it will also likely be tomorrow afternoon before there is a first result. 

We’re hearing most count centres will close by midnight. 

Our news editor Sinéad O’Carroll has been looking at turn-out across the European Union, and this statement is in from a European Parliament spokesperson: 

“We will have more meaningful data on voters turn-out at approximately 11pm, once we get information from the UK.

“However, I am pleased to report that preliminary figures are the highest in at least the last 20 years. Indeed, this represents the first and significant increase in turn-out for the very first time since the first EU elections took in 1979.

The turn-out estimate for 27 member states – so excluding the UK – is now close to 51%. Depending on the UK turn-out figure after 11pm; we will see the estimate for the 28 member states – so including the UK – could vary between 49 to 52%.

“All data including results and projections will be updated continuously here.”

Source: European Parliament

The European Union also has its own projections for Ireland’s seats:

Fine Gael : 29% – 4 seats

Greens: 15% – 2 seats

Independents 4 Change : 15% – 2 seats

Fianna Fail: 15% – 1 seat

Sinn Féin: 13% – 2 seats

They’re only predicting for 11 seats, but we’ll be electing 13 people. Two MEPs will not take their seats until after Brexit.

You’d hardly know from looking at the UK section of the BBC News website that a European election is even happening. Can you spot it?

So you know that exit poll everyone was talking about all day yesterday? Well, talk at the RDS count centre is that it may not have been as close to the mark as people thought. 

There will be some very unhappy politicians around the country if that turns out to be the case:

As we await a possible first count in the European election in Dublin – or at least some eliminations – the results are still flooding in from the local count centres. 

There are now more than 740 of 949 candidates elected to councils. Don’t forget to check who’s been elected in your constituency:

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald speaking at the RDS in Dublin throwing a bit of shade at the exit poll. She said she is there to “get the real figures”.

She also said her party is ready for a general election if one is called:

Meanwhile the Green Party’s Ciarán Cuffe told our reporter Christina Finn that it ‘ain’t over ’til it’s over” and the only poll that matters is the one that comes out of the ballot box:

We have a first count in the Dublin constituency. There were 363,947 valid votes and no candidate has reached the quota of 72,790 votes. 

Ciarán Cuffe got the highest number  – 63,849. 

The candidate with the lowest number of votes, Tony Bosco Lowth, has been eliminated.

Here are the top five candidates after the first count:

Ciaran Cuffe – 63,849

Frances Fitzgerald – 59,067

Barry Andrews – 51,420

Clare Daly - 42,305

Lynn Boylan – 39,387

Cuffe speaking to RTÉ now says he is delighted with the results in the first count. Topping the poll and discussions yesterday about a possible surplus were not expected.

He spoke about housing and how it ties into climate change. 

Said unless we build houses in the centre of towns and cities – and not “damn shoeboxes” – we can’t cut down emissions from long commutes. 

Cuffe said the party will have to approach the issue of joining government in the future “very carefully” and would have to do so on the basis of policies that were possible to implement during that timescale. 

And we already have a second count – that was quick!

Tony Bosco Lowth’s transfers have been distributed, but still no one has reached the quota. 

This is happening a lot faster than we thought it would. We’ve had a third result already – no one as reached the quota in this one either.

Ciaran Cuffe is on 63,997 votes after the third count. The quota is 72,790. We might be here a while.

After a fifth count, pro-life candidate Eamonn Murphy has been eliminated and his 2,915 votes will now be distributed. 

Again, no one has reached the quota yet. Ciaran Cuffe is now at 64,406 votes.

Source: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

  • Frances Fitzgerald (FG) is at 59,317
  • Barry Andrews (FF) is at 51,708
  • Clare Daly (I4C) is at 42,673
  • Lynn Boylan (SF) is at 39,646
  • Gary Gannon (SD) is at 20,578

There seems to have been some kind of issue for European Union citizens who were voting in Dublin today. Some Romanian voters reporting they queued for hours and were unable to vote in the end. 

This was the scene outside the Romanian Embassy earlier this evening:

There were similar scenes outside this same embassy on the day of the Romanian presidential election vote in 2014.

So let’s take this dip in activity at home as an opportunity to talk about what’s going on in Britain.

In total, 73 MEPs will be sent back to the European Parliament from 12 regions, including Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. 

Many of them will belong to the eurosceptic Brexit Party as they enjoy 31.7% of the vote. 

The Conservative Party and Labour are in for a bad night, with many predicting complete collapse in certain areas.

Interestingly, turnout in the UK was three points higher than in 2014, but it was still low with 37% of registered voters going to the polls. 

You’ll find a full list of elected MEPs in Britain here

Counting for Ireland South has been suspended for the night – we’re not expecting to hear a first result from Cork or from Castlebar (Midlands North-West) until tomorrow afternoon. 

But we may get a couple of other counts in Dublin before they call it a night at the RDS. 

Source: Giphy

Sixth count in Dublin for the European election: Workers Party candidate Éilis Ryan has been eliminated. 

Ryan also lost her seat on Dublin City Council earlier today. 

And still no one as reached a quota. It looks like things will be wrapped up for the night soon enough:

Back to the locals for a minute – all 19 councillors in Offaly have now been elected:

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan spoke to RTÉ about the possibility she may lose her seat – she’s currently placing fifth, and there are four seats available.

Oh it’s kicking off a bit at the RDS now according to our reporter Nicky Ryan:

“Alice Mary Higgins (Independent) and supporters in a heated row with count centre staff – questioning the visibility of counts and ‘lack of transparency’,” he says. 

After a seventh count, Socialist Party candidate Rita Harrold has been eliminated. 

We still do not have an MEP in Dublin – no one is coming close to the quota yet. 

Following concerns raised by Alice Mary Higgins at the RDS, it appears there will be some changes at the RDS tomorrow:

The European counts have been put to bed here, but some of the local counts are still going. We thought it was a bit late for shoulder hoisting, but we were wrong:

Some more news from Britain. With full declarations from eight of 12 electoral areas, we can definitively say it’s been a belter of a night for the Brexit Party and an absolute nightmare for the Conservative Party.

Source: Alastair Grant

There will be no Tory MEP in London, the East Midlands, the North East, the South West, Wales or Yorkshire and the Humber (yes, that’s the name of a constituency).

So far, the Brexit Party has taken 21 seats. There has also been a bit of a green surge with the Green Party securing five seats so far; that’s already an improvement on its 2014 performance, when it returned two seats.

The South East is just being called now, with Nigel Farage the first successful candidate read out by the returning officer. In the same electoral area, two Alexandra Phillips’ have been elected – one a Green, the other a Brexit Party member.

Speaking after his election, Farage said the reason for his party’s success is”obvious”.

“We voted to leave in a referendum and we were supposed to do so on Mrch 29th and we haven’t.”

He said there is a “huge message” here for the Labour and Conservative parties and they can “learn a big lesson”. 

Farage said his party now wants to be part of negotiations with the EU. 

He said if Britain does not leave the EU by the new 31 October deadline, the success for his party seen today will be repeated in a general election.

“And we are getting ready for it,” he warned. 

Far-right candidate Tommy Robinson (real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) failed to be elected in the UK. He received 38,908 votes – a 2.2% share.

Jeremy Corbyn has commented on the results coming out in the UK election, which he described as a “proxy second referendum”.

With the Conservatives disintegrating and unable to govern, and parliament deadlocked, this issue will have to go back to the people, whether through a general election or a public vote. Labour will bring our divided country together so we can end austerity and tackle inequality. 

He said his party will not “let the continuing chaos” in the Conservative Party push our country into a No Deal exit from the EU. 

We mentioned earlier that the far-right National Rally party in France, led by Marine Le Pen, was set to finish top in the European elections. 

The latest update puts the party on track for around 24% of the vote. 

Le Pen, who lost out to President Emmanuel Macron in a bitter presidential contest in 2017, called for the head of state to dissolve the parliament and call new election. This proposal was immediately rejected by the government.

Source: Lafargue Raphael/ABACA

“It is up to the president of the republic to draw conclusions, he who put his presidential credit on the line in this vote in making it a referendum on his policies and even his personality,” she said.

Elsewhere in Europe, Poland’s governing right-wing Law and Justice party (PiS) narrowly came out on top according to exit polls. The PiS took 42.4% of the vote to win 24 of the country’s 51 seats.

A Belgian far-right party, the Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest) party is on course to be the second largest party in both Flanders and in the national parliament. 

In Italy, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s far-right League looks set to win the most votes. 

Germany’s far-right AfDis set to improve on its 2014 score of 7.1% with exit polls suggesting it will come in at 10.5%. 

However the Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom is expected to lose all its seats in the European Parliament.

That ‘Green Wave’ we are seeing in Ireland is being observed in a number of other countries in the EU – in Germany and Finland in particular:

As for the British results, it looks like we won’t get the final results until tomorrow as Northern Ireland will not start counting until the morning. 

Okay folks, that’s it from us here at TheJournal.ie HQ for the night.

We’ll be bringing you more updates as soon as the count centres open up again so get some sleep and come back to us bright-eyed and busy-tailed.

We may try this on the office door on our way out…

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