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Counting continues at the TF Royal Theatre in Castlebar, Co Mayo
Hold your horses

Mixed messages on Sinn Féin’s chances in the Midlands-North-West as counting continues

Sinn Féin’s Michelle Gildernew was ‘resigned’ to not winning a seat, though Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan said she’s still in the running.


SINN FÉIN COULD be in with a chance of holding on to a seat in the European Parliament for the Midlands-North-West constituency, according to incumbent MEP Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan.

The party’s seat in the constituency is currently held by Chris MacManus, who was co-opted into the seat in 2020 following Matt Carthy’s successful Dáil bid.

However, MacManus is well out of the running and yesterday told reporters that his lack of European Election campaigning experience contributed to his poor showing.

Meanwhile, Flanagan, Fine Gael’s Maria Walsh and Nina Carberry, and Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowen all look comfortable and Matt Carthy told reporters on Sunday that these four are all but guaranteed seats.

Outside of this top four, former RTÉ correspondent Ciaran Mullooly has a lead of around 12,000 on the next nearest competitor, Sinn Féin’s Michelle Gildernew.

Mullooly previously said it was important that he was ahead of Aontú’s Peadar Tóibín, and he has maintained a lead of over 17,000 votes on Tóibín.

Flanagan, who seems assured to hold onto his seat, told reporters that he thinks Gildernew is in with a chance of being elected.

That’s despite Gildernew telling reporters that she was “resigned” to not winning a seat and that she was “not overly optimistic” that she could overtake the 12,000 vote lead of former RTÉ correspondent Ciaran Mullooly.

But her party colleague Pearse Doherty then disputed this and claimed Sinn Féin was “not out of the race here yet” and remarked that there is “no read as to where transfers are going”.

However, Flanagan told reporters that he does in fact have a read on where transfers are going.

He’s been camped out at the TF Royal Theatre in Castlebar, Co Mayo since Sunday, and has often been seen with his head down, crunching the numbers.

He took a break from calculations last night to report that he’s taken a sample of around 1,000 ballots from the majority of the 27 candidates who stood in the election.

Taking to X, he later outlined his sums and said Gildernew “could be two thousand votes ahead of Mullooly with only Lisa Chambers’ votes left to distribute”.

In a later post on X, Flanagan added: “Hold your horses. Far from decided.”

Counting has continued until around 1am since Sunday night, and while there was previously optimism that a result could come today, that now seems increasingly unlikely.

And while a result could come tomorrow, candidates have said it may be Friday before the result is confirmed.

However, it could extend even further, with Flanagan saying as far back as Sunday afternoon that there could be a recount.

That would be bad news for fans of Tina Turner, as a Tina Turner tribute act is playing a sold out show in the count centre on Saturday night.

While some have been criticising the lenght of time taken so far to carry out the count, Flanagan has been taking it all in his stride.

In a further post on X, he hit out at people describing the count as an “arduous process”.

“How is it arduous?” asked Flanagan.

“It’s the ultimate display of how the democratic process works,” he answered.

“I love it. May it never change.”

This work is co-funded by Journal Media and a grant programme from the European Parliament. Any opinions or conclusions expressed in this work are the author’s own. The European Parliament has no involvement in nor responsibility for the editorial content published by the project. For more information, see here.


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