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Líadh Ní Riada eliminated as Sinn Féin withdraws request for recount in Ireland South constituency

Some 756,000 ballot papers were expected to be recounted, before the party withdrew its request.

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada
Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada
Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Updated Jun 4th 2019, 6:27 PM

SINN FÉÍN HAS withdrawn its request for a full recount of ballot papers in the European election constituency of Ireland South.

The party had called for the recount last week after a partial vote re-check left Green Party Senator Grace O’Sullivan just 326 votes ahead of outgoing MEP Liadh Ní Riada.

Some 756,000 ballot papers were expected to be recounted, before the party withdrew its request this evening.

The process was expected to determine who would take the fifth and final seat in the 12-county constituency: the ‘Brexit’ seat will become active once the UK leaves the European Union.

Fine Gael’s Seán Kelly and Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher reached the quota in the original count.

Independents4Change TD Mick Wallace looks set to take the third seat, and Fine Gael’s Deirdre Clune as well as O’Sullivan and Ní Riada had been vying for the fourth and fifth seats.

Ní Riada has now released a statement congratulating O’Sullivan on her election to Europe. 

“I am happy that the democratic process has delivered the clarity we sought given that the initial difference was so tight,” Ní Riada said. 

“I want to sincerely thank Returning Officer Martin A Harvey and his terrific staff for their diligence and hard work.

“We ran a hard fought campaign and we left everything on the pitch. Unfortunately, we came up short this time around. I want to express my undying gratitude to my office staff, my campaign team and every member of Sinn Féin and those who voted for me.

“I am incredibly proud of my term as an MEP. I always did my very best to deliver for constituents and to defend Ireland’s interests in the European Parliament. Over the past five years, Sinn Féin’s team of MEPs have stood up for equality, social justice and democracy. I am honoured that I was part of those efforts.

“For now, let me wish those elected for the coming term of the European Parliament all the very best for the work ahead.”

It was initially stated that the recount could take up to 28 days, and cost up to €1 million, but additional staff had been recruited to speed up the process.

The withdrawal of the recount request by Sinn Féin means that the count to determine the final seat will resume tomorrow, when Ní Ríada’s votes will be distributed to the remaining candidates.

With reporting from Stephen McDermott.

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