European Election: Mick Wallace loses out as Kathleen Funchion (SF), Michael McNamara (Ind) and Cynthia Ní Mhurchú (FF) win final seats in Ireland South

Results: Barry Cowen expected to be elected alongside Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan as Midlands-North-West counting continues

Sinn Féin candidate Kathleen Funchion (left) celebrates at Nemo Rangers GAA club in Cork, after being elected as an MEP. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire


European Election Count

Local election count

All local council seats have all been filled, with Fianna Fáil becoming the largest party at 248 seats. The others are as follows: Fine Gael 245; Labour 46, Social Democrats 35; Greens 23; People Before Profit Solidarity 13, Aontú 8; Independents 186; Others 33.


The question of Ursula Von Der Leyen

Fine Gael’s new Midlands-North-West MEPs in waiting will support Ursula Von Der Leyen’s re-election bid. Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan used his post-election remarks to call on colleagues not to do so. Fianna Fáil said during the campaign that they would not.

The German president of the European Commission represents the European People’s Party, the centre-right bloc which is the largest in the EU parliament once again. Her position on Israel and the war in Gaza has been controversial in Ireland, where support for Palestine is strong.

But that’s not her only problem. Brussels Correspondent Jack Power and Berlin Correspondent Derek Scally joined Inside Politics this week to discuss the calculus at play in forming a coalition in Europe - and whether a backroom deal with Italy’s far-right leader Giorgia Meloni would lose her more votes than it gains.

A rightward shift in European politics

Listen | 35:40

Citizens of the EU used their votes in last week's elections to maintain centre-right control of the European Parliament, while shifting the overall makeup of the legislature a little further to the right. Brussels correspondent Jack Power joins Hugh to explore how the EU parliament has just changed, whether the new right will be able to form a voting bloc, and what the new Parliament means for EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen's hope's of a second term. And Berlin correspondent Derek Scally looks at the success of formerly fringe parties like the far-right AfD in Germany's European election. Could the taboo of far-right involvement in German national governance be nearing an end?

Cowen to be elected

The latest from Castlebar is that Barry Cowen is likely to be elected on the next count in Midlands North-West, Fiachra Gallagher reports.

The transfers from running mate Lisa Chambers will push him over the quota - giving him a surplus to be distributed.

That means another count to determine which of Nina Carberry, Maria Walsh, Ciarán Mullooly and Michelle Gildernew are to join Cowen in Brussels.

Carberry and Walsh appear safe, as their party leader Simon Harris’s presence suggests - but the fifth and final seat remains a tight race.

The result of the 20th count is not imminent- it’s been more than five hours since Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan’s election - and with another count likely to follow, we’re going to pause here and pick it up in the morning. Thanks for reading.


Why is Midlands-North-West taking so long?

Good question, with many answers: it’s a big constituency, for one thing, with a big ballot paper. Also, local counts went long in count centre, the TF Royal, being used for the European election, delaying the start.

More on the festival of democracy here.

Taoiseach Simon Harris with Nina Carberry and Maria Walsh at TF Royal Theatre in Castlebar. Photograph: Conor McKeown/PA Wire

The Taoiseach said there was no decision made on the by-elections triggered by the election of several TDs to the European Parliament, Fiachra Gallagher reports.


‘Champion, not celebrity’

Simon Harris has arrived at the count, in proof that it’s where the action is as we approach midnight on a weeknight. Fiachra Gallagher reports:

The Taoiseach has rejected claims that Fine Gael’s strategy for winning seats in Midlands-North-West was to run so-called celebrity candidates.

Nina Carberry, a former jockey, and incumbent MEP Maria Walsh, a former Rose of Tralee winner, were on Thursday night on the cusp of being elected in the five-seater constituency.

Asked if celebrity status was key to getting elected in Europe, Mr Harris said: “Nina Carberry is not a celebrity, she’s a champion.” He was speaking to reporters at Midlands-North-West count centre in the TF Royal in Castlebar.

He said that Fine Gael’s electoral strategy in Midlands-North-West was “to get out and reach as many people right across his vast constituency, the largest constituency in Ireland, and talk to people”.

Ms Carberry said that she’d done her “fair share” when asked about her lack of media appearances during the campaign, stating that she’d taken part in a number of hustings and an RTÉ Six One news debate.

“But my whole campaign was all about getting out and meeting of the people. And to be honest, I’m standing here because of that,” she said.

Asked what her policy priorities are heading to Brussels she said: “I have it all on social media. My top, main priorities are – I live in a commuter belt, and I want to make sure that they have the facilities and amenities.

“I’m from a farming background, and I will be a strong voice for them in Europe,” she added.

When asked about the significant number of votes cast for far-right candidates in the European and local elections, Mr Harris accepted that people did have concerns around immigration, but that he would “never pander” to the far right.

“We should never dismiss the concerns that people have when it comes to things like migration policy. It’s entirely appropriate for people to ask questions. It’s entirely appropriate for people to demand that there is an effective rules-based system that works in place,” he said.

He said that Fine Gael had made changes to their approach on immigration to address some of those concerns.

Separately, both Ms Carberry and Ms Walsh confirmed that they would back Ursula von der Leyen for another term as president of the European Parliament.


Brussels or bust

To recap, the MEPs are:

Dublin: Barry Andrews (FF), Regina Doherty (FG), Lynn Boylan (SF) and Aodhán Ó Riordáin (Labour).

Ireland South: Seán Kelly (FG), Billy Kelleher (FF), Michael McNamara (II), Cynthia Ní Mhurchú (FF) and Kathleen Funchion (SF).

Midlands-North-West: Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, and four to fill.

Which, almost a full week after voting commenced, leaves us with one count to go, in Castlebar. It could go late, but Fiachra Gallagher is there for The Irish Times - we’ll keep you updated.


Wallace pipped at the post

At the end of a marathon count, the results are in. Barry Roche reports from Cork:

Former Eurovision host, Cynthia Ní Mhurchú captured a second seat for Fianna Fáil in Ireland South as she held off the challenge of outgoing Independent4Change MEP Mick Wallace who lost his seat, as did the Green Party’s Grace O’Sullivan in the five-seat constituency.

Independent Michael McNamara also made it home on the 20th and final count as did Sinn Féin’s Kathleen Funchion to join outgoing MEPs, Fine Gael’s Seán Kelly, who was elected on the first count, and Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher, who got over the line on the 18th count.

It was Kelleher’s surplus of 5,344 that proved critical to family law barrister Ní Mhurchú’s success as she picked up over 60 per cent of her running mate’s transfers to leapfrog Wallace and move on to 75,900 compared to the Wexford man who got just 223 to move 73,947.

The elimination of O’Sullivan saw Ní Mhurchú maintain her lead over Wallace and secure the second seat for Fianna Fáil, marking a one-seat gain for the party after the retirement of Fine Gael’s Deirdre Clune and the failure of newcomer, businessman John Mullins, to hold the seat.

Right-wing activist Derek Blighe of Ireland First exited the contest on the 16th count and he predicted that his 38,625 votes would to McNamara, who has also voiced concern over Ireland’s immigration policy, and the Clare TD got over 8,000 votes from Blighe to help him take the seat.

Sinn Féin were relieved two counts earlier when a good transfer of votes from their second candidate, Paul Gavan pushed Funcheon to the head of a chasing pack of McNamara, Wallace, Ní Murchú and O’Sullivan and set them up to regain a seat previously held by Liadh Ní Riada.


By-election or no by-election?

Will the by-elections ever take place?

Listen | 27:02

Hugh Linehan is joined by Pat Leahy and Harry McGee to look back at the week in politics. With our recent obsession on the local and European elections winding down, today we take a look at the week's Dáil debates and at the "guillotining through" of the huge piece of legislation that is the Planning Bill into its final stage. The panel also discuss whether Dáil vacancies arising as a result of TDs becoming MEPs will ever be filled in the lifetime of this Government. The panel also pick their Irish Times articles of the week.

Hugh Linehan is joined by Pat Leahy and Harry McGee to look back at the week in politics, and to answer a pressing question: if TDs are heading off to Brussels, will we see by-elections to replace them? Or will a general election come first?


Ireland South count completed

The counts are complete in Ireland South and five MEPs have been elected:

  • Sean Kelly (Fine Gael)
  • Billy Kelleher (Fianna Fáil)
  • Cynthia Ní Mhurchú (Fianna Fáil)
  • Kathleen Funchion (Sinn Féin)
  • Michael McNamara (Independent Ireland)

That means Mick Wallace misses out. More to follow.


Chambers eliminated from Midlands-North-West

On the same count that saw Flanagan re-elected, Fianna Fáil’s Lisa Chambers was eliminated from the race for a Midlands-North-West seat.


Flanagan: ‘You’re not going to be let down by me’

From Fiachra Gallagher in Castlebar:

After Mr Flanagan was declared elected, he was hoisted into the air by supporters as he held a Palestinian flag and shouting, “Viva Palestina”.

Speaking to reporters at the TF Royal Hotel in Castlebar moments after his election, Mr Flanagan said he was “honoured” to be elected again to the European Parliament, and thanked voters for “having faith” in him.

“There’s a few people not here today, my mother, my father, my father-in-law, and I’m missing you all, but it’s just absolutely brilliant, its just beyond my wildest dreams, thanks Midlands-North-West,” he said, becoming emotional while flanked by his family and supporters.

He said he was ready to get back to work in Brussels, to secure his place on the parliament’s Committee on Agriculture, and to “get real justice” for people affected by defective concrete blocks.

He encouraged fellow Irish MEPs not to back President of the European Commissioner Ursula von der Leyen for another term as leader of the parliament.

“There’s 35,000 people dead because of that lady’s unconditional support for Israel’s genocide, and I hope that no Irish MEP votes for her, because if they do, they’ve forgotten our history” he said.

He thank his constituents, adding: “You’ve been let down too often, you’re not going to be let down by me.”


The final countdown

Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan’s surplus isn’t big enough to elect the next candidate, so Lisa Chambers of Fianna Fáil is out in Midlands-North-West and we’re officially down to six – whoever is in last place in the next count will be eliminated and the rest will be elected. Barry Cowen (FF), Nina Carberry (FG), Maria Walsh (FG), Ciarán Mullooly (II) and Michelle Gildernew (SF) are the hopefuls.

Same situation applies in Cork where Michael McNamara (II), Kathleen Funchion (SF), Cynthia Ní Mhurchú (FF) and Mick Wallace (I4C) are the four vying for three seats.

Barring the unforeseen – such as a recount or four – Ireland will have all its MEPs tonight.


Victory scenes


Who is Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan? You wouldn’t be with us this far into the count if you didn’t know that much – but why is he Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan? Fiachra Gallagher gets into it in this fascinating profile of the stalwart independent entering his third term in Brussels after 20 years in politics.

“The one thing you’ve got to do is be remembered in politics,” he told The Irish Times, sitting in the TF Royal Hotel in Castlebar before his election. “I grew up in a county where you had to be Doherty, or you had to be a Leyden, to get elected. And it wasn’t necessarily down to whether they were effective or not, but that was the name that was ringing around in people’s heads.”

“That’s where the Ming came from. It was so that people would remember you.”

Saoirse Flanagan, Luke 'Ming' Flanagan and Isabelle Flanagan take a break during the marathon count in Castlebar. Photograph: John O'Grady


Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan elected

Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan (Independent) has been elected in Midland-North-West, topping the poll to win a third term in Brussels, Fiachra Gallagher reports.

Mr Flanagan surpassed the quota on the 19th count.


Advantage Ní Mhurchú

All quiet in Midlands-North-West where the next step is expected to be the election of Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan and the distribution of his surplus – he needs less than 3,000 of Peadar Tóibín’s 56,000 votes to get over the line.

In Ireland South, Barry Roche is observing the piles of votes accumulating:

“Early indications from an examination of Grace O’Sullivan’s papers are that they are transferring more to Cynthia Ní Mhurchú than to Mick Wallace, who needs to make up a near-2,000 deficit – not good news for Wallace.”


Fianna Fáil hopeful of doubling up

It’s final count time in Cork. Here’s Barry Roche to fill us in on the stakes as they stand:

Cynthia Ní Mhurchú has moved into pole position to claim the final seat in Ireland South for Fianna Fáil as she leapfrogged Independent4Change MEP Mick Wallace on foot of transfers from the surplus of running mate Billy Kelleher.

Ní Mhurchú picked up over 60 per cent of Kelleher’s surplus, getting an impressive 3,377 out of Kelleher’s 5,344 transferable papers to leapfrog Wallace and move on to 75,900, compared to the Wexford man who got just 223 to move 73,947.

The count ended with the elimination of sitting Green Party MEP Grace O’Sullivan, from Waterford, with all the focus shifting now to where her final 69,197 votes will go – to Ní Mhurchú from Carlow or to Wallace, with the Wexford man seeking to make up a deficit of 1,953.

Meanwhile Independent Michael McNamara is chugging nicely along on 87,542 and Sinn Féin’s Kathleen Funchion is similarly looking comfortable on 82,500 to join already elected MEPs, Kelleher and Sean Kelly of Fine Gael.


‘I made every minute of my mandate count’

Grace O’Sullivan has issued a valedictory statement outlining some of her work in Brussels now she’s out of the race. Here it is:

“Serving as a Member of the European Parliament for Ireland South has been the honour of my life, and I am extremely grateful to the people of Ireland South who trusted me with their votes in 2019, and in 2024.

“I am proud of the impact I had in the European Parliament, leading the negotiations for the European Union’s 8th Environment Action Programme which will guide the EU’s environmental agenda up to 2030, and steering that legislation through the Parliament with a huge majority. I am also proud to have worked on the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation as lead negotiator for the Greens/EFA, which will start to tackle the sea of plastic waste overwhelming consumers and make polluters pay.

“I was also a member of the Mercosur Delegation, where I fought tooth and nail to protect Irish farmers, and the environment, from a deeply damaging trade deal that puts profit before the wellbeing of people and planet. As a member of Delegation for Relations with Palestine, where I vigorously opposed the EU’s support for Israel’s disproportionate reaction to the horrific October 7th attacks, which has caused death, destruction, and misery to be inflicted on the Palestinian people.

“I worked extremely hard to build alliances to progress change – no Irish MEP authored more legislative reports (binding EU law) during the term of the 9th European Parliament than I did. I made every minute of my mandate count, and I have no regrets.

“I want to thank my team, my supporters, and Green Party members from across Ireland South who spared no effort, and left no stone unturned in my re-election bid, and ran a really fantastic campaign. I couldn’t have asked for more, and will never forget the support I received. It is testament to their work that, despite challenging political conditions, I came close to retaining my seat, being eliminated after the 19th count, with close to 70,000 votes.

“While losing my seat is disappointing on a personal level, it is just the latest chapter in a long story. For over 40 years I have been standing up for what I believe in, and fighting for what is right. During that time I have experienced so many ups and downs – rough seas and calm waters, headwinds and tailwinds. Throughout it all, my commitment to fighting for climate action, for human rights, and for environmental protection has remained steadfast. This commitment remains as strong today as it was when I set out on the Rainbow Warrior at the age of 23.

“The European Union faces a challenging five years, and I wish our incoming MEPs every success during their mandate. I hope that they work constructively to defend the Green Deal, human rights and the rule of law, and to prioritise a Europe that tackles the social, environmental and economic issues that face Europeans across the Continent.”


Grace O’Sullivan eliminated

Count 19, distributing Billy Kelleher’s surplus, is concluded with no one else reaching the quota, so sitting Green MEP Grace O’Sullivan will be eliminated. More to follow.


It’s worth recapping at this point that candidates do not need to reach the quota to be elected. The quota is a way of showing that a candidate cannot be overtaken – but the final seats can still be taken simply by having more votes than the next challenger.

As we approach the final counts, non-transferable ballots and ballots that have reached the end of their transfer journey mean that the total number bouncing around is reduced. The last seats in Ireland South and Midlands-North-West will likely go to people without quotas, as they did in Dublin.


Endgame in Ireland South as final count approaches

Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher is on his way back to Brussels after he finally made it over the finish line when thanks to 12,271 transfers from Fine Gael’s John Mullins, he sailed past the quota with over 5,000 votes to spare, Barry Roche reports.

Tánaiste Micheál Martin turned up at the Nemo Count Centre for Ireland South just before Returning Office Martin Harvey read out the result of the transfer of Mullins’ 43,601 votes, and there was loud cheering as Kelleher was hoisted aloft by his jubilant supporter.

Attention now turns to the distribution of Kelleher’s 5,344 surplus and where they will go, with Fianna Fáil hoping they will transfer in sufficient numbers to his running mate, Cynthia Ní Mhurchú, to narrow the 1,191 gap between her and outgoing Independent4Change MEP, Mick Wallace.

After that, the 20th and final count will see the distribution of the 68,000 plus votes garnered by outgoing Green Party MEP, Grace O’Sullivan to determine the destination of the fifth and final seat between Wallace and Ní Mhurchú.

That final count should also see the other two seats allocated to Independent Michael McNamara and Sinn Féin’s Kathleen Funchion, who are currently on 86,757 and 82,315 and on course to book their seats on the flight to Belgium.


Kelleher elected

Billy Kelleher (FF) takes the second seat in Ireland South. His surplus will be distributed, then outgoing MEP Grace O’Sullivan (Greens) is likely to be eliminated. More to follow.


Tower of democracy

Barry Roche, who has had some time for contemplation in between Ireland South counts over the past week, previously reported that the ballots cast in that constituency would weigh 5.8 tonnes and stretch for more than 4,600km if laid end to end.

“Now for the resistance,” he says. “On the basis that a 500 ream of photocopying paper is 5.2cm, the 713,000 ballots cast, if stacked one on top of each other, would extend 741m up into the air – over twice the height of the Eiffel tower or more than half way up Carrauntwohill.”

An update from the next count in Cork should be with us before too long.


Gildernew overtakes Mullooly in Midlands-North-West

Sinn Féin’s Michelle Gildernew received over 20,000 transfers from Chris MacManus in the 18th count in Midlands-North-West, taking her above Ciaran Mullooly (Independent Ireland) in the race for the constituency’s fifth and final seat, Fiachra Gallagher reports.

Ms Gildernew now has 74,795 votes, compared to Mr Mullooly’s 73,101.

Aontú's Peadar Tóibín was eliminated following the count.

Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan will likely reach the quota on the next count.


Billy Kelleher on the cusp

Barry Roche reports from the Ireland South race that early indications from the distribution of John Mullins papers on the 18th count in Ireland South suggest Billy Kelleher could get around 12,000, enough to get him over the 114,761 quota with around 4,000 to spare.

If that was the case, the 19th count would be the distribution of Mr Kelleher’s surplus, which Fianna Fáil hope will transfer strongly to Cynthia Ní Mhurchú to help her close the gap to Mick Wallace before the elimination of Grace O’Sullivan, whose transfers would then decide the destination of the last seat.


Will Grace O’Sullivan survive Ireland South count?

Ireland First Derek Blighe proved correct in his prediction that Independent Michael McNamara would the greatest beneficiary from his elimination, when the Clare-based TD picked up 8,132 papers to put him to the head of five candidates vying for three seats, Barry Roche reports from the Ireland South count in Cork.

McNamara is now on 83,702 over 2,000 ahead of Sinn Féin’s Kathleen Funchion and both have opened a 10,000 plus lead on Independent4Change Mick Wallace on 71,910, with Cynthia Ní Mhurchú another 5,000 behind Wallace and Grace O’Sullivan another 3,000 further back again.

Fine Gael’s second candidate John Mullins has now exited the race, and his 43,601 votes are currently being distributed, but the smart money now would be on McNamara, Funchion and Wallace to fill the last three seats in the five seat constituency.

There are two scenarios that might throw a spanner in the works for McNamara, Funcheon and Wallace. The first is if Mullins transferred in huge numbers to Kelleher, given that both are Cork-based candidates and their parent parties are in Coalition together.

Kelleher needs just under 7,000 to reach the quota but if Mullins was to transfer say, twice that amount to Kelleher, it would be mean Kelleher would then have a 7,000 surplus which he would hope to pass on to Ní Mhurchú to close the near 6,000 deficit by which she trails Wallace.

The other possible scenario is that when O’Sullivan, from Waterford exits the race, as is looking increasingly likely, she will transfer more to Ní Mhurchú, on the basis they are two women candidates and from the southeast, rather to her near neighbour Wallace from Wexford.


Lack of Coalition loyalty

Barry Roche reports from the Ireland South count: Outgoing Ireland South MEP Grace O’Sullivan of the Green Party said she had expected “some degree of loyalty” from their Government Coalition partners as she faced elimination in the race for the final three seats in the five seat constituency.

Speaking before the receipt of a whopping 7,675 transfers from Susan Doyle of the Social Democrats, which put the smallest of question marks over her exit from the race, O’Sullivan revealed why she felt she was less transfer-friendly now compared to in 2019 when she won a seat.

“I think we have seen an interesting pattern where I saw that Mick Wallace did better than I did on Sean Kelly’s transfers which was a big surprise to me because Seán Kelly and Mick Wallace in terms of policies would be polar opposites,” she said.

“I found it strange that people were favouring someone with very different views rather than someone who is in coalition partnership with them and I had kind of expected some degree of loyalty there and we really haven’t seen that at all,” she added.

Kelly, who was elected on the first count with 122,776 votes, saw his surplus of over 8,000 go primarily to his running mate John Mullins who got 2,633 and Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher, who got 1,963. O’Sullivan got just 361 compared to Wallace, who got 390.


Transfers to Gildernew

Fiachra Gallagher reports from the Midlands-North-West count: Sinn Féin’s Chris MacManus has lost his seat in Midlands-North-West, after he was eliminated from the race on the 17th count.

While disappointed at the result, he said he hoped his transfers would boost party colleague Michelle Gildernew’s chances of claiming the final fifth seat in the constituency.

“It’s all to play for. The numbers, maybe, are not in Michelle’s favour, but I wouldn’t be writing her off just yet, there’s another three counts to go,” he said.

He said that Sinn Féin had lessons to learn from its performance in the locals and European elections.

“I think the important thing to go away [with] after this election is to listen to what people have said to us on the doorsteps, recognise the vote that happened on election day, give some recognition that people that do want change, some of them didn’t come out to vote, some of them came out to vote and voted for independents and other smaller parties,” he said.

He stressed that local and European campaigns are very different from general elections.

“A general election, when people realise they’re voting for a Government, they’ll resize how they voted, [maybe] they didn’t come out to vote [in other elections], and will reassess.”

“Sinn Féin will be in fighting order for that general election,” he added.

He did not rule out running for the party in that election. “I don’t think it's the last time you’ll see my MacManus name on the ballot paper,” he said.


MacManus eliminated

Chris MacManus (SF) has been eliminated from MNW on count 17. His 36,157 votes will now be distributed, Fiachra Gallagher reports from Castlebar.


Lisa Chambers: ‘Name recognition was a factor’

Vivienne Clarke writes: Fianna Fáil Senator Lisa Chambers has said that name recognition was a factor in the success of some candidates in the European elections.

“We knew before the campaign that name recognition was a big part because the constituency is so vast, stretching from Donegal down to Galway and right across the Midlands border into the commuter belt,” the Midlands-North-West candidate told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show.”

“People further away from where I live wouldn’t really be with me. But if you are a celebrity you’ve been open to the media, like [ex-RTÉ broadcaster and Independent Ireland candidate] Ciarán Mullooly. You know, there’s more familiarity with your name. And I think with a candidate list of 27 names to choose from, it’s quite obvious that name recognition played a big role in the votes that people got.”

Ms Chambers said she expected to be eliminated later today or tomorrow depending on how quickly the count continues. It was still possible that Sinn Féin candidate Michelle Gildernew could overtake Ciaran Mullooly to take the fifth seat, depending on the transfer of Niall Blaney’s votes.

When asked if a different campaign, with fewer candidates, would have been more successful for Fianna Fáil in Midlands-North-West, Ms Chambers said: “Of course you’d always wonder if the strategy was different, would it have made a difference? Because it does come down to at which point you’re eliminated, because the longer you stay alive, for want of a better phrase, you’re in the mix to get more transfers.

“I’m really proud of the campaign that I ran. I got a significant vote just shy of 45,000, which is huge. So I’m proud of that and of course, disappointed not to make it because you put a lot of work into these campaigns. But I got great support from my home county of Mayo as well. So I’m taking the positives out of this.”


Saoirse McHugh’s transfers

Fiachra Gallagher reports from Castlebar: Counting is under way again at the TF Royal Hotel, Castlebar, with all five seats in Midlands-North-West still to be filled.

After a significant boost from Saoirse McHugh’s (Independent) transfers last night, Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan (Independent) looks set to reach the quota easily – at present, he sits on 103,653, less that 10,000 votes away from the quota.

The race for the fifth and final seat in the constituency was still wide open on Thursday morning, although Ciaran Mullooly (Independent Ireland) remains the favourite. After 16 counts, he sits on 71,107, ahead of Peadar Tóibín (Aontú) on 54,531 and Michelle Gildernew (Sinn Féin) on 53,129.

The count centre was quiet on Thursday morning – only poll-topper Mr Flanagan was present on the count-centre floor – but more candidates are expected to arrive during the day as the count nears its conclusion.


Derek Blighe transfers

Barry Roche reports from Ireland South: Eliminated anti-immigration candidate Derek Blighe of the Ireland First party who got 25,000 votes believes the bulk of his transfers following his elimination on Wednesday night will go to Independent Michael McNamara

McNamara, a former Labour TD for Clare, who has been critical of the government’s handling of immigration, is in contention for one of the last three seats and Blighe reckons – and hopes – that he may help him take the seat when his 38,635 papers are distributed later today.

“I think they’ll go to McNamara – hopefully they will – I heard some say Kelleher was getting No 2s, if he does, there’s nothing I can do about it, that’s down to the voters, that’s not down to me so quite possibly they will though I’d say quite a decent share of them will be non-transferable.”

Counting is restarting at Nemo Rangers GAA club in Cork with the distribution of Blighe’s papers with McNamara, Sinn Féin’s Kathleen Funcheon, Independent4Change Mick Wallace and Fianna Fáil’s Cynthia Ni Mhurchu the most credible contenders for the last three seats.


Gibney says she lost €20,000 in MEP bid

Cormac McQuinn reports that Social Democrats candidate Sinéad Gibney has said she personally lost €20,000 in her unsuccessful bid for a European Parliament seat and sold her car to part-fund her election bid. Ms Gibney fell short of the threshold for reimbursement of campaign expenses by just 440 votes.


Should Labour and the Social Democrats merge?

That is the question that has resurfaced again after the success of both small parties in the local elections over the weekend, writes Sarah Burns. The Social Democrats almost doubled their local authority representation, going from 19 to 35 seats, most notably becoming the second largest party on Dublin City Council.

The Labour Party will also be pleased with its performance – retaining 56 seats, down one on its 2019 showing – but very much above expectations, and mostly notably, securing an MEP seat in Dublin.


Green Party rounds on Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil

In our overnight lead, the political team write the Green Party’s hopes of salvaging sitting MEP’s Grace O’Sullivan’s seat in Ireland South were fading. The Greens’ disappointment led to further criticism of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil from Green deputy leader Catherine Martin on Wednesday.

She warned the climate crisis “is way too important to toy around with” during elections.

Asked about attacks on her party from other Coalition parties during the campaign Ms Martin, the Green deputy leader, replied: “I can’t control the other political parties and what they might do.