Green Party celebrate surge in support in Republic of Ireland
Two seats in the European election in the Irish Republic have been filled by Fine Gael's Mairead McGuinness and the Green Party's Ciaran Cuffe.
Incumbent Ms McGuinness topped the poll with 134,630 first preference votes and was re-elected in the Midlands Northwest constituency.
After topping his poll with 63,849 first preference votes, Mr Cuffe was finally elected on the 13th round of the mammoth count in the Dublin constituency.
He hailed the win as "an auspicious day" for the Greens in Ireland as the party hammered home victories in both European and local elections.
"Today and this weekend shows young people want to see change," he said in Dublin's count centre in Simmonscourt.
"They have spoken to their parents and grandparents and the people have voted for an alternative to business as usual.
"I am really heartened by the result this evening but I am so heartened by the (election of) 48 Green Party councillors around the country.
"This is an auspicious day and a new beginning for the Irish Green Party."
There were three seats left to be filled, at the time of going to press, with Fine Gael's Frances Fitzgerald expected to take the second seat.
Ms McGuinness said she had already drawn up a to-do list for Brussels and thanked everyone who voted for her.
She said she was "delighted, relieved and a bit tired".
Last night, Ms McGuinness and Mr Cuffe were the only two MEPs elected in the Republic after a second day of counting.
Independent MEP Luke 'Ming' Flanagan came second to Ms McGuinness in Midlands Northwest with 85,034 first preference votes.
Sinn Fein's Matt Carthy was third on 77,619 and Ms McGuinness' running mate Maria Walsh received 64,500.
Independent Peter Casey beat Green Party candidate Saoirse McHugh with 56,650. Ms McHugh received 51,019.
A total of 3.5% of all the votes cast in the constituency were spoiled. The voting system - the single transferable vote - used in the European election means counting could run on until tomorrow.