Belfast Telegraph

Clare Daly takes MEP seat while Barry Andrews forced into ‘cold storage’ seat

The Fianna Fail man will not actually take his seat until the UK leaves the European Union.

Independents 4 change candidate Clare Daly and Barry Andrews of Fianna Fail are deemed elected to Dublin Constituency of the European Elections at the RDS.
Independents 4 change candidate Clare Daly and Barry Andrews of Fianna Fail are deemed elected to Dublin Constituency of the European Elections at the RDS.

Clare Daly has been elected as MEP while Fianna Fail’s Barry Andrews has taken the fourth “cold storage” seat in the Dublin constituency.

Ms Daly was elected on a total of 87,770 votes while Mr Andrews was elected with a total of 68,952 on the 15th count of the European elections.

The final two seats were filled after a dispute over the transfer of votes which resulted in the count being suspended on Monday night.

It was decided on Tuesday to distribute the votes of Sinn Fein’s Lynn Boylan instead of automatically electing the last remaining candidates.

Her transfer votes secured Ms Daly the third seat.

The issue is significant because whoever took fourth place will face a wait to formally take their seat.

The fourth seat in Dublin is one of two extras Ireland has been allocated as a result of the Brexit vote.

Those candidates who take Ireland’s two additional seats at Brussels and Strasbourg will not be able to fill them until the UK actually leaves.

Speaking after she was elected Ms Daly said: “I hope to bring the same fighting ability that I demonstrate in the Dail (Irish Parliament).

“I really wanted the mandate of the Dublin electorate to be respected, so I was quite prepared if Lynn Boylan’s votes had put me out I would have lived with that.

“What I didn’t want was sort of behind the scenes legal manoeuvring and stopping the electorate of Dublin’s mandate being recognised. The system was ran really well.”

It has been some 15 years since Fianna Fail had an elected MEP in the Dublin constituency.

Mr Andrews said the result was “brilliant and satisfying”.

“We put in so much effort and one of the central parts of my strategy was try to close the gap between what the local election results might be in Dublin and the European elections,” he added.

“It’s a real endorsement of hard work and I think people are listening to us again.

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Clare Daly speaking to the media (Niall Carson/PA)

“I see Brexit as a disaster for this island and the relationship between the two islands and for Europe more widely.

“I’ve been immersed in Brexit policy over the last two years and you don’t have to study it to understand what negative impact it is on the island of Ireland.

“If Brexit happens I’m ready to serve in the European parliament.

“I’m not too sure what interim arrangements are going to be made but you get on with life.”

Green Party candidate Ciaran Cuffe took the first seat while Fine Gael’s Frances Fitzgerald took the second seat.

Following his election, Mr Cuffe hailed his win as an “auspicious day” for the Green Party in Ireland as he topped the poll with 63,849 votes.

Ms Fitzgerald was elected on the 14th count after polling 59,067 first-preference votes.

This is an auspicious day and a new beginning for the Irish Green Party Ciaran Cuffe

Speaking after he was elected on the 13th count, Mr Cuffe said: “Today and this weekend shows young people want to see change.

“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.”

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Fine Gael candidate and former SDLP leader Mark Durkan lost out (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ms Fitzgerald, a former tanaiste, said she was “absolutely delighted”.

“It’s a great vote. I think it’s very encouraging in the sense that it is support for the party’s approach to Europe and how we have dealt with the Brexit issue over the last number of years,” she said.

“I wanted to run for Europe because it’s a critical time for Ireland, (there are) huge changes with the UK pulling out.

“It’s very challenging for Ireland and a lot of key decisions are going to be taken in the European Parliament.”

Her running mate, former SDLP leader Mark Durkan, was eliminated from the count on Monday.

Mr Durkan said: “Obviously I would have preferred to record a higher vote.

“There are issues that were pushing the vote for other parties in this election.

“While Fine Gael’s vote increased here as opposed to the last European elections, it’s clear that a lot of people in the Fine Gael base felt very strongly that they wanted to see Frances returned and I picked that up on doorsteps.”

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