Belfast Telegraph

Fianna Fail’s Barry Andrews requests recount following vote transfer dispute

The count was suspended late on Monday night amid the dispute.

Barry Andrews (centre) during the count of the Dublin Constituency (Niall Carson/PA)
Barry Andrews (centre) during the count of the Dublin Constituency (Niall Carson/PA)

Fianna Fail’s Barry Andrews has requested a recount following a dispute over the transfer of votes in the Dublin constituency.

Fine Gael’s Frances Fitzgerald was elected following the distribution of Alex White’s transfer votes on the 14th count.

Speaking on Tuesday morning, returning officer Fergus Gallagher said: “Barry Andrews has requested what is known as a simple recount of count 14 and I will now proceed with that recount in accordance with his request.”

The count was suspended late on Monday night amid the dispute.

Green Party candidate Ciaran Cuffe and Ms Fitzgerald had already been elected by that stage.

Mr Andrews and Independents4Change Clare Daly are in line to claim the two remaining seats.

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

However, Ms Daly has requested the votes of Sinn Fein’s Lynn Boylan, who is set to lose her seat, are redistributed before the final declarations, as this could see her secure the third seat.

The issue is significant because whoever comes in fourth 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 wll not be able to fill them until the UK actually leaves.

Speaking on Monday night, Ms Daly said: “It’s the returning officer’s prerogative to suspend the count and he has chosen to do so, because I think they want to reassure themselves that the procedures they’re applying are consistent with the decisions they made earlier and consistent with the new legislation, anything more than that would be pure speculation.”

She confirmed that she has taken legal advice on the matter.

“Because the law is new they want to be sure and consistent with what they’ve done earlier. Clearly they want time to think on that and not rush into it,” she added.

“The issue arose when Fianna Fail swept in.”

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 earlier on Monday.

Mr Durkan, who ran as a Fine Gael candidate, failed to gain a seat in the Dublin constituency.

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.”

PA

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