Belfast Telegraph

Greens’ Ciaran Cuffe and Fine Gael’s Frances Fitzgerald elected Dublin MEPs

Fianna Fail’s Barry Andrews, independent Clare Daly and Sinn Fein’s Lynn Boylan are battling for the two remaining seats.

Fine Gael candidate Frances Fitzgerald with party colleague and health minister Simon Harris at the count centre in Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)
Fine Gael candidate Frances Fitzgerald with party colleague and health minister Simon Harris at the count centre in Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)

Green Party candidate Ciaran Cuffe and Fine Gael’s Frances Fitzgerald have been elected MEPs in the Dublin constituency.

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

Fine Gael’s Frances Fitzgerald was elected on the 14th count after polling 59,067 first-preference votes.

It comes as counting in the Dublin constituency was suspended until Tuesday after a dispute over the transfer of votes.

The remaining candidates – Fianna Fail’s Barry Andrews and independent Clare Daly – are in line to claim the two remaining seats.

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

However, Ms Daly has requested that Sinn Fein’s Lynn Boylan’s votes are redistributed as this could put her in third place to claim the third seat.

If this happens and Ms Daly takes the next seat, Mr Andrews will face an uncertain wait over when he can take his seat due to the Brexit delay.

Ms Daly said that the Returning Officer does not know whether to distribute Ms Boylan’s votes or not after she has been eliminated.

She admitted she does not know what will happen tomorrow.

Speaking to reporters she 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.”

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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