Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein candidate admits defeat as recount halted

The counting process will resume on Wednesday with the redistribution of the Sinn Fein candidate’s transfers.

Liadh Ni Riada (Niall Carson/PA)
Liadh Ni Riada (Niall Carson/PA)

A full recount of a European election constituency in Ireland has been ended after Sinn Fein’s outgoing MEP admitted defeat.

Liadh Ni Riada had requested the recount last week when she was on the verge of being eliminated after four days of the original count in the Ireland South constituency.

The recount of all 755,000 ballots began on Tuesday, but Ms Ni Riada asked for it to be halted when it became clear she was not going to beat Green Party candidate Grace O’Sullivan to one of the five seats.

The counting process will resume on Wednesday with the redistribution of the Sinn Fein candidate’s transfers.

Fine Gael’s Sean Kelly and Fianna Fail’s Billy Kelleher took the first two seats in the five-seat constituency last week.

Independents 4 Change candidate Mick Wallace looks well placed to take the third seat.

Ms O’Sullivan and Fine Gael’s Deirdre Clune are chasing the crucial fourth seat.

While both will be elected, finishing in fifth will impact when the incumbent can take up their seat.

The “Brexit seat” is one of two additional seats that have been allocated to Ireland as a result of Brexit. However, those seats cannot be formally taken until the UK actually leaves the EU.

Confirmation of Ms Ni Riada’s defeat comes as another blow to Sinn Fein, after a bruising performance at the polls last month.

The party has now lost two of its four European seats, having already shipped a raft of councillors in the local government elections in the Irish Republic.

Announcing her decision to halt the recount, Ms Ni Riada said: “I want to warmly congratulate Grace on her election to the European Parliament.

“I am happy that the democratic process has delivered the clarity we sought given that the initial difference was so tight.

“I want to sincerely thank Returning Officer Martin A Harvey and his terrific staff for their diligence and hard work.

“We ran a hard fought campaign and we left everything on the pitch. Unfortunately, we came up short this around. I want to express my undying gratitude to my office staff, my campaign team and every member of Sinn Fein and those who voted for me.

“I am incredibly proud of my term as an MEP. I always did my very best to deliver for constituents and to defend Ireland’s interests in the European Parliament. Over the past five years, Sinn Fein’s team of MEPs have stood up for equality, social justice and democracy. I am honoured that I was part of those efforts.

“For now, let me wish those elected for the coming term of the European Parliament all the very best for the work ahead.”

PA

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