Hartley transfers to decide whether Clune or Harris gets final MEP seat in Ireland South
FIANNA Fail's Kieran Hartley will determine which of two rival Fine Gael Ireland South candidates is elected to the European Parliament.
The Waterford politician was eliminated on the 11th count and his 64,357 vote will now determine which of FG's Sen Deirdre Clune and Simon Harris TD takes the fourth and final seat in the sprawling constituency.
FF's Brian Crowley and Sinn Fein's Liadh ni Riada have already been elected for the sprawling constituency which stretches from west Cork to north Wicklow and from South Wexford to north Clare.
FG MEP and former GAA President Sean Kelly is certain to win the third seat.
While Mr Harris, a Wicklow TD, was ahead of his Cork rival, Sen Clune, from the first count, she has now opened up a critical lead of almost 3,000 votes going into the final count.
The momentum has shifted behind Sen Clune who overtook her party rival on the 10th count thanks to transfers from outgoing Labour MEP Phil Prendergast.
She widened her lead to almost 3,000 votes on the 11th count.
There are now only three candidates left - Mr Kelly, who has an unassailable lead of 113,311 vote, as well as Sen Clune and Mr Harris TD.
FG strategists said they are confident they will win the fourth seat - the only doubt being which of Ms Clune or Mr Harris will secure the Brussels berth.