News Politics

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Drama in battle for final seat as full recheck ordered

Midlands- Northwest

Caroline Crawford

Published 28/05/2014 | 02:30

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Mairead McGuinness MEP pictured with husband Martin as she took the 2nd seat at the count in the European Parliament Election North West Midlands Constituency count in the Royal Theatre Castlebar with Jon Mulligan Director of Elections and Emer Smith, Mairead's assistant on right. Photo: Michael Donnelly
Mairead McGuinness MEP pictured with husband Martin as she took the 2nd seat at the count in the European Parliament Election North West Midlands Constituency count in the Royal Theatre Castlebar with Jon Mulligan Director of Elections and Emer Smith, Mairead's assistant on right. Photo: Michael Donnelly

THE battle for the country's last European election seat took a dramatic twist last night after a recheck was ordered for the Midlands-Northwest constituency.

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After three of the four MEPs were elected to the 15 county constituency, the final two candidates – Independent Marian Harkin and Fianna Fail’s Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher – were neck and neck with just 275 votes between them, less than 0.05pc of the vote.

In a constituency with a poll of 663,703, representatives for Fianna Fail began discussions with the returning officer late last night. The returning officer agreed to provide a recheck, which will commence at 10am this morning.

A party spokesman for Fianna Fail said the call for a recheck was due to the very small number of votes separating the candidates.

Pat ‘the Cope’ Gallagher said: “When the vote came down to a margin of 0.05pc, a difference of a few hundred votes, we felt we had no option and we are grateful to the returning officer.”

Elected

The count will not change the outcome for the three MEPs already elected.

Last night Sinn Fein’s Matt Carthy was elected to the third seat in the Midlands Northwest constituency, joining Fine Gael’s Mairead McGuinness and Independent Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan.

Describing his election as a vote against austerity, Mr Carthy added: “The days of the Fianna Fail/Fine Gael stranglehold on politics in this State are long over.”

Carthy insisted that the party would deliver for the communities that had stood by it.

“I just want to thank the membership of Sinn Fein for entrusting me to be the public face of the party for this campaign.

“And to say that I hope that I don't let them down and I hope that Sinn Fein doesn't let those people who entrusted us with their vote down, I don't believe we will.

“I think we are seen ever increasingly as a party that stands by those communities that need support and we intend to deliver for those communities,” he added.

Earlier re-elected Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness criticised some politicians for “misleading” the public on what they can deliver.

McGuinness warned that politics was “not a sport” and the country should not be naive about the challenges that lie ahead.”

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