Down to the wire, but it looks set to rain on Simon's parade
IT really came down to the wire for Simon Harris yesterday.
At the time of going to press, Deirdre Clune was expected to take the fourth Ireland South seat in Europe by a tiny margin of less than one per cent.
When Harris announced his intention to run he went on the record saying that while he would welcome a European mandate, he enjoyed being a TD, so this was something of a win-win for him.
In Wicklow, he topped the poll with almost half of the vote, according to tally figures. 'I am honoured and humbled that the people of Wicklow put their faith in me,' said Simon, a sentiment which stood regardless of the outcome in Cork.
As the 11th count got underway in Cork yesterday afternoon, Mike Miley in the Harris camp said it looked likely that they would miss out by that small a margin. Brian Crowley had been elected around lunchtime on Monday, followed by Sean Kelly and Liana Ni Riada.
Exhausted and on a dinner break, Mike was in Cork as the count unfolded over a three-day period. Simon was in the count centre awaiting his fate with a result due later in the night.
The results of the 10th count separated the two by around 1,300 votes in Clune's favour.
Miley did not rule out the possibility of a recount depending on how things went later in the evening.
'It's so tight you just don't know,' he said at the time. However, it was difficult to see Harris moving ahead of his party colleague at that point as the two Fine Gael candidates vied for a seat. The 27-year-old performed a little better than people had expected him to and for a while seemed to have the advantage on Clune but it was close throughout nonetheless as counters waded their way through 680,000 individual ballots.