Monday 19 March 2018

10 seats still up for grabs as counts run into third day

Katherine Zappone (centre right) celebrates with her wife Anne Louise Gilligan after winning a seat in Dublin South West. However, a recount was called last night. Photo: Colm O’Riordan
Katherine Zappone (centre right) celebrates with her wife Anne Louise Gilligan after winning a seat in Dublin South West. However, a recount was called last night. Photo: Colm O’Riordan
Sarah Stack

Sarah Stack

Five general election counts are into a third day with 10 seats still to be decided.

Recounts will take place in Wexford, Dublin South West and Dublin Bay North this morning.

A recount in Longford-Westmeath was continuing into the early hours of the morning.

And a re-check of disputed votes will take place in Dublin South Central.

In Wexford, a full recount will begin after a request by Sinn Féin councillor Johnny Mythen when just 52 votes separated him and Fine Gael chief whip Paul Kehoe. This followed the distribution of Independent Mick Wallace's surplus votes of 1,476.

Three candidates had been elected earlier in the count: Labour's Brendan Howlin, Fianna Fail's James Browne, the son of retiring TD John Browne, and Independent Mick Wallace.

The returning officer had been expected to declare Fine Gael's Michael D'Arcy and Paul Kehoe to the fourth and fifth seats respectively before Mr Mythen called for a recount.

In Dublin, counts were continuing in three constituencies. A recount is under way in Dublin South West where Fine Gael's Anne-Marie Dermody was hoping to overtake Independent Katherine Zappone for the fifth seat.

The recount was requested after an 11th hour surge for Ms Zappone following a transfer of more than 2,000 votes from Independent Peter Fitzpatrick, who emerged as the surprise kingmaker in the constituency.

Officials have indicated the re-checked tallies would not have made a material difference to the outcome.

Elsewhere, Independent Averil Power in the so-called "group of death" Dublin Bay North was granted a full recount in the constituency.

The move came late into last night during the 12th count.

Ms Power said there were only 67 votes between her and Independent Tommy Broughan and the returning officer had agreed to recount all the ballots.

The recount will begin at 11am today.

Fine Gael's Richard Bruton was the only one elected to the constituency over the weekend, passing the quota on the eighth count.

The most high-profile loser has been Renua's Terence Flanagan.

Those fighting for the remaining seats included sitting Independent TDs Tommy Broughan, formerly of the Labour Party, Independent Finian McGrath and Labour's Aodhán Ó Ríordáin.

Also close to crossing the line and Fianna Fáil's Sean Haughey.

Meanwhile, an examination of disputed votes is expected to continue in Dublin South Central's final seat this morning.

A recount was called by Fianna Fáil after the distribution of elected Independent TD Joan Collins's surplus brought just 35 votes between AAA-PBP Bríd Smith and Fianna Fáil Catherine Ardagh, with Ms Smith in the lead.

A large amount of disputed votes were to be adjudicated overnight, with election officers and candidates expected to continue their review tomorrow morning.

In Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fáil's Connie Gerety-Quinn was fighting for survival against outgoing Fine Gael TD James Bannon.

She trailed him by just 38 votes when the returning officer announced there would be a full recount at the request of Ms Gerety-Quinn.

The count was expected to resume today, but in a dramatic turn of events, Labour's Willie Penrose looked set to become an election Lazarus even though he had conceded defeat.

Just one seat was taken before last night, with Fianna Fáil's Robert Troy re-elected.

Irish Independent

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