Wednesday 21 August 2019

Cuffe tops the poll just shy of quota as SF's Boylan in danger of losing her seat

Poll position: Green Party candidate Ciarán Cuffe reacts to the first count in the RDS. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Poll position: Green Party candidate Ciarán Cuffe reacts to the first count in the RDS. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

The Greens European candidate Ciarán Cuffe has topped the poll in Dublin, but had yet to be elected when counting was suspended last night.

Cuffe had been expected to soar ahead when counting got under way but his support at the ballot box was more subdued than expected. He secured 63,849 first preferences, 17.5pc of the vote. He was just shy of 8,000 votes off the quota when counting stopped at midnight. It will resume today at 10am.

However, Sinn Féin's Lynn Boylan faces a battle to retain her seat as an MEP as counting continued. She secured 39,387 first preferences, well behind Frances Fitzgerald, Barry Andrews and Clare Daly.

Ms Fitzgerald looked set to secure the second seat after securing 59,067 first preferences. Fianna Fáil's Andrews looks set to take the third seat.

Counting was delayed until yesterday because of European rules dictating that a result could not be declared until voting had closed across the rest of Europe.

Mr Cuffe said he was reluctant to celebrate until a result was declared later today.

Fianna Fáil’s Barry Andrews is in the running for a seat. Photo: Damien Eagers/INM
Fianna Fáil’s Barry Andrews is in the running for a seat. Photo: Damien Eagers/INM

"I'll wait until I see what is going on until I do any cheering," he said.

"I don't want to tempt fate, I'm here to have a look at the spoiled votes. If things go well, I'll be celebrating when the count comes in, but for the moment I am just here to have a look."

Ms Fitzgerald said it was "interesting" that some of her transfer votes went to Mr Andrews.

"It seems that in European elections the transfers go across the whole wide variety of candidates," she said.

"It does seem as if the left haven't done well in these elections and maybe people are voting more centrist. I think that would be a reflection of that if that is the case.

"Climate change is very on the agenda and I think ... people wanted to give a message about climate change and that's very clear."

Ms Boylan said she still believed she had a "fighting chance" of taking a seat in the Dublin constituency.

Arriving at the count centre in the Simmonscourt with her party leader Mary Lou McDonald, Ms Boylan said there was lots of speculation going on.

Ms McDonald added: "We are here to see what will transpire, we know this is a tight race.

"Everybody knew this was going to go down to the wire from the beginning.

"What we have is exit poll data so we are here to get the real figures.

"We come here in a spirit of optimism and a spirit of hope."

Former SDLP leader Mark Durkan has conceded he is unlikely to win a seat in the European Parliament.

Mr Durkan ran as a Fine Gael candidate in the Dublin constituency. An RTÉ exit poll predicted his vote share was just 5pc.

Arriving at the count, he said he was unlikely to win a seat.

"I'm not in here believing I am going to defy the gravity of the exit poll," he said.

"But I don't regret running, I've enjoyed the conversations with people across Dublin."

Irish Independent

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