Greens take fourth seat while FG's Clune benefits from 'transfer miracle'
Green Party Senator Grace O'Sullivan and Independent Wexford TD Mick Wallace celebrated being elected to the European Parliament for Ireland South as Fine Gael hailed "a transfer miracle" which delivered the party two Brussels seats.
Former Fianna Fáil Minister and Cork TD Billy Kelleher was also elected to the European Parliament as outgoing Fine Gael MEPs Seán Kelly and Deirdre Clune defied the polls and the pundits by both clinching re-election.
All five were declared elected by returning officer Martin Harvey following a marathon eight-day count in Cork.
Former GAA president Sean Kelly topped the poll and hailed his Ireland South performance as "the greatest of my career". Mr Kelleher took the second seat.
However, Ms Clune - who again delivered an astonishing electoral recovery thanks to transfers - was pushed into the fifth and final seat by Ms O'Sullivan thanks to 19th and 20th count transfers.
Ms O'Sullivan finished on 119,701 votes compared with Ms Clune's 112,162 - a final lead of 7,539.
Ms Clune will now take the so-called 'zombie' seat which will only be filled when Brexit is enacted and the UK formally leaves the EU.
The Green Party celebrated electing their first-ever MEP in Ireland South after Ms O'Sullivan had earlier pipped Sinn Féin's outgoing MEP Liadh Ní Riada to elimination by a meagre 358 votes. Ms O'Sullivan said it was "an incredible day".
Mr Wallace - who was unable to attend the Nemo Rangers GAA complex after missing a flight from the UK - vowed to remain a "thorn in the side" of the Government and vested interests in Brussels.
Ms Clune may have to wait until November to take up her MEP seat.