News European Elections

Sunday 25 August 2019

Legal row erupts as Andrews and Daly battle to avoid 'cold storage' seat created by Brexit


European candidate Clare Daly TD during the European Election count in the RDS, Dublin
Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
European candidate Clare Daly TD during the European Election count in the RDS, Dublin Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

A legal row erupted at the European Election count centre in Dublin last night as Barry Andrews and Clare Daly battled it out for the last certain seat and to avoid taking the extra "cold storage" seat created by Brexit.

The Green's Ciarán Cuffe and former Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald were elected earlier in the evening.

However the real drama came late last night as the final two seats were being decided. Ms Daly of Independents4Change was fourth last night behind Mr Andrews of Fianna Fáil and wanted the votes of Sinn Féin's Lynn Boylan redistributed once she is eliminated.

Normally counting stops after all candidates are deemed to be elected.

However, Ms Daly felt Ms Boylan's redistributed votes could push her from fourth place into third - relegating Fianna Fáil's Barry Andrews into fourth place.

Fianna Fáil sought legal counsel on the issue while Ms Daly was in discussions with officials in the RDS count centre.

The count was suspended last night and will resume at 11am today

The fourth MEP seat will only come into play once Britain leaves the EU - potentially some time this summer or as far away as October 31.

Outgoing MEP Ms Boylan secured less than half the number of first preferences in this election compared to when she topped the poll in 2014 and her transfers are now crucial in deciding third and fourth place.

Meanwhile Mr Cuffe said it was clear the young people of Ireland want to see change as he heralded "a new beginning" for the Green Party.

Mr Cuffe said it was clear his party would have a strong hand in Europe following a spread of support across the continent for the green movement.

He was elected on the 13th count at the RDS, finally passing the quota thanks to transfers from Fine Gael's Mark Durkan.

While Mr Cuffe said the Greens going into Government was "a question for another day", he said it was clear momentum was behind his party colleagues after they secured 48 seats in county and city councils up and down the country.

"I have seen good days and I have seen dark days and I am just so pleased that today is one of the good days and I look forward to building on that success. I am just really heartened by the result this evening but I am also heartened by the election of 48 Green Party councillors.

"In local authorities up and down the country we have a huge opportunity to play in transportation and planning issues but, more importantly, a platform as well to push the parties in Government to change their stance, their policies and to move on to considering climate change - not as an add-on but as an integral part of the policies that are required."

Ms Fitzgerald secured the second Dublin seat, making it over the line on the 14th count after securing 6,134 transfers following the elimination of Labour's Alex White.

She said Fine Gael had a strong vote in Dublin and said this was an endorsement of the party's handling of Brexit and recognition of the role it played in negotiations in Brussels.

Irish Independent

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