Monday 16 September 2019

Recount requested by Ní Riada to take three weeks and cost €1m

Sinn Féin’s Liadh Ní Riada. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Sinn Féin’s Liadh Ní Riada. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Ralph Riegel

Sinn Féin formally triggered a full recount in the European Parliament election in Ireland South with the destination of the five MEP seats now unlikely to be confirmed until after June 21.

The recount, to start at 9am on Tuesday in Cork, could cost the State up to €1m and take three weeks to complete.

It came after Sinn Féin and count staff checked vote bundles from Senator Grace O'Sullivan of the Green Party and outgoing Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada, who were separated by 327 ballots after the 18th count on Wednesday night.

Sinn Féin TD Jonathan O'Brien defended the recount decision and its likely cost: "I don't put any price on democracy." He acknowledged Sinn Féin had benefited by a single vote from the recheck.

"But there were a number of discrepancies found. For us to have full confidence in the outcome and the result, we felt a full recount of all the votes was the only option."

The recheck involved a review of around 2pc of the ballots.

Returning officer Martin Harvey confirmed the full recount after Ms Ní Riada formally requested one. The 755,987 ballots will now remain at the Nemo Rangers GAA count centre in Cork under Garda supervision.

"It is difficult. But that is democracy. We will do everything we can now," Mr Harvey said. Counting will run from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday - a process which could take three weeks.

Irish Independent

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