Friday 23 March 2018

Labour, FG trail in wake of newcomer

'Unknown' Sinn Fein European election candidate tops poll

Niall O'Connor, Political Correspondent

SINN Fein's Lynn Boylan said she couldn't believe it after she topped the poll in Dublin's European elections.

The relatively unknown politician had almost 30,000 votes to spare over her nearest rival, Fine Gael's Brian Hayes.

Both Fine Gael and Labour will be massively disappointed with their performance in the capital – with Emer Costello having no chance of being elected.

Ms Boylan secured 83,264 first preference votes (23pc) and was due to be elected following the result of the second count.

Junior minister Hayes was second with 54,676 and will need strong transfers to get up to the quota of 88,144.

If he struggles for transfers he could be dragged into a dogfight with Fianna Fail's Mary Fitzpatrick and the Green Party's Eamon Ryan, who are seperated by just 205 votes on the first count.

Mr Ryan was the surprise result of the night, collecting 44,078 votes or 12.3pc. He is seen as more 'transfer friendly' than the Fianna Fail candidate.

Nessa Childers is facing an uphill battle to be elected. Ms Childers, who secured just short of 36,000 votes, would need to benefit significantly from transfers.

Paul Murphy (SP) and Brid Smith (PBP) split the left-wing vote, with Ms Smith being elimated on the second count.

After the first count was revealed Ms Boylan said the electorate were "really angry".

"They were really hurt. They wanted to see somebody go over to Europe and not go along with a cosy consensus.

She promised to be an MEP who would "deal with each issue on its merits and whether it's a good deal for Ireland or not".

Emer Costello's political future is now in doubt. The former Dublin Lord Mayor attributed her poor vote to the public backlash against Labour and Fine Gael.

"We know now that Labour didn't do as good a job as we would have hoped. Certainly, it's good to fight an election with the wind at your back. There were a lot of issues," she said.

"But I am disappointed with the fact that many of the issues we debated were local issues and we never really got into the real debate that the country needed, that Dublin needed, on the future of Europe and the future of Ireland in Europe."

Fianna Fail's candidate Mary Fitzpatrick said she remained hopeful of taking a seat.

Ms Fitzpatrick did not run in the Dublin City Council elections and therefore the Euros appear to be make or break for the Fianna Fail politician.

Asked whether the return of the so-called Fianna Fail 'old guard' during the campaign damaged her chances, Ms Fitzpatrick said it is "impossible to tell".

"There is so many factors that go into an election campaign and you just look at the candidate who was so successful in this campaign and who has run away with it. Who could have said that someone could have come from nowhere and run away with it, steal the lead, steal the first seat, and probably have a surplus? I just don't know, there are so many factors for me."

Irish Independent

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