Minister calls for recount in tight race
THE final results of the election count in Wicklow will not be known until later today after former Fianna Fail minister Dick Roche last night requested a full recount.
In a surprise move Mr Roche, who seems certain to lose his seat, asked for the recount after he was eliminated before his Fianna Fail running mate.
The request was made at 6.30pm, when Mr Roche was not even in the count centre in Greystones. It came after transfers from Labour's Conal Kavanagh put him on 4,135 votes, three short of FF councillor Pat Fitzgerald.
Mr Fitzgerald also ran for FF in 2007, when Mr Roche and Joe Behan -- who left the party to become an independent TD but also looks like losing his seat this time out -- beat him well.
Mr Fitzgerald was set to beat the European Affairs Minister this time out, although it seemed highly unlikely either would be elected.
It is understood Mr Roche's tallymen surveying the transfers put him ahead, or level, with Fitzgerald. But the final count showed him coming up short and being eliminated.
Returning Officer Patricia Casey told the massive crowd at the centre last night that she was postponing the count until this morning. The crowd cheered loudly when she announced Mr Roche was the lowest-polled candidate.
Wicklow yesterday reached the 15th count with no TDs returned from a field of 24.
Fine Gael TD Andrew Doyle was topping the poll with just under 11,000 votes, closely followed by running mates Deputy Billy Timmins and Simon Harris. All were likely to be elected.
The fight for the last two seats is shaping up to be a battle between Anne Ferris (Labour), John Brady (Sinn Fein) and Independent Stephen Donnelly. Sinn Fein had called in legal advisers in the anticipation of a tight battle.