Tuesday 24 October 2017

Sinn Fein's Liadh ni Riada joins Brian Crowley as MEP for Ireland South

Ralph Riegel and Caroline Crawford

SINN Fein's new MEP Liadh ni Riada was serenaded in the Ireland South count centre by the famous traditional group, Cor Cuil Aodha, founded in Ballyvourney by her father, composer Sean O'Riada.

As she was cheered immediately following the confirmation of her election by returning officer Martin Harvey, the group gave a rousing rendition of one of her father's favourite songs, 'Mo Gille Mear'.

She was elected on the fourth count.

It represented an incredible achievement for the first time candidate and SF President Gerry Adams travelled to the Nemo Rangers GAA club count centre to congratulate her.

Earlier today veteran MEP Fianna Fail's Brian Crowley (50) was elected on the first count today in the sprawling constituency with a vote of 180,329 - an astonishing 50,000 ballots over the quota.

The electorate in Ireland South was a whopping 1.2m people - and the constituency stretches from Wicklow to west Cork and from Wexford to Clare.

It represents a personal triumph for the Cork politician who battled back from three years of health problems to secure his return to Brussels.

Mr Crowley, who was left paralysed by a childhood accident, is confined to a wheelchair and has suffered from sores on his legs over recent times related to his condition.

FF leader Michael Martin paid tribute to Mr Crowley who he said was “an outstanding MEP and a remarkable campaigner.”

Mr Crowley said he was “deeply humbled” by his fifth successive election to the European Parliament.

“I couldn’t have done this without the team behind me - I am very grateful for the trust that people have placed in me once again and I will work tirelessly not to let them down.”

Outgoing Fine Gael MEP and former GAA President Sean Kelly also looks certain to be re-elected with 83,520 votes.

However, the fourth and final seat will be settled in a dog fight between the two remaining FG candidates, Simon Harris and Deirdre Clune, who are followed by Fianna Fail’s Kieran Hartley,  Labour’s Phil Prendergast, Green’s Grace O’Sullivan and Independent/Anti-Bailout campaigner Diarmuid O’Flynn.

The count will continue into tomorrow.

Meanwhile, counting in the Midlands Northwest constituency has been suspended for the night after a third vote failed to get any further candidates over the line.

That leaves Independent Luke 'Ming' Flanagan as the only candidate to be elected at this stage.

Sinn Fein's Matt Carthy is currently on 120,723 - still 8,567 votes shy of the necessary quota.

Mairead McGuinness is still holding third place on 102,025 votes. Independent Marian Harkin has increased her lead over rival Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher for the final seat. She currently has 77,798 votes to his 62,071.

Independent Ronan Mullen was eliminated and his votes will now be distributed among the remaining candidates.

Counting will resume to fill the three remaining seats at 9am tomorrow.

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