EU ballot 'may need to be counted twice'
Votes in Ireland's upcoming European Parliament elections may have to be counted twice because of Brexit.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar acknowledged that the confusion over Brexit may now have a major impact on Ireland's European Parliament elections on May 24 - and the number of Irish MEPs ultimately elected.
Constituencies such as Dublin and Ireland South (Munster and South Leinster) were scheduled to gain a seat because of the UK leaving the EU.
However, because the Brexit talks have stalled, the UK - if a withdrawal agreement is not ratified over the coming weeks - may have to contest its own European Parliament elections in May.
This will ensure that while the UK runs European Parliament elections it vowed never to hold, other countries which were due to gain European Parliament seats will not get them until the UK formally departs.
"What we might have to do on the day of the count is count the votes twice," Mr Varadkar said.
"Once as though [for instance] it might be a five-seat [constituency] and one as if it were a four-seat [constituency]."
Mr Varadkar, speaking at the Irish Distillers facility in Midleton, Co Cork, said the Brexit situation has implications for all Irish political parties.
"At the moment Fine Gael has four seats - our ambition is to hold those four seats," he said.
"[If] there are extra seats to make some gains... in Dublin it might be a three-seat or a four-seat depending on whether the UK stays or not, in Ireland South which is Munster and South Leinster, it might be a five-seat or a four-seat."