EURO ELECTIONS: Battle for Ireland South to drag on for up to four more weeks
THE final list of elected candidates for the Ireland South constituency will not be known until June 21 after Sinn triggered a full recount in the European Parliament election.
The recount will begin at 9am next Tuesday morning in Cork and could cost the State up to €1m.
The recount decision was made after it emerged just 327 votes separate Green Party Senator Grace O’Sullivan and outgoing Sinn Fein MEP Liadh Ni Riada after the eighteenth count on Wednesday night.
Sinn Fein TD Jonathan O’Brien defended the decision – and the likely cost to the taxpayer – saying: “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.”
Senator O’Sullivan had won the fifth and final European Parliament seat with a vote of 98,706 after a marathon four-day count, fractionally ahead of Ni Riada on 98,379.
The mere 327 vote margin separated the two candidates out of more than 755,000 votes cast in the sprawling 12 county constituency, which includes Kilkenny.
Fine Gael MEP and former GAA President Sean Kelly topped the poll and was elected on the ninth count.
Former Fianna Fáil Minister Billy Kelleher was elected on the seventeenth count after exceeding the quota.
Wexford Independent TD Mick Wallace (112,441) and outgoing Fine Gael MEP Deirdre Clune (111,012) are also set to be being elected without reaching the 119,866 quota.