EURO ELECTIONS: Kilkenny candidate’s transfers could decide battle for final seat in Ireland South
THE contest for the Ireland South constituency of the European elections is entering its final stages, with two candidates elected and a battle royale emerging between three female candidates for the final two seats.
Former Fianna Fáil Junior Minister Billy Kelleher was elected to the European Parliament today thanks to a massive vote transfer from his running mate, Councillor Malcolm Byrne.
Kelleher follows poll-topper Sean Kelly after the Fine Gael candidate and former GAA president romped home in the polls.
Wexford TD Mick Wallace is certain to be elected as the third candidate in the five-seater constituency.
But a dramatic battle is now underway between three female candidates – sitting Fine Gael MEP Deirdre Clune, Green Senator Grace O’Sullivan and outgoing Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ni Riada – for the final two seats.
Just 2,400 votes in Ireland South now separates Ms Clune, Ms Ni Riada and Senator O’Sullivan out of more than 755,000 cast.
The only Kilkenny candidate to contest the Euro poll, outgoing Councillor Breda Gardner, polled an impressive 10,000 first preference votes in an extremely crowded field of candidates.
And with the tiny margins at stake, Gardner’s transfers – the majority of which benefited the Green and Sinn Féin candidates – could yet have a pivotal say in the battle for the final seat in Ireland South.