Election 2024 — Battle for European seats heating up as counting continues

With fewer than 20 council seats left to be filled, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil remain locked in a battle to become the largest party in local Government – just two votes were between them on Tuesday morning.

On Monday night, in the Ireland South constituency, the country elected its first of 14 MEPs. 

We’ll have live updates here on all the races as counts continue across the country.

At a glance

  • 939 of 949 council seats have now been filled
  • Fine Gael’s Seán Kelly has become the first MEP elected, topping the poll in Ireland South on the first count.
  • Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan topped the poll in the Midlands North-West constituency, but no candidate there has reached the quota just yet. 
  • After 16 counts, no candidate has yet been elected in the Dublin constituency. Barry Andrews and Regina Doherty are best placed to be elected as MEPs there, with Lynn Boylan and Niall Boylan holding on to the other two positions.
  • No candidate in the Limerick mayoral race has reached the quota either. After 11 counts, Independent John Moran is in the lead.
  • Follow all the results as they happen at the Irish Examiner election hub.

3.30pm

Fianna Fáil’s Dee Ryan has been eliminated from the Limerick mayoral contest. Just two candidates – Independents John Moran and Helen McDonnell – remain in the race. 

Dee Ryan collected over 18,800 votes before being eliminated on the eleventh count. 

Her votes will now be distributed among the two remaining candidates John Moran who is on 24,958 and Helen O’Donnell on 19,353. 

3.10pm

In the Dublin count centre, count 16 is done. 

People Before Profit’s Bríd Smith is the latest elimination, and still no one has been elected, or even come close to the quota for that matter.

“I’m glad it’s all over to be honest, it’s been a long old haul,” she said. She adds that she hopes her 28,772 votes are transferred to Daly, something she has been calling for. But, she concedes, this has been a “weird election”, so who can say.

As expected the Social Democrats’ Sinead Gibney’s 18,000 strong vote went majorly to Ciaran Cuffe and Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, with 3,207 and 4,433 respectively.

3pm

A few candidates have have shown up in Cork and Castlebar. 

At the Ireland South count centre, Fianna Fáil’s Cynthia Ní Mhurchú has arrived at Nemo Rangers, where she sits in fourth position, giving the party a chance at a second seat. 

She said that she is “absolutely honoured and delight” and “humbled” by her vote of over 55,000. The former RTÉ host and current solicitor would not be drawn on whether she will remain in politics should she not be successful here, but indicated she would.

Limerick mayoral candidate ballot paper being counted at Limerick Racecourse on Monday. Picture: Karlis Dzjamko
Limerick mayoral candidate ballot paper being counted at Limerick Racecourse on Monday. Picture: Karlis Dzjamko

She said he experience of politics has “so positive” and that she would “find it very hard to leave that all behind me”.

Meanwhile, at the Midlands-North-West count centre, Senator Niall Blaney has been noncommittal in whether or not he plans to run again for the Seanad, saying that he will consider it.

The MEP candidate admitting that he was out of the running for a seat. Mr Blaney is currently polling at 30,492 votes, well below his party colleagues Barry Cowen and Lisa Chambers.

Mr Blaney said that transfers from himself and Ms Chambers would be key to electing Mr Cowen.

Asked if two candidates could have seen two Fianna Fáil MEPs elected in Midlands North West, Mr Blaney said: “Maybe, there’s always a possibility.” 

“But it is what it is now. I’m not a man who holds grudges, I say what I have to say when I need to say it, and I’ve done that,” he said, referring to an internal party row over candidate selection.

“It’s time for me to take a step back and analyse everything over the next number of weeks and see where I go from here personally.” 

Here’s Irish Examiner Political Reporter Tadgh McNally with more on the state of play in the Midlands:

2.25pm

At the Nemo Rangers GAA club in Cork, Irish Examiner Political Correspondent Paul Hosford reports that re-elected Fine Gael MEP Seán Kelly’s distributed surplus votes have seen Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher pick up 1,963 more votes, giving him a total of 93,000.

Fine Gael’s John Mullins has picked up 2,633 and Fianna Fáil’s Cynthia Ní Mhurchú has picked up 770.

Independent candidate Ciaran O’Riordan has been eliminated.

Overall, there is an expectation that the Ireland South count could go on until Friday morning at this point.

The last three seats remain up for grabs, but Michael McNamara should be boosted when Independent Ireland’s Eddie Punch is eliminated, meaning a face off between Ní Mhurchú, independent MEP Mick Wallace, Sinn Féin’s Kathleen Funchion and sitting Green MEP Grace O’Sullivan.

2.20pm

After the fifth count over in the Midlands North-West constituency, Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan is still in pole position with 79,019 votes. Both Fine Gael’s Nina Carberry and Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowen are neck-and-neck for second place, with 74,286 and 74,204 votes respectively.

Fine Gael’s Maria Walsh remains in fourth place, with 71,879 votes, and Independent Ireland’s Ciaran Mullooly picking up a lot of transfers, hitting 58,260 votes.

As we head into the sixth count, People Before Profit’s Brian O’Boyle has been eliminated, with his votes now due to be distributed.

2.10pm

The local election results are still coming in! In Carlow, the count in the Tullow LEA has concluded. 

With Brian O’Donoghue (FG) and Jim Deane (SF) elected, there are now just 10 unfilled council seats in the country.

1:45pm

Not too many candidates about in the Simmonscourt as we head for count 16.

Labour’s Aodhán O’Ríordáin and Ciaran Cuffe will likely do well from Sinead Gibney’s 18,000 transfers.

After that, things start to get complicated. It will be a proper dogfight for the fourth seat. 

1.16pm

Back to Dublin where count fifteen in Dublin sees the 14,117 votes of Aontu’s Aisling Considine redistributed, reports Cianan Brennan. 

Not unexpectedly, the big winner this time out was Niall Boylan, who picked up 3,223 transfers. That still leaves him 2,500 shy of Lynn Boylan though who got 795 herself and now stands on 45, 780.

Sinn Fein Senator Lynn Boylan. File Picture:Conor Ó Mearáin/Collins Photos
Sinn Fein Senator Lynn Boylan. File Picture:Conor Ó Mearáin/Collins Photos

Both Barry Andrews and Regina Doherty picked up about 1,000 votes apiece. The Social Democrats Sinead Gibney is now gone, 441 votes shy of her deposit, which will sting.

Her 18,396 votes will be redistributed next.

Independent incumbent Clare Daly did very well out of the Aontu vote – coming out with 1,221 transfers of her own. She’s still adrift of Ciaran Cuffe and Aodhan O Riordain, but Brid Smith will be the next eliminated, and a huge amount of her 25,750 votes will likely transfer to Ms Daly.

Fully 4,700 of the Aontu candidates votes failed to transfer, which answers the question of where they were likely to transfer. The answer? A third of them didn’t go anywhere really.

1.08pm

Fine Gael’s Daniel Butler has been eliminated from the Limerick mayoral contest. Just three candidates – Independents John Moran and Helen McDonnell and Fianna Fáil’s Dee Ryan – remain in the race. 

Daniel Butler collected over 13,600 votes before being eliminated on the tenth count.

John Moran is steadily attracting transfers and remains on track to become Ireland’s first ever directly-elected mayor.

12.40pm

As a Mayo GAA supporter, I know that you do not leave until you hear the final whistle.

– Sitting Fine Gael MEP Maria Walsh speaks to Irish Examiner Political Reporter Tadgh McNally about the ongoing race in the five-seat Midlands North-West constituency.

12.25pm

Back to Dublin now where Cianan Brennan reports that the first count of the day from the RDS Simmonscourt has seen, unsurprisingly, Sinn Fein’s Lynn Boylan pick up the lion’s share of transfers from her running mate Daithi Doolan.

The 7,498 transfers Ms Boylan has received put her firmly back in third place of four ahead of former DJ Niall Boylan, with 44,985 leading 40,012 respectively, Mr Boylan receiving just 397 transfers on the fourteenth count.

The next biggest winner was People Before Profit’s Brid Smith with 938 bringing her to 25,222 votes.

The Green’s Ciaran Cuffe and Labour’s Aodhan O Riordain are in fifth and sixth place, 7,000 and 8,000 votes adrift of Mr Boylan.

Aontu’s Aisling Considine has now been eliminated and her 14,117 votes will be distributed. Where they will go is the big unanswered question.

Front runners Barry Andrews and Regina Doherty will have to wait a bit longer to be confirmed as the first two candidates elected for the Dublin constituency, though that’s just a question of time.

Meanwhile, the Social Democrats Sinead Gibney remains a concerned presence at the count centre. She’s still about 900 votes away from regaining her deposit, and as things stand she’ll be the next candidate eliminated.

There was some suggestion she might look for a full recount, but given the gap she still has to bridge that is looking a deal less likely at this stage. 

12.09pm

James Reynolds, the disputed leader of the far-right National Party, has been eliminated from the Midlands North-West MEP race on count four. 

11.30am

Back to Limerick where Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan has been excluded from the Treaty County’s mayoral election after count eight.

Count 9 is now under way and Mr Quinlivan’s 11,571 votes are being distributed.

Four candidates remain in the race: Independents John Moran and Helen McDonnell, Dee Ryan of Fianna Fáil, and Daniel Butler of Fine Gael.

11.25am

In Castlebar, counting has resumed in Midlands North-West constituency. 

A quick recap of where things stand there:

Sitting Independent MEP Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan was top of the poll after count 3 with 78,700 votes.

Candidate Luke 'Ming' Flanagan speaking to the media during the counting of votes at TF Royal Theatre in Castlebar on Monday. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Candidate Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan speaking to the media during the counting of votes at TF Royal Theatre in Castlebar on Monday. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Fine Gael’s Nina Carbey was in second place with 74,110, followed by Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen on 74,041, Fine Gael MEP Maria Walsh on 71,693, and Ciaran Mullooly of the Independent Alliance on 57,530.

11.02am

And speaking of Kenmare, Independent candidate Dan McCarthy and his supporters chose to celebrate his election with a spot of impromptu line dancing:

10.36am

With the conclusion of the count for the Kenmare LEA on Monday night, all 33 seats on Kerry County Council have now been filled.

In terms of its makeup, the council will include 11 Independents – 3 more than the last time around – 9 Fianna Fáil representatives, six from Fine Gael, four from Sinn Féin, two from Labour, and one from the Kerry Independent Alliance.

10.15am

Counting has resumed in Limerick in the inaugural directly elected mayor election, David Raleigh reports.

However, it is likely we will have to wait until tonight, or perhaps tomorrow, before an announcement is made. There are a lot of votes to count yet as we get down to the final five candidates out of what was a starting 15.

John Moran (Ind) remains out in front on 19,719 votes, with Helen O’Donnell (Ind) on 14,288, Dee Ryan (FF) on 12,288, Daniel Butler (FG) on 11,337, and Maurice Quinlivan (SF) on 9,528, bringing up the rear of the chasing pack.

Counting staff are currently sorting through 9,488 votes of Frankie Daly (Ind) and Elisa O’Donovan SD, after they were both eliminated after count eight overnight.

9.15am

To Carlow now, where a second recount is due to take place amid an extremely close race for the final two council seats of this seven-seater. 

The last recount had Fine Gael’s Brian O’Donoghue on 894, Sinn Féin’s Jim Deane on 893, and Fine Gael’s Catherine Callaghan on 892. The result of the second recount will not be announced until later this morning

8.45am

With only a couple votes separating Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in the race to become the biggest party in local Government, Irish Examiner  Political Editor Elaine Loughlin reports that Taoiseach Simon Harris has told members of his own party that Fine Gael is on track to win 245 local seats and will see four MEPs elected.

In a voice note sent to Fine Gael candidates this morning, Simon Harris described the results as “incredible” but added that the work continues and he is back at his desk.

He said: “I’m really encouraged by the results, to have polled more first preference votes than any other party in the local elections for what I think is only the second time in the history of our country, to have polled more first preference votes in the European elections than any other party is a testament to your hard work, the work we’ve done on the ground, and the listening and responding we have done to key issues and concerns being raised by people and particularly over the last number of weeks.”

In a message sent to a Fine Gael candidates WhatsApp group, Mr Harris said he has been Taoiseach for 63 days and in that time actions have been taken in a number of areas including migration.

8.10am

Here’s a quick recap of where things stand in race to become Limerick’s first ever directly elected mayor.

After right counts, and the distribution of Labour Candidate Conor Sheehan’s votes, John Moran (Ind) is on 19,719. 

L-R Candidates John Moran and Brian Leddin chatting as counting continues at Limerick Racecourse in Limerick's mayoral election in which citizens voted to directly elect their own mayor for the first time in the history of the State. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire
L-R Candidates John Moran and Brian Leddin chatting as counting continues at Limerick Racecourse in Limerick’s mayoral election in which citizens voted to directly elect their own mayor for the first time in the history of the State. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

In second place is Helen O’Donnell (Ind) on 14,288, while Dee Ryan (FF) is third on 12,937.

7.20am

While most count centres closed again for the night between 10pm and 11pm, some continued beyond that. 

To begin this morning, let’s recap some overnight developments:

• Vote counting adjourned in the Midlands-North-West constituency shortly before 1am. No candidates reached the quota there after three counts.

Independent outgoing MEP Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan topped the poll, followed by Fine Gael’s Nina Carberry and Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowen.

The fourth count will get under way at 10am this morning.

• Three days in to counting, just a handful of LEAs are yet to fill their remaining seats. These include: Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, Kildare County Council, Meath County Council, Offaly County Council, and Carlow County Council. 

• In Offaly’s Birr LEA, a recount was requested after the 12th count. 

At around midnight, just 27 votes separated Social Democrats candidate Clare Claffey – who requested the recount – from Sinn Féin’s Sean Maher.

The full recount will commence at 2pm on Tuesday afternoon.

  • Catch up on all of Monday’s events here



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