Irish election results complete after days of counting

Irish election results complete after days of counting

Ireland has ended a days-long marathon election count with the election of three MEPs in the final region to declare.

Fianna Fail has doubled its presence in the European Parliament to four, with Fine Gael also on four – down one from its previous showing in 2019.

Sinn Fein has increased its European representation from one to two, while Labour holds one seat, the Independent Ireland party claimed one and two non-party aligned independents fill the remainder.

In the early hours of Friday morning, the constituency of Midlands-North-West elected Fine Gael’s Nina Carberry and Maria Walsh as well as Independent Ireland candidate and former RTE correspondent Ciaran Mullooly.

It followed shortly after the election of Fianna Fail’s Barry Cowen, while left-wing independent Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan was the first candidate over the line in the constituency on Thursday.

European and local elections
Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan is elected at TF Royal Theatre (Conor McKeown/PA)

Former Northern Ireland MP Michelle Gildernew of Sinn Fein just lost out, coming sixth in the five-seater.

It was the last constituency to declare in the European Parliament elections.

Speaking to reporters, Mr Cowen said: “It now matters that we don the green jersey and ensure we live up to the expectations and commitments that have been given to the public.”

Ms Walsh said: “I’m really proud and honoured to be returned to the European Parliament.”

European and local elections
Mick Wallace at the count centre after he was eliminated (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ms Carberry said: “I wouldn’t be here without the voters, thank you for believing in me. I am ready to work.”

Mr Mullooly said: “I hope that my election brings forward another wake up call for the work that has to be done in the regeneration of our communities.”

Ireland South elected Fine Gael’s Sean Kelly, independent Michael McNamara, Sinn Fein’s Kathleen Funchion as well as Fianna Fail’s Billy Kelleher and Cynthia Ni Mhurchu.

Dublin’s electorate selected Fianna Fail’s Barry Andrews, Sinn Fein’s Lynn Boylan, Fine Gael’s Regina Doherty and Labour’s Aodhan O Riordain.

Five MEPs have lost their seats throughout the entire process: Sinn Fein’s Chris MacManus, Greens Grace O’Sullivan and Ciaran Cuffe as well as independents Mick Wallace and Clare Daly.

Irish voters headed to the polls last Friday to pick 949 local councillors, 14 MEPs and the country’s first directly elected mayor.

European and local elections
Tanaiste and party leader Micheal Martin (centre) with Fianna Fail’s Billy Kelleher and Cynthia Ni Mhurchu (Brian Lawless/PA)

Results from the three elections have been seen as a political boon for coalition partners Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, while the largest opposition party, Sinn Fein, has initiated a review after performing well below its own expectations.

Fianna Fail has emerged as the largest party in local government after all seats in Ireland’s local election were filled.

In the local elections, both main Government parties attracted around 23% of first preference votes, representing a slight drop on their 2019 result.

Fianna Fail had 248 seats on councils, with Fine Gael close behind on 245. Sinn Fein was on 102 while 186 seats were held by independents.

Sinn Fein has increased it share of councillors, but party leader Mary Lou McDonald has admitted the result fell below their expectations.

The popular vote of 12% is a dramatic turnaround in fortunes for the main opposition party which emerged from the 2020 general election on 24.5%.

Meanwhile, the Labour party is down one to 56 councillors, the Green Party’s support fell to 26 council seats while the Social Democrats’ share rose to 35.

The number of Independent councillors has also increased.

European and local elections
Taoiseach Simon Harris with Nina Carberry and Maria Walsh at TF Royal Theatre in Castlebar (Conor McKeown/PA)

Fianna Fail will be tied with Fine Gael in terms of political representation at the European Parliament, despite the latter ending the elections with one fewer seat.

Sinn Fein has also increased its share of MEPs, and is hopeful for an additional seat through Ms Gildernew.

The results have fuelled speculation that the Government may look to call a general election earlier than the current projected timeline of spring 2025.

However, the leaders of all three coalition parties, Mr Harris, Mr Martin and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, have all insisted they remain committed to the government going full term.

For her part, Sinn Fein leader Ms McDonald, who is facing questions over her stewardship of the party, has struck a defiant tone, urging Mr Harris to “bring it on” and call an early election.

With the election of TDs to the European Parliament, there will be a need for several by-elections in the coming six months.

European and local elections
Sinn Fein candidate Lynn Boylan (Gareth Chaney/PA)

That has added to speculation that the Government may seek an earlier general election, rather than fighting several potential by-elections only months before the Dail is dissolved.

Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Simon Harris travelled to Castlebar to congratulate Ms Carberry and Ms Walsh on their expected confirmation as MEPs.

Mr Harris said he and other Government leaders had not had a discussion on the holding of by-elections and added: “I certainly don’t fear by-elections.”

Asked about the fact that Fine Gael will be down by one seat by the end of the election, he said the party will review its strategy.

Elsewhere, in a landmark poll in Limerick for Ireland’s first directly elected mayor, independent candidate John Moran secured victory late on Tuesday afternoon.