Sinn Fein’s Matt Carthy has just become the party’s fourth MEP after being elected after seven counts in a marathon count in Castlebar, County Mayo.
As the announcement of the new totals were announced, finally confirming he had passed the quote, supporters cheered and held his hands aloft and as the presiding officer deemed him elected, he was hoisted up on shoulders and lusty singing broke out among his Monaghan-based team.
In advance of his election as member of the European Parliament for the Midlands-North-West constituency, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams hailed the election of the party’s first male male MEP. “Quite an achievement,” he tweeted.
Mr Carthy’s surplus will now decide the recipient of the fourth and final seat in the constituency, which is likely to go to Sligo-based independent incumbent Marian Harkin. That result could incredibly see the three establishment parties deprived of three out of the four seats in Ireland’s largest Euro constituency.
O RIADA MUSIC
On Monday night, Sinn Fein’s Liadh Ni Riada was elected as MEP for Ireland South. She was elected on the fourth round of counting that only concluded this evening, two days after counting began.
The returning officer had barely announced the result when Sinn Fein and the O Riada clan, one of the most acclaimed traditional music families in the country, starting singing in close harmony.
Brother Peadar produced an accordion and members of a traditional choir gathered round and performed a rendition of ‘Mo Gille Mear’, a song with deep personal connections to the O Riada family.
“That was originally a recruiting song in the Gaelic nation 300 years ago,” Peadar said. “And when my father Sean died, I started using it as an anthem to try and draw us together as a community.”
Corkwoman Ms Ni Riada was elected on the fourth count with 132,590 votes, nearly nine hours after Fianna Fail poll topper Brian Crowley.
The former Irish television producer was virtually unknown outside arts and culture circles up until a few months ago.
She thanked “every single person” who voted for her and said that her election was a victory for the ordinary people of Ireland.
Speaking from the count centre, she said there was a “better, fairer alternative” to the politics of austerity and cuts.
“My election is a victory for ordinary people who have suffered so much under the regressive policies pushed by the European Commission and implemented with such relish by successive governments here at home,” she said.
Diarmuid O’Flynn of Ballyhea protest group narrowly failed to secure election in the face of careful vote management by Fine Gael, which secured two seats in the South constituency. O’Flynn led a campaign which marched weekly against the 28 billion euro ‘bondholder bailout’ of international investors and speculators who held stakes in Irish banks.
Ms Ni Riada said the Dublin government and MEPs had failed to lift the “toxic banking debt” off the shoulders of the Irish people.
“This is an injustice and it must be addressed and addressed genuinely - not just kicking the debt down the road to be endured by future generations,” she said. “It is not our debt and it is not the debt of our children and grandchildren.”
TUV TURN THEIR BACKS
In the North, all three outgoing European MPs were re-elected for another term after another lengthy count in Belfast, and almost five days after polling took place.
On Monday evening, Sinn Fein’s Martina Anderson was declared elected after she topped the poll and reached the quota. Giving her acceptance speech this evening, a day after she was elected, Ms Anderson noted that Sinn Fein was on its way to taking four seats across the island of Ireland and hailed the party’s success.
“The voice of the voters have been heard throughout Ireland, they have endorsed the Sinn Fein message that there is a fair way,” she said. “The Sinn Fein result is part of a national story reflecting the growth of support for Sinn Fein’s strategy for change. There will be a national Sinn Fein team of MEPs going to Europe who will put Ireland first - north, south, east and west.”
Welcoming the re-election of his party’s candidate Diane Dodds, DUP leader Peter Robinson described the number of different unionist candidates as a “dangerous phenomenon”.
“It’s one that will lose us seats in a Westminster election and critically could do so in an assembly election as well,” he told journalists. “The unionist community is going to have to face those issues, simply because we have a difference on an issue doesn’t mean you start up a new party. When someone does, we can see what the consequences have been.”
The UUP’s Jim Nicholson, who was the last to be re-elected, said he was delighted to again represent the region in Europe.
He also commented on his party’s success on the back of his win and gains in the local government election. “The party’s health is the best it’s been for many a long day,” he added.
Members of the hardline unionist TUV turned their back on Ms Anderson, a former political prisoner, as she gave her speech. TUV leader Jim Allister, who was beaten to the third seat by incumbent Jim Nicholson of the DUP, later denounced Anderson as a “victim maker”.
In his speech, he said his candidacy had succeeded in increasing the overall unionist vote, rather than fracture it as his unionist rivals had warned.
“My hand has been greatly strengthened”, he said, and every vote he received represented those “who haven’t bowed the knee” to Sinn Fein or to Sinn Fein/DUP “misrule”. At the conclusion of his speech, his supporters followed the Paisleyite tradition by delivering a sombre rendition of the British national anthem.
A full results round-up will be published in our weekly issue.
RESULTS - EURO ELECTION TOTALS (13 out of 14 seats filled)
Sinn Fein 4
Fine Gael 4
Fianna Fail 1
Democratic Unionist Party 1
Ulster Unionist Party 1
RESULTS - LOCAL ELECTIONS TOTAL (1405 out of 1411 seats filled)
Fianna Fail 266
Sinn Fein 262
Fine Gael 232
Democratic Unionist Party 130
Ulster Unionist Party 88
MIDLANDS-NORTH-WEST - RESULT (Count 7)
Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan (Ind.) 124063 - Elected (Count 2)
Matt Carthy 17.7% (SF) 114727 - Elected (Count 7)
Mairead McGuinness (FG) 92080 - Elected (Count 5)
Marian Harkin (Ind.) 68986
Pat The Cope Gallagher (FF) 59562
Thomas Byrne (FF) 55384 - Eliminated (Count 6)
Jim Higgins (FG) 39908 - Eliminated (Count 4)
Ronan Mullen (Ind.) 36326 - Eliminated (Count 3)
Lorraine Higgins (Lab) 31951 - Eliminated (Count 2)
SOUTH - RESULT (Concluded)
Brian Crowley (FF) 180329 - Elected (Count 1)
Liadh Ni Riada (SF) 125309 - Elected (Count 4)
Sean Kelly (FG) 83520 - Elected (Count 12)
Deirdre Clune 47453 (FG) - Elected (Count 12)
Simon Harris 51483 (FG)
Kieran Hartley 29987 (FF) - Eliminated (Count 11)
Diarmuid O’Flynn 30323 (Ind.) - Eliminated (Count 10)
Phil Prendergast 30317 (Lab) - Eliminated (Count 9)
Grace O’sullivan 27860 (Green) - Eliminated (Count 8)
SIX COUNTIES - RESULT (Concluded)
Martina Anderson (SF) 159813 - Elected (Count 1)
Diane Dodds (DUP) 131163 - Elected (Count 6)
Jim Nicholson (UUP) 83438 - Elected (Count 8)
Alex Attwood (SDLP) 81594
Jim Allister (TUV) 75806 - Eliminated (Count 7)
Anna Lo (Alliance) 44,432 - Eliminated (Count 6)
Henry Reilly (UKIP) 24584 - Eliminated (Count 5)