Sinn Fein concession paves way for second Green MEP

June 4th, 2019

The withdrawal of Sinn Fein’s request for a full recount of votes for Ireland South has paved the way for the election of a second Green Party politician to the European Parliament.

Sinn Féin had initially demanded the
recount last week after a recheck of votes revealed that Green Party Senator
Grace O’Sullivan was only 326 votes ahead of the pary’s outgoing MEP Liadh Ní
Riada.

The recount was set to determine the
occupier of the fifth and final seat in the South constituency, with 756,000 ballot
papers scheduled for recount.

Announcing her party’s decision to
withdraw its call for a recount, Ms Ní Riada congratulated her Green Party
opponent, adding that the “democratic process” has provided the “clarity”
sought by her party.

Ms Ní Riada said that she was happy
with her performance during her tenure in the EU Parliament, adding that she
had delivered “her very best”.

“I am incredibly proud of my term as an MEP. I always did my
very best to deliver for constituents and to defend Ireland’s interests in the
European Parliament,” she said.

“Over the past five years, Sinn Féin’s team of MEPs have
stood up for equality, social justice and democracy. I am honoured that I was
part of those efforts.”

In
recent days, Ms O’Sullivan had said that she “understood” Sinn Féin’s request
for recount adding, however, that she would’ve conceded to defeat if the
situation was reversed.

Sinn
Féin also found itself under public scrutiny due to the estimated €1 million cost of a full recount of ballot papers.

Ms Ní Riada’s votes will be distributed tomorrow and will be a crucial factor in determining if Ms O’Sullivan or Fine Gael’s Deirdre Clune takes the fourth seat. The fifth and final seat cannot be taken up until after Britain officially leaves the EU.

Fine Gael’s Seán Kelly and Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher are already elected, with Independents4Change TD Mick Wallace set to take the third seat.

Ms O’Sullivan will join Ciaran Cuffe in the EU Parliament as the first Green Pary candidates elected to Europe since Patricia McKenna’s victory in the 2004 race.

The
Dublin City councillor and former Junior Minister reached the quota in the
capital race after the 13th count.

Mr Cuffe’s election forms part of the green wave that has hit several European countries this election cycle, with the Greens/EFA grouping experiencing a 50 per cent bump in seats.

About the Author

Shamim Malekmian

Shamim is a Senior Reporter at The Green News and a contributing writer to the Irish Examiner, Cork Evening Echo and the Dublin Inquirer.

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