CLARE TD Michael McNamara (IND) has been elected as an MEP taking the third of five seats in Ireland South.

In a lengthy count, McNamara was elected alongside Kathleen Funchion (SF) and Cynthia Ní Mhurchú (FF) as sitting MEP, Mick Wallace (IND) lost out on the twentieth and final count. He finished with 92,871 in third spot with Ní Mhurchí on 92,502 and Funchion on 90,070. All three were short of the quota of 114,761.

Michael becomes the first Clare MEP since Paddy Lane (FG) was elected in 1989 with Sylvester Barrett (FF) the last before him, he was elected in 1984

Sean Kelly MEP (FG) was elected on the first count on Monday night which left a total of twenty two candidates vying for the remaining four seats in the constituency which covers ten counties. Kelly topped the poll with 122,777.

Sitting MEP, Billy Kelleher (FF) retained his seat, surpassing the 1quota after John Mullins (FG) was eliminated, with over 12,000 of his votes going to the fellow Cork man. Kelleher was flanked by Clare Senator Timmy Dooley (FF) when speaking following his election.

Wallace and Grace O’Sullivan (GP) both lost their seats.

Cratloe farmer Eddie Punch (II) and Corofin architect and planner, Michael Leahy (IFP) joined Scariff’s McNamara as the Clare candidates in the field. McNamara received 56,339 first preferences, Punch had 20,751 and Leahy returned with 12,259 number one votes.

As per the tallies in Clare, Deputy McNamara received a very strong backing from his native county with 16,236 votes, Punch obtained 3,029 and 975 for Leahy.

By the twelfth count, McNamara’s vote has increased to 64,761, he was followed by Ní Mhurchí on 59,194, Wallace on 59,511, Funchion on 54,297 and O’Sullivan on 51,290.

Process of transferring votes between the South’s candidates, as per Ireland’s proportional representation took longer than had been estimated by observers at Nemo Rangers GAA Club in Cork.

While a first count was called at 10pm on the first day of counting in the 2019 European elections, the first count results took 24 hours longer to announce this year. The 2019 poll also saw a lengthy recount take place for days, after just over 300 votes separated Sinn Fein’s incumbent MEP Liadh Ni Riada and Ms O’Sullivan, a former Greenpeace activist.

The Clare Echo was first to report in April that McNamara was eyeing up a run for the European elections. Since becoming a TD for the second time in February 2020, the national profile of the Scariff native has increased considerably, aided by his stint as Chairperson of the Oireachtas’ COVID-19 committee.

In 2009, McNamara was an unsuccessful candidate in the European elections for the North-West constituency. He polled 12,744 first preference votes which worked out as 2.6 percent of the valid votes, Marian Harkin (IND), Pat ‘the Cope’ Gallagher (FF) and Jim Higgins (FG) were the successful candidates for that election.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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