FINE Gael has taken the final two seats in the Ireland South European election constituency after a mammoth three-day count.
Following the election on Monday lunchtime of long-term MEP Brian Crowley, and first time Sinn Fein candidate Liadh Ni Riada to the massive constituency, Fine Gael followed by returning former GAA president Sean Kelly to the European Parliament late Tuesday.
And following a tense finale, his running mate, Senator Deirdre Clune was also elected to the Brussels legislature at the expense of fellow Fine Gael man Simon Harris.
Following a busy day at the Cork count centre, there were eliminations for Ballyhea’s Diarmuid O’Flynn, outgoing Labour MEP Phil Prendergast, and Sixmilebridge Independent Richard Cahill.
Mr Kelly took a total of 121,566, so he was elected without reaching the quota of 131,500.
Meanwhile, Ms Clune secured 74,370 votes.
It was enough to edge out Mr Harris who got 70,808 votes.
Sports journalist and ‘Ballyhea says no’ leader Mr O’Flynn took an impressive 51,387 votes, while Mr Crowley was elected on Monday for a record fifth time to Europe, with a whopping 180,329 first preference votes. He was followed some nine hours later by Ms Ni Riada, who exceeded the quota on the seventh count with 132,590.
Sixmilebridge-based Independent candidate Richard Cahill was eliminated on the fifth count with 15,310 votes altogether, or a 1.6% share.