Counting begins for European elections

Staff at three count centres are beginning to count votes in the European elections around now.

No declarations can be made until the process is completed across Europe, but it looks like Sinn Fein will gain three MEP's and Fine Gael is confident of holding on to four of the 11 seats.

Counting of European ballots is getting underway at three count centres in Castlebar, Co Mayo, Nemo Rangers in Cork and the RDS in Dublin.

No declarations will be made until tonight when the polls close around the rest of Europe.

In Dublin, tallies and an RTÉ exit poll suggest Sinn Féin's Lynn Boylan will top the poll and take a seat.

But the remaining two seats will be fought out for between Fine Gael's Brian Hayes, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, Mary Fitzpatrick of Fianna Fáil and Independent Nessa Childers.

In the South constituency, Fianna Fáil's Brian Crowley will top the poll, Liadh Ni Riada of Sinn Féin's expected to take a seat, and Fine Gael is confident it can take two seats.

The Midlands North West constituency will see Luke Ming Flanagan top the poll and take a seat, followed by Fine Gael's Mairead McGuinness - with Sinn Féin's Matt Carthy also in a good position and Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Independent Marian Harkin fighting it out for a seat.

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