Billy Kelleher re-elected as MEP in Ireland South as battle on for final seats

Billy Kelleher Re-Elected As Mep In Ireland South As Battle On For Final Seats
Fianna Fail's Billy Kelleher (right) celebrates with party leader Micheal Martin at the count centre in Cork after he was re-elected as an MEP, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA

Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher has been re-elected as an MEP, becoming Ireland’s sixth confirmed European parliamentarian.

The Corkman celebrated with his staff at Nemo Rangers GAA Club in Cork.


“It is emotional to be adjudicated by your peers and to be found to be in good stead with them is a huge honour,” he said, thanking his wife, children and colleagues.

“Today really is a crowning achievement, to be vindicated for the last five years as their representative in Europe.”

Tánaiste and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said “there’s a real prospect” of Mr Kelleher’s running mate Cynthia Ní Mhurchú taking a second seat.

“Suffice to say that the Fianna Fáil campaign was around the idea that we need to send serious, committed, pro-European Union candidates, be critical yes, but pro the union (to the European Parliament).”


A battle continues for the final three seats after five day of counting votes in the 10-county constituency of Ireland South.

Independent Clare TD Michael McNamara is expected to take a seat after several rounds of receiving a good chunk of transfers, he received 20 per cent of anti-immigration candidate Derek Blighe’s total votes.

Sinn Féin TD Kathleen Funchion was propelled into prime position to take a seat after the elimination of her running mate Paul Gavan, where she won 61 per cent of his vote.

Ms Funchion’s place was further solidified after a surprising 4,000 votes from the Social Democrats’ Susan Doyle, and 11 per cent of Mr Blighe’s transfer votes.


In the hunt behind Ms Funchion are Fianna Fáil’s Ms Ní Mhurchú and outgoing independent MEP Mick Wallace, whose fates are set to be decided by the expected elimination of Grace O’Sullivan after Mr Kelleher’s surplus is shared out.

European and local elections
Mick Wallace at the count centre as counting continues at Nemo Rangers GAA club in Cork, Ireland, in the European elections (Brian Lawless/PA)

Speaking on Wednesday evening, Ms O’Sullivan admitted that her chances of being re-elected were “slipping away”.


With a “swansong” message, she said it was not just the Green Party’s responsibility to push climate change policies to the fore, but also that of their coalition parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

The former Greenpeace activist said she had not been as “extraordinarily” transfer friendly in this vote as she was in the 2019 European election, and said it “feels that momentum has gone” from the Green Party.

European and local elections
Green Party candidate Grace O’Sullivan at the count centre as counting continues at Nemo Rangers GAA club in Cork, Ireland, in the European elections (Brian Lawless/PA)


“People have other things on their minds, and that concerns me because as an ecological party and as an ecologist myself, climate change has not gone away by any doubt.”

She also said that her own stance on an EU exception given to Irish farmers allowing them to use organic nitrates had hurt her level of transfer-friendliness.

She added: “Maybe in this case, with the rise of the independents, that also there was a bit of a backlash to some of the maybe inconvenient truths that I was putting out.”

She said she would not announce whether she would run for the Dáil, and instead would focus on closing her office on Washington Street and organise letters of reference for her staff members.

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