Gildernew ‘not overly optimistic’ on EU election

Outgoing Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew has admitted she is facing an uphill battle to secure a seat in the EU parliament, as counting continues in the European elections in the South.

The voters may have gone to the polls across the border last Friday, but with none of the staggering 27 candidates in the huge 15-county Midlands North West constituency yet to reach close to the quota for election, counting is continuing today (Wednesday). Indeed, it could be tomorrow or even Friday before the first successful MEP is elected.

Counting only commenced on Monday, following the conclusion of counting in the southern council elections over the weekend, with the Sinn Féin veteran emerging with the sixth highest number of first preference votes, picking up a total of 45,807 and accounting for 6.47 percent of the vote.


Her party colleague, sitting MEP Chris MacManus, didn’t fair as well, picking up 29,427 first preferences, accounting for 4.47 percent of the vote.

Independent Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan topped the poll on the first count, former jockey Nina Carberry came in second for Fine Gael, with Barry Cowen coming in third for Fianna Fail, followed by Fine Gael’s Maria Walsh in fourth.

While it is likely former RTE journalist Ciaran Mullooly, with the fifth highest number of first preferences, will pick up the fifth and final seat, as with any STV (single transferable vote) election, it will all come down to transfers.

With it looking like MEP MacManus will eventually be eliminated from the count, Ms Gildernew could receive a significant transfer boost as a result of her party colleague’s misfortune.

Speaking yesterday afternoon, Ms Gildernew admitted this would be unlikely to get her over the line, however.

“We’re still in the mix but I’m probably not overly optimistic that I can overtake Ciaran Mullooly at this stage,” she said.

“I think he’s probably going to scrape the last seat – I think we have probably resigned to the fact at this stage that we won’t win the fifth seat.”


Former Stormont minister Ms Gildernew, who has been the MP for FST since 2017 and previously held the seat from 2001 until 2015, announced she was throwing her hat in the European ring earlier this year, in the hope of providing EU representation for the people of the North in the post-Brexit era.

Sinn Féin has selected nursing union boss Pat Cullen to defend the Fermanagh-South Tyrone seat in July 4′s Westminster election.

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