Cork East result: Huge shock as Kevin O'Keeffe (FF) loses his seat; FG and Labour hang on

Cork East result: Huge shock as Kevin O'Keeffe (FF) loses his seat; FG and Labour hang on
Fine Gael's David Stanton is congratulated by his nieces Fiona and Maria Stanton, after he was reelected in the Cork East constituency, at the count in the Mallow GAA Complex.Picture: David Keane.

FINAL RESULT: Pat Buckley (SF), Sean Sherlock (Lab), James O'Connor (FF), David Stanton (FG) are elected.

Kevin O'Keeffe has lost his seat in Cork East, with his Fianna Fáil running mate James O'Connor taking his place in a huge shock for the O'Keeffe political dynasty.

The final results came through at Mallow GAA complex at 2am, after a marathon count.

On the eighth count, O'Keeffe, from Mitchelstown, lost his seat with 9,078 votes, with Killeagh's O'Connor becoming one of the youngest TDs in the country at just 22 years old, with 9,731 votes.

There was joy and relief for Labour's Sean Sherlock and Fine Gael's David Stanton when they made it through in the same count.

Sean Sherlock being elected.
Sean Sherlock being elected.

Sherlock's total vote was 11,237, giving him the second seat. Stanton secured 10,309, including transfers, to bring him over the line.

Earlier, Sinn Fein's Pat Buckley was elected on the first count, after topping the poll with 12,587 first preference votes.

Following his election, Deputy Sherlock said: "Government formation is something that will realistically, in my view, have to involve Sinn Féin and another or other parties. 

"I just want to say that we have to recognise that mandate and there are so many issues in this country that we all need to start bridging the political divides to start working together."

James O'Connor celebrating
James O'Connor celebrating

In his victory speech, Deputy Stanton said it was his sixth election on the trot. 

He said the focus now is on creating a strong and stable government, which he said the country needs because it faces serious challenges nationally and internationally.

He added: "It is important that we are all responsible in this regard."

Following the count, James O'Connor said he was deeply honoured to be one of the youngest candidates to be elected to the new Dail.

Earlier: 

The makeup of the Cork East constituency for the next Dail will be decided in the count that is currently underway.

Four candidates, Fine Gael's David Stanton, Fianna Fáil's Kevin O'Keeffe and James O'Connor, and Labour's Sean Sherlock are fighting for the final three seats.

Sinn Fein's Pat Buckley topped the poll and was elected on the first count in the four-seat constituency.

The transfers from Independent candidate Mary Linehan Foley are now being redistributed among the remaining four candidates, who are fighting for the last three seats.

Her 5,986 votes are expected to be a major boost for Fianna Fail's James O'Connor, who currently holds 8,093 votes.

His running mate Kevin O'Keeffe is currently at 8,786.

Labour's Sean Sherlock is now at 9,894 votes while Fine Gael's David Stanton is at 9,576.

EARLIER: THE Green Party's Liam Quaide has been eliminated on the fifth count in Cork East, with his 4,442 votes being currently re-distributed.

Sinn Fein's Pat Buckley was elected on the first count but remains the only candidate to have been elected so far.

There are now six candidates left to fight for three seats. Fianna Fail's Kevin O'Keeffe stands at 7,916 votes while his party colleague James O'Connor has 7,365 votes.

Also still in contention is Fine Gael's Pa O'Driscoll on 4,736;

Independent Mary Linehan Foley with 5,063; Fine Gael's outgoing junior minister David Stanton on 6,318, and Sean Sherlock on 7,289.

Earlier:

Counting is well underway now in the second count in Cork East, where Pat Buckley took the first of the three seats after the first count. 

Fianna Fáil secured more than 14,000 between them, with Kevin O'Keeffe securing 7,414 first preferences and James O'Connor winning 7,026.

Labour's Sean Sherlock has 6,610.

James O'Connor spoke to The Echo about his campaign. 

Updated at 6.50pm:

Sinn Fein's Pat Buckley has been given an early birthday present with his election on the first count in the Cork East constituency.

The Midleton man secured 12,587 votes, surpassing the 10,909 quota.

His surplus is now being re-distributed.

A delighted Mr Buckley, whose birthday is tomorrow, said: "It is absolutely amazing. On a personal note, it is fabulous to be back here again. For so many people in east Cork to have put their faith in Sinn Fein. It has been an absolute honour and I am absolutely stuck for words."

Counting is now underway in the second count, taking place at Mallow GAA complex.

Fianna Fail secured more than 14,000 between them, with Kevin O'Keeffe securing 7,414 first preferences and James O'Connor winning 7,026.

Labour's Sean Sherlock has 6,610 votes shored up.

Outgoing junior minister David Stanton of Fine Gael secured 6,143 votes in the first count while his running mate, Pa O'Driscoll, stands at 4,554.

Independent Mary Linehan Foley currently has 3,903 votes.

Green Party candidate Liam Quaide has 3,749 first preferences.

The total poll was 54,945. There were 54,544 valid polls and 401 invalid votes.

First preference votes:

Pat Buckley (SF): 12,587 

Kevin O'Keeffe (FF): 7,414 

James O'Connor (FF): 7,026 

Sean Sherlock (Lab): 6,610 

David Stanton (FG): 6,143 

Pa O'Driscoll (FG): 4,554 

Mary Linehan-Foley (Ind): 3,903 

Liam Quaide (GP): 3,749 

Conor Hannon (Aon): 1,337 

Frank Shinnick (IFP): 455 

Thomas Kiely (Ind): 435 

Shane O'Grady (Ind): 267 

Sean O'Leary (Ind): 64

Updated at 5.10pm:

Sinn Fein's Pat Buckley arrived at the count centre in Mallow to a hero's welcome.

The Midleton-based TD is a certainty to top the poll in Cork East, with tallies showing him on 22.9% of the vote. 

The first official vote is not due for another few hours, with a long count expected to fill the four seats here. 

Mr Buckley thanked family, his team around him and all his supporters. 

Updated at 2.45pm:

THE final tallies from the Cork East constituency indicate that Pat Buckley of Sinn Fein will top the poll.

With 100% of the boxes opened and sorted by 2.30pm, Buckley has 22.9% of vote share. 

Fianna Fáil's two candidates are neck in neck, with Kevin O'Keeffe on 13.67% and 22-year-old councillor James O'Connor on 13.06%. Sean Sherlock has 12.3% share of the votes, while outgoing junior minister David Stanton of Fine Gael has 11.35% of the vote.

His party colleague, Pa O'Driscoll, attracted 7.83% of the poll - just ahead of Independent Mary Linehan Foley, who accounts for 7.72% of the poll. She romped ahead of other independents in the constituency, with the total poll for independents standing at 9.19%.

The Green Party's Liam Quaide took 6.55% of the vote.

Members of all parties accept there will be a close race for the final seat in the constituency.

UPDATED at 11.40am:

With half of the boxes tallied in Cork East constituency, Sinn Fein's Pat Buckley is set to top the poll. 

He currently holds 21.89% of the vote.

Fianna Fail has polled strongly in the constituency, with 28.36% of the vote. 

The boxes are from both sides of the constituency and put sitting TD Kevin O'Keeffe at 15.39%. 

Newcomer James O'Connor, who won a council seat in the last local elections, holds 12.97%.

Junior Minister David Stanton currently has a vote share of 10.57% while his Fine Gael running mate Pa O'Driscoll is at 8.82%.

Labour's Sean Sherlock has 11.43% of the poll, while the Greens have 5.86%.

Aontu has 2.3% of the vote, the Irish Freedom Party holds 0.75% and Independents have 10.1%. 

Mary Linehan Foley from Youghal holds 8.6% of the Independents vote.

At present, indications are that Buckley, O'Keeffe and Sherlock will be elected, with a dogfight for the last seat expected between David Stanton and James O'Connor.

UPDATED at 10.15am

With 20% of boxes tallied so far, Sinn Fein's Pat Buckley is on course to top the poll, with Labour, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil in a fight for the final seats. 

The latest tally showed: 

Pat Buckley (SF) on 22.5% of the vote. 

Labour's Sean Sherlock 13.6%

James O'Connor (FF) on 13.2%

Kevin O'Keeffe (FF) on 12.1% 

David Stanton (FG) 10.7%

Pa O'Driscoll (FG) 6.2% 

The majority of opened boxes are from the southern end of the constituency, including Youghal, Midleton and Cobh.

EARLIER: 

Votes cast in the Cork East constituency are being sorted in Mallow GAA complex this morning, under the watchful eyes of members from political parties.

The votes are being counted today following the surprise exit poll results released last night, showing Fine Gael, Sinn Fein and Fianna Fail vying for the top spot.

An early tally count from Cork East
An early tally count from Cork East

Privately, Fianna Fail members are expressing concerns that the bounce the party had expected is not likely to emerge in the ballot. 

One seasoned party member admitted to having a sleepless night last night after seeing the results of the exit poll, and raised the possibility that Micheal Martin's position as party leader could be challenged when the dust settles on the election.

Early tallies show Sinn Fein taking a quarter of the vote in the Cork East constituency, with 10% of boxes sorted.

The boxes are mainly from the south of the constituency, from Carrigtwohill, Cobh, Youghal and Midleton. Some boxes have also been opened from the Mallow area.

Sinn Fein's Pat Buckley currently holds 24.99% of the votes, with Fianna Fail accounting for 21.86%, while Fine Gael stands at 18.09%.

Labour has 16.97% of the vote at present, while the Greens attracted 8.5%.

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