FINE Gael’s Colm Burke and Solidarity's Mick Barry have been elected to Dáil Éireann.
Mr Burke hung in to claim the third seat for his party, exceeding the quota with 10,649 votes.
A visibly emotional Burke has been contesting Dáil elections intermittently since he first ran in 1982, and in a by-election in the constituency in 1994.
The newly elected TD said: “It’s hugely important for Cork North Central. My attitude is to work as a team for the people of the constituency, whether it’s the challenges of housing, or healthcare, or infrastructure.
“Personally, I’m delighted there was such a team effort made by the organisation and I think working together as a team we delivered the votes and delivered the seat for Fine Gael in Cork North Central,” he said.
His director of elections, former Minister Bernard Allen, said:
“I’ve been working with Colm Burke since the early 80s, since he was just out of short pants almost. He ran in ‘82, and he’s been a great supporter and servant to the party down through the years, and thank god his time has come,” he said.
“I’m honored to be his director of elections. When I was asked to do the job I jumped at the opportunity because I believed in the man, his integrity, and his commitment and dedication.
“Even after all those years he still has a lot to do. I look forward now to seeing his career now develop in the Dáil,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, Mr Allen gave The Echo his thoughts on what has transpired for Fine Gael.
“Across the country, it’s been a disappointing time. After nine years of Government you have to take the criticism for what’s not done. You rarely get any praise for what has been achieved over the years, bailing the country out from the brink of economic disaster. That’s just political reality.”
Solidarity’s Mick Barry also retained his seat in Cork North Central.
He managed to take the fourth and final seat in the constituency without reaching the quota with 9,396 votes on the fourteenth and final count.
He knew from the start of the campaign it would be difficult to retain a seat but said he was delighted to be returning to Dáil Éireann, having fended off the challenge of the independent candidate Kenneth O’Flynn.
After his re-election, he said: “Cork North Central was always going to be a dog fight for the last seat. I think the election has shown a strong desire among ordinary people for change.”
Barry also said that Sinn Fein and the Greens “should now rule out doing deals with either Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael. I do not think that those parties should be rescued,” he said.
Former Fianna Fáil councillor Ken O'Flynn, who left the party for a tilt at the Dáil in North Central, has said he is not to blame for the party failing to land a second candidate in the constituency.
Fianna Fáil’s Pádraig O’Sullivan is the second TD elected in the Cork North Central Constituency.
He was elected on the twelfth count exceeding the quota with 12,099 votes, which were the redistribution of his party colleague Tony Fitzgerald’s votes.
Pádraig said following his re-election that it was a long process and transfers were crucial in this election.
“I’m delighted we’ve kept our seat in Cork North Central and the fact that we’ve maintained our vote share since the by election. Nationally the trend hasn’t been as good for us, but at the same time we’re happy here with the work we’ve done on north central,” he said.
On doing business with Sinn Féin he said: “I’d rather see how the numbers fall, there’s a number of permutations and scenarios that could happen between forming coalitions with various parties to confidence and supply. All the avenues need to be explored.
“People have spoken in the election. People aren’t happy, and there’s no point in us pretending that another confidence and supply agreement might be to the people’s satisfaction. We genuinely have to look at everything and Come up with a programme for Government that people have confidence in.”
He also said that he was open to listening to all different permutations.
On the party performance in Cork North Central, he said they did believe they could get two TDS elected, but believed Kenneth O’Flynn hampered those chances.
“On the bounce of a ball another way we could have got that second seat. Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way. With an independent Fianna Fáil candidate running, essentially that didn’t help us today.”
Fianna Fáil’s Tony Fitzgerald congratulated his neighbour Thomas Gould on his election to Dáil Éireann, as Mr Fitzgerald was eliminated on the eleventh count in Cork North Central.
However he said that Sinn Fein’s poll topping success wasn’t necessarily enough of a mandate to be in government.
“Bear in mind that we had three candidates running for Fianna Fáil, so therefore it wasn’t possible for one of us to top the poll," he said. "We had that comfort in the last two elections, in the by election and with Billy Kelleher in 2016.
“I don’t see that as a major bargaining point of just topping the poll and being the first in, because it wasn’t for us in previous elections.
“There will be a huge challenge now to the Sinn Fein party to deliver on what they promised,” he added.
He also said he was delighted his colleague Pádraig O’Sullivan would be elected, while paying tribute to the party’s third candidate Sandra Murphy.
“This was all about the fourth seat and was it available to challenge in Cork North Central, and was it available to challenge by Fianna Fáil and I think the evidence proves that it was.”
Count staff in Nemo Rangers are on to count 11 this lunchtime in the Cork North Central constituency.
No one has been elected this morning, while Sinn Fein’s Thomas Gould was elected last night on the first count.
Fine Gael’s Lorraine O’ Neill,Sandra Murphy of Fianna Fáil, Sinéad Halpin of the Social Democrats, Aontu’s Finian Toomey and the Labour Party’s John Maher are out of the running since counting began this morning. Count staff are currently redistributing John Mahers 3,513 votes.
Mr Maher admitted the defeat was diffucult but said he would be straight back to work for the paople of Cork.
”Gutted not to have made it as a TD for Cork North Central but I'm still a Councillor for the Cork City North East Ward, so it's back to council business from tonight," he said. “The newly elected TDs have a big job to do to form a government and deliver for Cork North Central. Enough of the noise and shouting from the ditches, people must take up the responsibility of being elected.
“Thanks to all my amazing team for their love and support throughout the past three elections over nine months. We live to fight another day"
The only one of the eliminated candidates at the count centre so far this morning was Finian Toomey, who told The Echo: “Here in Cork North Central, it’s my third election In 12 months. I doubled the vote from the first time out, and I’m after adding another 500 votes to it this time.
“It’s a slow but sure increase and going forward this party is here for the long term. We’re not expecting g to be an overnight success,but we’re building across the 32 counties of this country, and were delighted with the success we’re having.”
Mr Toomey is a former Sinn Fein part member, but says despite their success, he’s happy with his decision to leave the party and join Aontu.
“The differences I had with the Sinn Fein party are fairly evident. Well done to the Sinn Féiners around the country who have done a fantastic job in garnishing a huge vote. I wonder do they even realize themselves who their electorate is now with the success that they have,” he said.
“The differences I had with the party were my own personal feelings on numerous subjects weren’t allowed to be articulated within that organization. That wasn’t going to change, so that’s why I left Sinn Féin,” he concluded.
As it stands, it’s likely Fianna Fáil’s Tony Fitzgerald will be the next to go, but less than 250 votes separate him and the Green Party’s Oliver Moran, so John Maher’s transfers will be crucial.
Tánaiste Simon Coveney has arrived at the count centre in Nemo this morning, where he said “there was a sense of restlessness” amongst the electorate who want to see change.
He said that Fine Gael weren’t bringing about change fast enough for the people, and believes that’s why people voted for something “fundamentally different.” Mr Coveney said it’s too early to talk about what the next Government is going to look like, and says it could take “weeks, if not months to get right.”
He reiterated that his party wouldn’t go into government with Sinn Fein but said they would make a “constructive contribution” to the process of forming a government.
Simon Coveney discusses party colleague Colm Burke.
His party colleague Colm Burke is likely to take a seat In Cork North Central, but Mr Coveney wasn’t jumping the gun.
“Nobody’s safe. It looks like Colm will take the seat. I think he deserves it. He’s an incredibly hard working Oireachtas member, as a Senator, but also as a councillor before that, and an MEP for a while,” he said.
“I think people respect the work rate of Colm Burke and they know that he will represent people on the ground from all sorts of backgrounds, whether it’s urban, rural, or wherever inCork North central.
“I really hope that Colm Burke comes through and I think he will.”
No second candidate has been elected in Cork North Central after seven counts.
The next closest candidate, Fianna Fáil’s Padraig O’Sullivan, is still almost 2,000 votes off the quota, which stands at 10,356. He has 8,624 votes currently.
His party colleague Sandra Murphy’s votes are now being distributed, which means he could do well this count, but won’t be enough to get him over the line this count.
Fine Gael’s Colm Burke is also steady, on 7,486 and still on track to take the third seat.
Solidarity’s Mick Barry sits on 5,594, with Kenneth O’Flynn (Ind) on 4,700, Oliver Moran (GP) on 3,617, Tony Fitzgerald (FF)on 3,610, and John Maher (Lab) on 3,128.
Depending on transfers, it’s likely than Finian Toomey (Aontu) or Sinéad Halpin (Soc Dems) will be eliminated after count 8.
Good morning - Sarah O'Dwyer is at Nemo Rangers GAA club to provide updates right across the day as counting resumes in the Cork North Central constituency.
Count centre staff have resumed their positions and have begun counting votes again this morning
First up is the redistribution of Independent candidate Ger Keohane’s votes of 866 for the Cork North Central constituency.
With 11 candidates still in the running for the three remaining Dáil seats, it’s likely to be a long day before we know the final make up of the TDs on Cork’s northside.
As it stands, it looks likely that Fianna Fáil’s Padraig O’Sullivan and Fine Gael’s Colm Burke will take seats, however it’s still early days and transfers in this constituency will be key.
The fourth and final seat is still all to play for.
Pádraig O’Sullivan (FF) 8,276
Colm Burke (FG) 6,748
Mick Barry (Sol) 5,457
Kenneth O’Flynn (Ind)4,546
Tony Fitzgerald (FF) 3,576
Oliver Moran (GP) 3,452
John Maher (Lab) 2,939
Finian Toomey (Aontu) 1,540
Sinéad Halpin (Soc Dems) 1,396
Sandra Murphy (FF) 1,278
Lorraine O’Neill (FG) 1,185
Sinn Féin's Thomas Gould topped the poll and was elected on the first count yesterday, in a day of high drama that also so his party colleague Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire top the poll in Cork South Central.
There were huge celebrations in Nemo as 'Taoiseach of the Northside' Tommy Gould was announced as the big winner in the constituency on Sunday.
See all the drama unfold in yesterday's liveblog