There were talks of a full recount tonight due to the narrow gap between Ms Ní Riada and Green Party Senator Grace O’Sullivan, who were just 522 votes apart after the 17th count.
That count saw Mr Kelleher, a Cork North Central TD, topping the quota after his running mate Malcolm Byrne was eliminated, while sitting Fine Gael MEP Deirdre Clune made a Lazarus-like comeback that shocked many.
After a disappointing transfer from her Fine Gael running-mate Andrew Doyle and Labour’s Sheila Nunan, Ms Clune was in sixth, a few thousand behind Ms Ní Riada and Ms O’Sullivan. However, she won 8,192 transfers from Fianna Fáil’s Malcolm Byrne, leapfrogging both of them and was projected to take a seat. Sinn Féin confirmed that a full or partial recount would be considered if the gap between Ms Ní Riada and Ms O’Sullivan was too low, and logistics and the Bank Holiday weekend may see that delayed until next Tuesday.