Sean Kelly is the first MEP elected in Ireland South

Sean Kelly is the first MEP elected in Ireland South
MEP candidate Sean Kelly pictured at the South Constituency count centre in Nemo. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

FINE Gael MEP Seán Kelly described his reelection to the European Parliament as the greatest moment of his political life.

He topped the poll on the first count last night in his third European election, but it too another eight counts before he made up a 1,400 gap to surpass the quota.

He finished with 17 votes to spare after transfers from independent Allan Brennan brought him up 119,883.

"Top of the poll with so many people in Ireland South - almost 120,000 - is fantastic and I'm so grateful to everybody, my team and everyone involved," he said, moments after he was deemed elected.

With Fianna Fáil TD Billy Kelleher at 84,971 and independent TD Mick Wallace at 83,988 and picking up transfers from everywhere, both men are waiting to be elected.

There is a battle for the last two seats between Fine Gael MEP Deirdre Clune, Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada, Green Party Senator Grace O'Sullivan, and Fianna Fáil councillor Malcolm Byrne.

Mr Kelly's election has cleared a roadblock on the narrow path back to Brussels for Fine Gael MEP Deirdre Clune.

With him out of the way, Fine Gael transfers from other candidates, including running mate Andrew Doyle TD and his 39,294 ballots, are likely to head her away, adding to her current 65,558 votes going into the tenth count.

She arrived at the count centre in Nemo Rangers GAA Club to see her running mate re-elected.

"He had a great vote. Fair dues to him. I'm really pleased for him, and he deserves it," she said.

"If you step back and take a look at it, there's still a lot of Fine Gael votes between Andrew Doyle and myself, and there is enough votes for a seat. Whether they are all transferred or not, that is the question," she said.

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