AUDIO: Independent politician was announced elected on Count 2
Luke Ming Flanagan is Ireland’s newest European Parliament member.
The results of the second count in the Midlands Northwest constituency caused him to gain 5,498 votes on transfers, and that was just enough to push him over the line.
A third count is underway, after Labour Senator Lorraine Higgins was eliminated.
Ming says his selection as MEP also sends a strong message to the Irish government:
Earlier, Labour Senator Lorraine Higgins conceded she was unlikely to win a seat in the Midlands Northwest Constituency.
Sinn Féin's Matt Carthy is currently in second place, while Fine Gael's Mairead McGuinness is widely expected to retain her seat. She is sitting in third place, trying to reach a quota of some 131,000.
Independent Marian Harkin is in fourth place.
Lorraine Higgins' elimation follows the earlier exclusion of Green Party candidate Mark Dearey, Direct Democracy's Ben Gilroy, Independent Mark Fitzsimons, Independent TJ Fay and Cordelia Nic Fhearraigh, Fis Nua.
In all, fourteen candidates ran for four seats.
The adjudication of almost 40,000 invalid ballot papers delayed the counting process, with this afternoon's first count coming out three full days after election day. These ballots were not clearly marked, or the voters' preference wasn't clear:
Visiting the count centre earlier, Fianna Fáil's Thomas Byrne refused to engage in any debate on his party's strategy.
His comments come after his party colleague Pat the Cope Gallagher said that Fianna Fail was wrong to run two candidates in the Midlands North West European constituency.
But, Thomas Byrne says he's not commenting on the two candidate race: