Marian Harkin declared elected in Midlands North-West

Thursday 29 May 2014 22.13
Marian Harkin takes the last MEP seat after a marathon count
Marian Harkin takes the last MEP seat after a marathon count

Independent Marian Harkin has been elected to the European Parliament after taking the last seat in the Midlands North-West constituency.

She was declared the winner of the fourth seat after a recheck of ballot papers, which ended in the early hours of this morning.

The final declaration came almost five days after proceedings began in Castlebar.

As a recheck of ballot papers continued through the night, no major discrepancies were identified in hundreds of bundles of votes.

With no sign of Fianna Fáil's Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher eating into a 275-vote gap separating him from his opponent, the veteran Donegal MEP conceded shortly before 4am.

Afterwards he called into question his party's two-candidate strategy in the sprawling constituency.

Ms Harkin said she hoped Irish MEPs would work together in the coming years on issues of common cause.

She joins her fellow Independent Luke Ming Flanagan, Mairead McGuinness of Fine Gael and Sinn Féin's Matt Carthy as the Midlands North-West representatives in the new European Parliament.

Eleven MEP seats across three constituencies have now been filled.

Fine Gael has four MEPs; Sinn Féin and Independents took three seats each; and Fianna Fáil has one seat.