Europe

Martina Anderson admits 'disconnect' between SF and ROI voters

mARTINA aNDERSON Image copyright PA

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has admitted that there is a "disconnect" between her party and the electorate in the Republic of Ireland.

Tuesday is the third day of counting in the Republic in the European Parliament elections.

Sinn Féin has lost one MEP - Lynn Boylan - and is set to lose a number of councillors in the local government elections.

"My heart is sore for Lynn Boylan," Ms Anderson said.

"There's obviously a disconnection between ourselves and the voters. I think the turnout across the board shows that all the political parties need to re-engage more," she said.

"I am absolutely committed to the leadership we have. I think that Mary Lou McDonald has been fantastic."

Sinn Féin sources are confident that Matt Carthy will hold on to his seat in the Midlands-North-West constituency.

Ms Anderson is one of Northern Ireland's three MEPs after being elected on Monday, along with the DUP's Diane Dodds and Alliance's Naomi Long.

Counting in the Republic's European election began on Sunday night, but progress has been slow.

Image caption Counting in the Republic began on Sunday

Counting is likely to continue on Wednesday.

After the elimination of Sinn Fein's Ms Boylan, all four MEPs for the Dublin constituency are now known.

The first three elected, Ciaran Cuffe, of the Greens, Fine Gael's Frances Fitzgerald and the independent left winger Clare Daly, will automatically go to Brussels and Strasbourg, while Fianna Fáil's Barry Andrews will have to wait until the UK leaves the EU before following suit.

The fifth and last candidate to be elected in Ireland South will be in the same position.

Image caption Seven of the Republic of Ireland's 13 seats have still to be filled

Of the six MEPs elected nationally so far, three are from the governing Fine Gael party, with one each from Fianna Fáil, the Green Party and Independents for Change.

Turnout in the election was 49.7%, with Fine Gael topping the poll with 29.6% of first preferences.

Fianna Fáil had 16.5%, Sinn Féin had 11.7% just ahead of the Green Party with 11.4%, while independents took 15.7% of the vote.

The former SDLP leader, Mark Durkan, who stood in Dublin, has been eliminated.

He said that voters cared less about Brexit than domestic issues.

He added that he did not regret standing for Fine Gael even though the party he once led in Northern Ireland has a working relationship with Fianna Fáil - Fine Gael's traditional rival.

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