'Ming' Flanagan says his re-election chances are 'with the Gods'

OUTGOING Independent MEP Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan has said his re-election chances are “with the Gods”.

Mr Flanagan faces a battle to retain his European Parliament seat in Midlands-North-West.

It comes as Independent candidate and former presidential election hopeful Peter Casey is expected to pick up some of the protest vote that went to Mr Flanagan in 2014.

Meanwhile political new-comers Saoirse McHugh of the Green Party and Maria Walsh of Fine Gael are in contention to take a seat according to an RTÉ/TG4/RedC exit poll.

There are no tallies being taken at the count centre in Castlebar as the European Election votes from around the vast constituency that stretches from Louth to Donegal are mixed together.

Fine Gael’s Mairead McGuinness is expected to be elected but there will be a wait for any results in the constituency.

She is on 25pc of the vote according to the exit poll and many of her transfers will go to Ms Walsh.

Fine Gael sources said the first count may not even be announced until tomorrow afternoon.

Count centre staff are still sorting around 630,000 votes.

Several party staffers in Castlebar say it could be Wednesday night before the four European Parliament seats are all allocated.

Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy, another outgoing MEP was on 15pc and is in the running to keep his seat.

Ms McHugh has benefited from the green wave and is on a surprise 12pc while Ms Walsh is on 10pc.

Mr Flanagan is also at 10pc and Mr Casey is on 7pc.

Fianna Fáil has had a disastrous showing and look unlikely to take a seat with TDs Brendan Smith on 6pc and Anne Rabbitte on 3pc.

Mr Flanagan this morning drew attention to the poll’s margin or error of 4pc and said this means he could be as low as 6pc or as high as 14pc.

He told Newstalk Radio: “it doesn’t really tell you anything.

“The tallies yesterday seem to suggest that i am above the 10pc  first preference mark.”

Mr Flanagan said he was transfer friendly in the last election adding: “I would be again this time but yet again it’s with the Gods.”

“I’m very hopeful… I’m not not nervous at all. I appeared in a European Election where I got 1pc of the vote. This is far more enjoyable than that.

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