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Elections 2019

Explained: Why two Irish MEPs will face wait on subs’ bench after election

From The Irish Examiner.

Two of the 13 MEPs elected in Ireland face an uncertain wait as to when they can actually take their European Parliament seats.

While elections usually produce only winners and losers, Friday’s poll will create a new category of politician – limbo candidates.

Ireland is getting two of the 27 seats formerly reserved for the UK that are being redistributed among 14 members states as a result of Brexit.

The problem for the duo elected to the last seat in the Dublin and South constituencies is Brexit has not happened and does not look like happening any time soon.

So the UK is participating in the Euro elections and British MEPs are set to attend the inaugural plenary session of the new parliament on July 2.

That will leave Ireland’s limbo candidates sitting on the subs’ bench – content they have made the match day squad but not knowing when, or even if, they’ll get the chance to enter the action.

Who to send to the European Parliament is not the only decision facing the Irish electorate on Friday.

The local council elections are being held on the same day, as is a referendum on Ireland’s divorce laws – with a Yes vote set to reduce the lengthy time period separated couples have to wait before they can obtain a formal divorce.

Voters in Cork, Waterford and Limerick will also be able to participate in separate plebiscites on government proposals to create directly elected city mayoral positions with executive functions.

The first few ballots will actually be cast on Thursday, as voting on some of Ireland’s remote islands happens a day earlier.

Counting in the local elections and divorce referendum will begin on Saturday morning.

The European election count for Ireland’s three constituencies – Dublin, South, and Midlands-North-West – will commence on Sunday morning at centres in Dublin, Cork and Castlebar, Co Mayo. A Europe-wide embargo means the first results in that poll cannot be declared to 10pm that night. If previous elections are a guide, counting is likely to continue through into Monday.

Counting in the mayoral plebiscites is likely to get underway in the three impacted cities on the Monday.