Nessa Childers MEP was this evening officially re-elected to the European Parliament for a second five-year term, following a dramatic recount in Dublin prompted by pipped-to-the-post Green Party leader Eamon Ryan.
‘I always knew that to win a European seat in the capital was going to be extremely difficult,’ Ms Childers said this evening from the RDS, where final recounts have been taking place. After all, it was a field that included three sitting MEPs, as well as a Junior Minister and a current party leader.
‘And that is before I mention the strong calibre of the rest of my fellow candidates – and in particular those championing an anti-austerity message. ’
Despite being written-off by many mainstream media outlets in favour of former government minister Mr Ryan, Ms Childers came second in the three-seat Dublin constituency, slotting in behind Lynn Boylan of Sinn Fein, but ahead of Fine Gael’s much-fancied Brian Hayes.
She added: ‘I am delighted that the people of Dublin have supported my campaign so emphatically, and have entrusted in me another five-year term out in Brussels.’
Ms Childers said she was particularly pleased at the impressive way in which independents and those from non-establishment parties had performed – both at European and local level.
‘From the outset, I have championed those of us running for election without the big party machine behind us. It is wonderful to see those candidates do so well. I think it only confirms that independents are now a significant force to be reckoned with every step of the way, be that local, national or European.
‘The will of this State has shifted – and for my next term there is no denying that I inherit a transforming political environment.’
The Dubliner continued: ‘Mine was a grassroots campaign – one that relied heavily on the ordinary voters who supported me in their tens of thousands. I am indebted to them and will continue to represent their interest with integrity and honesty.’
Ms Childers, who lives in Clonskeagh and has two adult children, went on to say: ‘I look forward to working with Lynn Boylan and Brian Hayes – as well as the rest of Ireland’s 11 MEPs – but truly, all of us will now have to fight tooth and nail to ensure that Ireland can properly emerge from the ghosts of austerity.
‘Because I want to now really change the way the people of this country are represented out in Brussels. And looking at those of us who now represent Ireland in Europe, I am confident of taking significant strides towards achieving great things.’