THE Green Party’s Ciaran Cuffe has credited “the voice of young people” for his election as an MEP for Dublin.
Mr Cuffe was elected on the 13th count at the RDS tonight, finally passing the quota thanks to transfers from Fine Gael’s Mark Durkan.
Former Tánaiste Frances Fitzgreald won’t be long behind him as Mr Durkan transferred to her in phenomenal numbers.
He boasted her tally by more than 10,500 votes, meaning she is now just 344 votes away from election.
Labour’s Alex White has been eliminated and his voters are now being redistributed.
A delighted Mr Cuffe said the vote “shows that young people want to see change”.
“They have spoken to their parents and grandparents and the people have voted for an alternative to business as usual. I’m really hearted by the result this evening.”
He described it as “an auspicious day and a new beginning for the Irish Green Party”.
“I’ve seen good days and I’ve seen dark days. I’m just so pleased that today is one of the good days.”
The outgoing Dublin city councillor promised to prioritise climate action, housing and transport in his new role.
He said the huge jump in support for the Green Party meant they will have a strong presence in Europe, Leinster House and on local authorities around the country.
“I think the presence of a strong green block at European level will alter the balance of power. That will allow us to implement real change,” he said.
“More importantly it will push the parties in government to change their stance, to change their policies and to move onto considering climate change not as an add on but as an integral part of the policies that are required.”
Asked whether the next target for the Green Party will be government, he said that was a question for a different day.
“We’d love to make those changes ourselves but we’re certainly delighted if other parties would take on the policies we’ve been advocating for years.”
He added: “The Irish electorate are looking to the Greens for leadership, for policies and I think the months and years ahead will be ahugely important time for Ireland.
The voice of young people has realy spoken. They are concerned. They are locked out.”
Meanwhile the race for the final two seats is intensifying. Fianna Fáil’s Barry Andrews is currently on 56,110 followed by Independents4Change Clare Daly on 52,930.
Sinn Féin’s Lynn Boylan is slipping out of contention on 45,552.
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