The European Elections in Ireland

The European Elections in Ireland

Ross Creelman June 2019

Turnout in Ireland dipped below 50% in 2019 falling from 52% in 2014 to 49%.

The biggest shock in Ireland was the success of the Greens, who had previously held no MEP seats, and only hold two seats in the Dáil Éireann, the national parliament – out of 158 members). Winning 15% of the vote, the Greens returned 2 MEPs. Reflective of the shock nature of this result, Fine Gael (EPP) Prime Minister Leo Varadkar even made a statement declaring that his government had received the message that Irish people are concerned about the environment, and that government policy would be adapted accordingly.

The governing party Fine Gael (EPP) kept the same number of seats in the European Parliament – 4 seats – independent candidates returned 2 MEPs, as did Sinn Féin. As such, Sinn Féin lost one MEP, and also perfomed poorly in the local elections, happening simultaneously in Ireland. Fianna Fáil (ALDE) returned 1 seat, the same as in 2014, however the new MEP is likely to stay within ALDE, unlike his predecessor who defected to the conservative ECR group.

A small country, Ireland is unlikely to be decisive in the major decisions ahead, however the Irish have held important positions in the past, and there are rumours that current Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan is on manoeuvres to take the more prestigious title of Trade Commissioner; a portfolio that is expected to be particularly contentious in 2019-2024.