Race to become Ireland’s first directly elected Mayor until the final hurdle

The race to become Ireland’s first directly elected mayor is down to a few final hurdles as more candidates were eliminated from the contest.

Daniel Butler and Maurice Quinlivan are the latest victims to be eliminated from the landmark election, with just three candidates currently vying for their seats.

The second day of counting began on Tuesday morning, and the winner was scheduled to be chosen late Tuesday evening.

Butler and Quinlivan’s votes will be split between the remaining candidates, including independent favorite John Moran, independent candidate Helen O’Donnell and Fianna Fail’s Dee Ryan.

In the first count, Mr Moran received a total of 18,308 first preference votes, followed by Ms O’Donnell who received 12,903 votes.

All candidates were significantly short of the required limit of 39,873 people.

In a later speech, Mr Butler, a Fine Gael councilor, said: “You go into the election to win it and I went into it to win it.

“There was a lot against us. We arrived very late, we arrived during a change of leadership in the Fine Gael party and my electoral director lost his mother during that time. During the election, our home was at risk and our family’s safety was threatened and compromised.

“But we fought on and fought a very good campaign, and I think the vote I got reflects the energy and innovation I fought with in the campaign.

“I fought a very high caliber campaign and achieved a lot in a short time.”

Previously, Quinlivan said: “It’s a long number. The counting is progressing and I want to thank everyone who came out and voted for me.

“I truly appreciate each person who took the time to come forward, but I also want to thank those who have engaged with the mayoral campaign over the past few weeks.

“I think it was a really positive campaign. One of the most positive campaigns we have participated in.

“All candidates performed well. So I wish the winner all the best in this role.

“It’s a really positive thing for Limerick and they (the winner) will have my full support in the future if they do things that are positive and good and in the best interests of Limerick. If they don’t, I will be the first to hold them accountable.

“I want to thank those who campaigned with me and my family, and also my wife, who was brilliant.”

Asked about Sinn Fein’s overall performance in the local and European elections, the Limerick MP said the party would learn from what went wrong.

“We started this campaign (in Limerick) with three local councilors and we came out with three local councilors, lost one and then gained one,” he said.

“We had ambitions to win more, but we failed. This is the nature of politics. There are swings and carousels.

“We will learn from what went wrong and what, in some cases, went right. We’ll sit down and then we’ll go ahead and talk to our people and I’ll knock on the door.

“I won’t just talk to people, I’ll listen to what they tell me at the door.”

For the first time in history, Irish citizens will elect their first directly elected mayor, in what is seen as a test case for the rest of the state.

A total of 15 candidates ran for the mayor’s seat.

Dozens of workers are counting votes at Limerick Racecourse, which serves as a vote-counting center.

Mr Moran’s three-year-old dog, Anrai, is also taking part in Tuesday’s count.