OUTGOING Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinesss has retained her seat in the European Parliament for the Midlands North West Constituency in emphatic style.
She registered 132,630 in the first count, putting her 15,644 over the quota.
Cavan candidate Brendan Smith has polled badly in the first count, languishing in seventh place on 42,814 votes. Fianna Fáil will kick themselves over a poor vote strategy in running two candidates Smith's running mate Anne Rabbitte FF 30,220 - giving the party a total of over 73,000.
As forgettable as the election has been for Fianna Fáil, it's shaping up to be a memorable one for Fine Gael at the Castlebar count centre as the party is on course to win two of the four seats.
Former Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh, the party's second candidate from Shrule in Co. Mayo, has secured 64,500 first preferences.
She currently lies in fourth place in the four-seat constituency behind outgoing independent MEP Luke 'Ming' Flanagan on 85,035 and outgoing Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy with 77,619.
Peter Casey (Independent) is behind Walsh on 56,650 as is Green Party candidate, Achill's Saoirse McHugh, with 51,019. Both of them are in the battle for the final seat. The quota is 118,986.
A final result is not expected until Wednesday with Fianna Fáil set to be left feeling very disappointed.
The key first count details from Midlands North West are as follows:
Numbers of seats: 4
Total poll: 616,555
Spoiled votes: 21,628
Total valid poll: 594
Cyril Brennan PBP 8,130
Matt Carthy SF 77,619
Peter Casey, Ind 56, 650
Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, Ind 85,034
Patrick Greene DDI 1,352
Dominic Hannigan LP 12,378
Fidelma Healy Eames, Ind 15,991
Dilip Mahapatra, Ind 2,450
Mairead McGuinness FG 134,630
Saoirse McHugh GP 51,019
Jimmy Millar, Ind 1,322
Diarmuid Mulcahy Ind 789
Olive O’Connor, Ind 1,132
Michael O’Dowd Renua 6,897
Anne Rabbitte FF 30,220
Brendan Smith FF 42,814
Maria Walsh FG 64,500