Sinn Fein’s woman of the hour Martina Anderson said she is hopeful but taking nothing for granted as the European Parliament count gets under way this morning.
Ms Anderson was this morning getting ready to leave her home in Derry for the count at King’s Hall in Belfast.
It has been widely speculated that she will not only retain the MEP seat for Sinn Fein, but will also top the poll in the north later today.
Such a victory would cap a strong performance for the party in Derry and across Ireland in the local elections.
She said: “This is in the lap of the gods.
“Obviously I am hoping we retain the seat. There has been a lot of speculation as to where I have been positioned but I have been very grounded throughout the campaign.
“I have visited every town,city, district, every nook and crannie in the north. You name it, I have been around them all, because I haven’t taken votes for granted.”
Ms Anderson, who took over from party colleague Bairbre de Brun in June 2012, said that meeting people on the ground and face-to-face was particularly important in this election campaign.
“People needed to get a handle on what I had done during my time in Europe.”
Ms Anderson said she felt she had honoured her pledge to “bring you to Europe and bring Europe to you”.
She added: “Today I am going to approach this count as grounded as I have throughout the campaign, and I am not getting carried away with the media speculation.”
Ms Anderson is one of nine candidates vying for the three spots up for grabs in Europe.
The SDLP’s Alex Attwood is standing alongside DUP’s Diane Dodds, UUP’s Jim Nicholson, Jim Allister of the TUV, Conservative Mark Brotherston and Alliance’s Ann Lo. The other candidates standing are UKIP’s Henry Reilly and Green (NI)’s Ross Brown.
NI21’s Tina McKenzie pulled out the race last week and announced she was quitting politics.