Both Fine Gael and Labour selected candidates for the European Parliament elections in the Ireland South constituency yesterday.
Junior agriculture minister Andrew Doyle will join sitting MEPs Deirdre Clune and Sean Kelly on the Fine Gael ticket following a selection convention in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, last night.
Offaly TD Marcella Corcoran Kennedy was unsuccessful in her bid for a nomination at the convention.
Mr Doyle said the three-strong ticket “is the best balanced in terms of geography, gender, and experience, and gives Fine Gael the best possible chance of securing an extra seat in Ireland South”.
“I put my name forward because I fervently believe it is vital we put forward a strong ticket to return as many pro-European MEPs as possible,” he said.
“The European Union has been very good to us in the last three years and has shown solidarity to Ireland, and it would be remiss of us not to return a pro-European team to the European Parliament.”
Ms Clune said she intends to campaign on the issues she believes the European Parliament will be dealing with over the next term.
“The most important task for Irish MEPs will be to shape the relationship the UK will have with Europe post-Brexit and I want to use the experience I have gained over the past five years to influence this task,” she said.
Mr Kelly also cited Brexit as a key issue facing the EU.
“With Brexit imminent, the rise of populism across the EU, and an increasingly inward-looking United States, it is clear that we are at a critical juncture for the European Union and for Ireland,” he said. “Now, more than ever, there is a need for experience and for influence at the highest level.”
Meanwhile, the Labour Party has selected president of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and INTO general secretary Sheila Nunan as its Ireland South candidate.
She won the nomination ahead of former Clare TD Michael McNamara at a selection convention in Cork city.
Following her nomination, Ms Nunan said “the tide is turning in this country”.
“Ordinary people see the need for strong Labour values at the heart of government decision making, here and in Europe,” said Ms Nunan. “Brexit has exposed the fragility of our relationships with our neighbouring countries and the need to ensure Europe delivers for the many and not just the few.
"We need to tackle rampant inequality, those who lost so much during the recession and still wait for the recovery to mean something to them. We need to create a European social floor beyond which no one can fall. We need a better balance between workers and the needs of the market, standing firm in the face of exploitation and supporting communities. Europe, too, needs to deliver for its member states and I won’t miss an opportunity to stand up for the needs of the South constituency.”