Coalition parties stick with sitting MEPs for vote

Fine Gael selected Máiréad McGuinness (pictured) and Jim Higgins as standard bearers in the huge Midlands-North-West constituency

Coalition parties have stuck with sitting MEPs to run in the looming Euro polls.

Fine Gael selected Máiréad McGuinness and Jim Higgins as standard bearers in the huge Midlands-North-West constituency, which covers half the island’s area.

Fine Gael top brass hope to take two of the new constituency’s four sets in the May showdown.

In the Dublin seat, Labour chose sitting MEP Emer Costello to fight in a crowded battle for the capital’s three Brussels slots.

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore was upbeat at the Dublin convention, insisting that: “Every candidate standing is standing to win.”

Ms McGuinness warned that voters had lost trust in all institutions, and should reward hard work.

“Elect people who stay the course and will deliver for this constituency and this country,” Ms McGuinness said.

“While European parliamentary affairs do not attract the same level of public attention as the proceedings of Dáil Éireann, the European Parliament is responsible for the vast majority of legislation that governs the daily lives of Irish citizens.

“It is also the most democratic of all the EU institutions, being the only one directly elected by the people, and now, arising from the Lisbon treaty, shares co-decision powers with the European Council of Ministers.”

Mr Higgins noted this election would be different to last time out when Fine Gael was in opposition.

“We are going to be judged and, the votes are going to fall, on the basis of the performance of the Government,” he said.

A reduction of Irish representation at the European Parliament from 12 MEPs to 11 meant the country was redivided into three super constituencies.

Ms Costello, a former Dublin lord mayor, took over the Euro seat from Proinsias de Rossa in February 2012.


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