MEP Brian Crowley set to face challenge for European seat

Fianna Fáil MEP Brian Crowley’s controversial hold on his European seat is set to come under intense scrutiny this evening when a party colleague formally challenges him for the role.

Mr Crowley will face the competition from ex-Renua candidate Jason Fitzgerald during the party’s Cork North Central constituency AGM this evening amid ongoing claims higher-profile colleagues may also be considering bidding for the role.

Despite being a long-standing MEP who has represented Ireland South for a number of years, Mr Crowley has failed to attend any European Parliament debates or votes since his last re-election in May 2014 because of illness.

While Mr Crowley has not explained if he will seek re-election in next May’s MEP elections, his inability to attend the parliament has led to growing frustration and concern within Fianna Fáil and the public.

While a spokesperson for Mr Crowley told the Irish Examiner the politician will explain the situation in the coming weeks, he will be formally challenged for the role this evening. It is understood Fianna Fáil member and dairy farmer Jason Fitzgerald will announce his intention to run for the MEP seat at tonight’s Cork North Central constituency AGM.

Mr Fitzgerald has previously been a member of Renua and joined Fianna Fáil last year.

A number of other, higher-profile, figures are expected to express an interest in running, with Senator Ned O’Sullivan, Senator Mark Daly and TD Billy Kelleher all rumoured to be considering a run for the position.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael is facing its own political row in Cork, after it emerged the vice-chairman of the party’s Cork South West constituency has resigned after posting social media messages about the brother of minister for older people, Jim Daly.

Peter Walsh stepped down after highlighting the case of John Daly, a postmaster in Drinagh, who has pleaded guilty to selling illegal cigarettes. Mr Walsh said after the comments emerged, the party’s constituency chairman JJ Walsh asked him to resign. After being requested to put this in writing, JJ Walsh wrote to Mr Walsh that he should step down “in view of recent activity on your party not aligning with the party’s interests”.

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