Crowley critical of presidential election decision

Fianna Fáil MEP Brian Crowley has publicly criticised the party’s decision not to run him as its candidate in the presidential election — saying he could have got votes from across party lines.

In an interview in a Sunday newspaper, his first in a year, the Ireland South MEP said the decision played into the hands of Sinn Féin, which received “a huge boost” from which it is still benefiting.

“If you want to be a serious political party, you have to fight elections,” he said. “You have to present yourself to the public and show what you are about.”

He also said Fianna Fáil may need to re-examine its leadership and its future structure, though he refused to criticise party leader Micheál Martin, whom he described as “doing his best”.

Mr Crowley said the test of his fellow Corkman’s leadership would come in the local government and European Parliament elections in 2014, and he called for a new generation of politicians who were not linked to the eras of Brian Cowen and Bertie Ahern.

Mr Martin was unavailable for comment yesterday on Mr Crowley’s remarks, which were published in the Sunday Independent. It is understood he is holidaying in West Cork.

Meanwhile, Mr Crowley also gave details of the medical issues which have required him to undergo 17 surgical procedures over the last year.

They were necessitated by skin and circulation problems exacerbated by his confinement to a wheelchair for the last 31 years following a fall.

He has been able to work from his hospital bed during the last year, but his travel as an MEP has been severely curtailed by the series of operations.


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