A LABOUR European parliament candidate will be selected next month to contest the Southern constituency in 2009.
North Tipperary-based Senator Alan Kelly said yesterday he will bid for the nomination.
The early move has been decided to try and counter a dismal showing in 2004 when Senator Brendan Ryan polled just 4% of first preference votes.
Mr Kelly, 32, was elected to the Seanad last year at his first attempt. He said yesterday he is being urged by Deputy Jan O’Sullivan, to put his name forward for European nomination.
The party is understood to have issued nomination papers, with a closing date of July 1, and there are no indications yet if there will be any other candidate.
Ms O’Sullivan, the party’s health spokeswoman said: “It is, of course, a decision for Alan himself but in terms of the European elections, he brings a really strong mix of enthusiasm and experience.
“He may only be a member of the parliamentary party since last year but he has been prominent at the highest level for quite some time and is now very much to the forefront in terms of shaping Labour policy. He will certainly be one of our leading figures as Labour builds towards a very bright future.
“We are perhaps three weeks away from our selection convention but if Senator Kelly agrees to have his name put forward, he will be not just an outstanding candidate for Labour but will give really excellent choice to the electorate.”
She said she has found Senator Kelly to be one of the best-informed politicians across all issues to emerge in the mid-west.
“It is exactly his type of all-round experience and knowledge that we need to give us strong representation at European level,” she said.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved