Coveney to fight European election

FINE GAEL last night chose Cork South Central TD Simon Coveney as their European election candidate to replace retiring party MEP John Cushnahan in the South constituency.

Deputy Coveney, a Dáil Deputy since 1998 and Fine Gael’s communications, marine and natural resources spokesman, was selected by a margin of more than 100 votes over Tipperary-based Rickard Deasy.

Former Limerick West TD, Senator Michael Finucane, who had been considering running, did not seek a nomination at the selection convention in Cork.

Neither did Cork North Central TD Bernard Allen who decided against running last month saying he preferred to concentrate on domestic politics.

The Fine Gael line-up for June’s European poll also includes the former TD, Senator Jim Higgins and former senator Madeleine Taylor-Quinn in the three-seat North-West Constituency.

However, the party is still struggling to find a suitable candidate in Dublin where former Fine Gael leader, John Bruton now looks set on becoming the EU’s representative in Washington leaving the likely choice of former Minister for Justice, Nora Owen. The former Dublin North TD has not yet thrown her hat into the ring, but is known to be interested.

Competition is already hotting up considerably in Dublin with Labour Party MEP Proinsias De Rossa and Trinity Reid professor of Law Ivana Bacik already campaigning in addition to Fianna Fáil, Dublin Lord Mayor Royston Brady and Dublin South-East TD Eoin Ryan.

Outgoing Green MEP, Patricia McKenna and Sinn Fein’s Mary-Lou McDonald are also candidates.

In the South constituency Mr Coveney will be up against outgoing Fianna Fáil MEPs Brian Crowley and Gerard Collins who were duly selected by delegates from Cork, Limerick, Kerry, Tipperary and Waterford at the Green Glens Arena in Millstreet last month.

The South constituency, which has lost Co Clare in the recent boundary changes, will send three MEPs to Brussels, down one on the four returned by the outgoing Munster constituency.

Speaking at yesterday’s selection convention in Cork Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said Fine Gael could deliver real clout in Europe.

“Fine Gael is the only Irish member of the biggest and most powerful political block in the European Parliament, the European People’s Party (EPP). So, if people want real clout in Europe, they should vote Fine Gael,” he said.

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