Sinnott confident of Euro seat

KATHY Sinnott, the disability rights campaigner, yesterday confidently predicted she can win a seat in the three-seater South constituency in the European Parliament elections.

As Ms Sinnott and a group of 60 supporters handed in her nomination papers at Cork City Hall yesterday, she said she was confident she could build on her surprise performance in the 2002 General Election when she came within three votes of taking the last seat in Cork South Central after a marathon count.

Ms Sinnott is standing on a platform of disability rights, specifically campaigning for a rights-based disability bill. Her wide-ranging manifesto also includes pledges to oppose incineration, seek safe immunisation for children, and opposition to any moves to close or limit the services of local hospitals.

In addition, she has also taken a strong stance against the proposed European Constitutional Treaty on the grounds that it will take precedence over Irish laws, that it will dilute Irish influence over domestic policy, and will also compromise the country’s long-standing policy of neutrality.

In those respects, her policies are reminiscent of those of Rosemary ‘Dana’ Scanlon’s campaign in Connaught/Ulster in 1999, as is her opposition to abortion, euthanasia and research on human embryos.

Ms Sinnott told the Irish Examiner yesterday that the response she has got on the hustings over the past fortnight has been very positive.

“When I ran in 2002, nobody thought that I would take a seat. Everybody thought it was a joke and that a vote for me would be a wasted vote.

But we got this brilliant reception everywhere we went.

“Now with this campaign, the response is far better again. People know I am a viable candidate.

There’s a huge groundswell of support and people know that I will bring passion and conviction to this campaign.”

Ms Sinnott said while she is most associated in the public mind for campaigning for disability rights, her campaign would be fought on a wide range of issues.

She said she had researched the role and functions of MEPs before deciding to stand and asserts that she will be effective in the European Parliament if elected.

“The value of an MEP is in terms of inside lobbying and networking, people who can work in committees and bring expertise in particular areas.

“I have genuine areas of expertise in health, education, family support and carers. I can say that I would be able to hold my ground as an MEP.

With the decision of sitting independent MEP Pat Cox not to stand, the consensus is that Fianna Fail’s Brian Crowley and Gerard Collins, and Fine Gael’s Simon Coveney, will take the three seats in the constituency.

However, Ms Sinnott believes that she can maintain the tradition of an independent candidate being returned in the constituency, notwithstanding the reduction in its size.

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