Gallagher: I will not contest Donegal by-election

North West Fianna Fáil MEP Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher, has confirmed this morning that he will not be a candidate in the Donegal South West by-election.

North West Fianna Fáil MEP Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher, has confirmed this morning that he will not be a candidate in the Donegal South West by-election.

Mr Gallagher told Ocean FM news that he has been approached by senior figures within the party last night and this morning to stand, but insists he will stay on in Europe.

It was his election to the European Parliament a year and a half ago that has led to the staging of the by-election, and there had been strong speculation that Fianna Fáil would opt for him as their candidate.

"I'm definitely not returning," he said. "It's a question of integrity with me."

He also said: "I have to be loyal to those 80,00 people who elected me in June of last year."

There are now four confirmed candidates to contest the by-election.

The Fine Gael candidate is Barry O’Neill, Labour will run Frank McBrearty, Sinn Féin’s candidate is Pearse Doherty.

This morning, independent Councillor Thomas Pringle announced that he is putting his name forward.

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