Elections

Saturday 26 July 2014

Mairead McGuinness attacks politicians who over-promised in the weeks leading up to election

Caroline Crawford

Published 27/05/2014|18:37

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Mairead McGuinness celebrates with husband Martin, director of elections Jon Mulligan and assistant Emer Smith after taking the second seat at the count in the Midlands North West constituency in Castlebar. Photo: Michael Donnelly
Mairead McGuinness celebrates with husband Martin, director of elections Jon Mulligan, assistant Emer Smith and a political supporter after taking the second seat at the count in the Midlands North West constituency in Castlebar. Photo: Michael Donnelly

FINE GAEL MEP Mairead McGuinness has criticised some politicians for “misleading” the public on what they can deliver.

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Speaking after she was re-elected as an MEP, McGuinness said Fine Gael was well aware of the problems facing the electorate.

“When we were out there we heard about the troubles of business and families, but those who suggest there are solutions that are soft and easy are misleading people,” she said.

“Politics is not a sport, it’s about managing a country. What has gone on over the last couple of weeks we have to reflect on very, very carefully. But let’s not be naive, there is no magic money out there. I’m listening to people, indeed in this room, talking about promises and what they’re going to do and what they are not going to do - I will be watching to see what actually happens,” she added.

Commenting on her fellow MEP Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, McGuinness said she was “not sure what his agenda is”, but stressed that the European Parliament was about people who work together.

She added the role of the parliament over the coming years would be to legislate less.

“I said that before this campaign started. We have enough, we have banking rules to beat the band, we have rules on all sorts of sectors. We need to manage and make sure they are implemented properly and we need to be able to take away those that are merely cumbersome for business and for communities. And that’s the role for the European Parliament now and I believe for the next five years.”

McGuinness also dismissed criticism of the Fine Gael election strategy, saying the party had always known it would be a difficult challenge to take two seats in the constituency.

“We tried very hard to achieve that. We worked well to achieve it and in the end that was not to be because there was some personalities that came in and changed the whole spectrum if you like of this campaign. So not naive at all, a very focused campaign, a very clear strategy,” she said.

And she hit back at claims that Jim Higgins had been used as a sweeping candidate, saying: “We don’t use anybody in Fine Gael. We are both very strong candidates. I have enormous respect for Jim Higgins.”

Praising her running mate as an enormous figure in Fine Gael and in Irish politics, she added: “He leaves a huge legacy of good work, not just in the European Parliament but in his earlier career here in domestic politics and I want to thank him and say it was a privilege to work with him and I’ll still be taking counsel and advice from him.”

McGuinness was elected after she received 28,009 votes from her running mate Jim Higgins, pushing her to 135,698 and breaking the 129,290 quota.

While Sinn Fein’s Matt Carthy was primed to take the third spot, low transfers from Fine Gael delayed him reaching quota for the greater part of the day.

They will join Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan who was the first elected to represent the constituency.

Meanwhile the battle for the final spot continues between Independent Marian Harkin and Fianna Fail’s Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher. Harkin looked a strong contender to take the seat after a strong transfer showing from Mairead McGuinness.

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