Europe candidate to give up seat in FF rowback
FIANNA Fail's European election candidate in Dublin, Mary Fitzpatrick, has rowed back on her plans to also contest the local elections in May.
Ms Fitzpatrick confirmed she has decided to give up her Dublin City council seat after holding discussions with senior party figures.
The Irish Independent revealed yesterday that Ms Fitzpatrick was keen on running in both elections, a move rarely taken by candidates from major parties.
However, it has emerged that senior party figures have effectively blocked such a prospect for fears it would damage Ms Fitzpatrick's chances of being elected to the European Parliament.
Party campaign director in Dublin, former Chief Whip John Curran, told Ms Fitzpatrick that running in two elections was off the table. The decision was made after consultation with a number of senior party individuals, including leader Micheal Martin.
Ms Fitzpatrick confirmed last night that a number of party figures were opposed to the notion of her running in both elections, and she admitted the decision to focus solely on Europe represented a "significant personal gamble".
"It was felt that running in both the local and Europeans would add nothing to the European campaign. I have held discussions with people in the party and my own local supporters, and this is the decision we have made," she told the Irish Independent.
Asked if the party felt running in both elections would send out the "wrong message", Ms Fitzpatrick replied: "Certainly there were people in the party who were against the idea."
She added: "Any successful campaign needs a clean and clear message.
"And the message is that Dublin needs a dedicated candidate who will serve the full five years. That's exactly what I will offer if elected."
The decision to focus solely on the European elections means Ms Fitzpatrick will give up her council seat in the Cabra ward, which she has held for almost 10 years.