FF won't split constituencies between runners
Published 01/05/2014 | 02:30
FIANNA Fail will not try to divide the two huge European constituencies between candidates, party leader Micheal Martin has said.
Mr Martin also signalled that there was no point in trying to get four-times poll-topper Brian Crowley in Ireland South to share with his running mate Kieran Hartley of Waterford.
"Past experience has, in fact, shown that this gives the opposite result," the Fianna Fail leader said.
The Irish Independent/Millward Brown opinion poll last weekend showed Mr Crowley with almost two quotas while Mr Hartley, a newcomer to elections, has just 2pc.
Mr Crowley was not present at yesterday's Fianna Fail European campaign launch and organisers said he had a prior engagement in Tipperary, which he could not cancel.
Mr Martin said the canvass had shown there was a definite anti-Government swing.
But he conceded Fianna Fail still had a distance to travel before it could channel that into votes.
Five Fianna Fail candidates are standing for the May 23 election.
Mary Fitzpatrick is standing in Dublin; MEP Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher and Senator Thomas Byrne in Midlands-North-West; and, in South, outgoing MEP Brian Crowley is joined by Kieran Hartley.
Currently, Fianna Fail has no Dublin TD, and few women representatives, making success for Ms Fitzpatrick's campaign crucial.
"Clearly it's challenging, but we're encouraged by the fact that we're in there competing strongly for that seat and we want to win that seat," Mr Martin.
Mr Martin acknowledged voters had not forgotten his party's role in the 2008 economic crash. But he insisted it was no longer the voters' main focus.
He said the focus now was on job creation and the increased government charges for service and cuts in benefits.
"That's annoying people, they're very angry about that," he said.
The Fianna Fail manifesto calls on EU leaders to deliver on promises to separate sovereign and bank debt and a stronger economic growth package.
It notes that the EU farm funds will decline next year due to reforms, and pledges its MEPs would promote the interests of family farms and the Irish agri-food sector.