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Tuesday 23 September 2014

FF’s European pick Mary Fitzpatrick eyes local elections

Niall O'Connor and Fionnan Sheahan

Published 03/02/2014 | 00:37

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Fianna Fail party leader Micheal Martin congratulates newly selected candidate Mary Fitzpatrick last week
Fianna Fail party leader Micheal Martin congratulates newly selected candidate Mary Fitzpatrick last week

Fianna Fail's European election candidate in Dublin, Mary Fitzpatrick, is raising eyebrows in the party by talking about also running in the local elections.

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The Dublin City councillor told the Irish Independent she is “seriously considering” defending her council seat, even though she is the party's European election candidate.

The move would be highly unusual for a candidate from a major party. Contesting both elections will be viewed as a sign of lack of confidence by Fianna Fail in Ms Fitzpatrick's ability to win a seat.

Ms Fitzpatrick said she had not held discussions with the party leadership about the possibility of running in two elections side by side.

“The law is very clear. It allows my name to go on two ballot papers. If I am elected to both, I would obviously take my seat in the European Parliament,” she told the Irish Independent.

Under electoral rules, candidates can run in more than one election when they are taking place on the same day.

But after the elections, they must immediately decide which seat they will keep.

Asked whether she believed the move could be seen as defeatist, Ms Fitzpatrick said anyone making such a suggestion “clearly don't understand my motivation”. “My primary and sole focus is providing the people of Dublin with proper representation,” she said.

The Irish Independent has learned, however, that several senior party figures are opposed to Ms Fitzpatrick running in both contests.

Sources said such a move would send out a “terrible message” and would suggest the party does not believe it can win the European seat.

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