Politics

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Nessa Childers admits money was a factor in constituency switch

Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

Published 29/01/2014|02:30

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Nessa Childers pictured outside the Dail yesterday. Picture: Mark Condren
Nessa Childers pictured outside the Dail yesterday. Picture: Mark Condren

INDEPENDENT MEP Nessa Childers has revealed that her decision to switch constituencies ahead of the European elections was strongly influenced by a lack of resources.

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The ex-Labour Party politician admitted that she was taking a significant risk by running in Dublin, which is set to be one of the most hotly-contested constituencies in the May elections.

Ms Childers's decision places her head-to-head with Labour MEP Emer Costello, who this week claimed that her former colleague could make little impact in the European Parliament as an Independent.

In an interview with the Irish Independent, Ms Childers said her former Ireland East base had "basically disappeared" as a result of a series of boundary changes, adding that she did not have the finances to run in the large Ireland constituency.

"Remember the position I'm in, remember the resources I have. For a few days, (I even) wondered whether I could run at all.

"There's no point in me running in a situation where I feel I would lose my seat. I feel there would be a very strong risk as I wouldn't have the resources as an Independent to manage that situation.

"There are times when you have to do things like this. I do live in Dublin, I have lived there before. It's not that I'm a new Dub or anything like that."

The former Green Party councillor was comfortably elected following the 2009 European elections, securing almost 79,000 first-preference votes. However, she said she believed Independent MEPs may soon become a "thing of the past" due to the massive cost involved in getting elected to the EU parliament.

Ms Childers said she intended to reapply to the Socialist Group in the European Parliament if re-elected, an organisation she left after dramatically quitting the Labour Party in 2012. However, she insisted that she would never rejoin Labour, even if Eamon Gilmore was replaced as leader.

Irish Independent

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