Former junior minister in bid for Europe
FORMER junior minister Marcella Corcoran Kennedy has announced her intention to run for a European Parliament seat.
Offaly TD Ms Corcoran Kennedy is making a bid to be on the Fine Gael ticket for the Ireland South Constituency.
She joins sitting MEPs Deirdre Clune and Séan Kelly in seeking the party's nomination.
The constituency is being extended to include Laois and Offaly due to boundary changes being brought in for the elections in May.
It's understood that Fine Gael intends to run three candidates in the constituency.
Other potential nominees have until Wednesday to put their names forward with the selection convention due to take place on Sunday March 3.
Ms Corcoran Kennedy said: "Influencing European policies is now as important as domestic policies therefore it is vital that we send experienced politicians to represent our interests in Brussels and Strasbourg."
She said representation in the European Parliament is important at a time of change due to Brexit.
She said the next phase of the British withdrawal from the EU "will impact us and issues which are important across the towns, villages and communities of Ireland need to be at the heart of EU policy decisions."
She pledged to use the experience she has gained as a councillor, TD and minister to make an impact as an MEP.
She highlighted her interest in social issues, both nationally and internationally including campaigning to combat the practice of female genital mutilation.
Ms Corcoran Kennedy was appointed as junior health minister by former Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
She supported Simon Coveney in the Fine Gael leadership race and lost her ministerial role when Leo Varadkar became Taoiseach.
Fine Gael holds its selection convention for the Midlands/North-West constituency this evening.
Sitting MEP Mairead McGuinness and former Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh are both expected to be selected as candidates.