Monday 19 March 2018

Cox rules out solo run after losing vote

The losers

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

FORMER European Parliament president Pat Cox categorically ruled out running for President as an Independent after failing to secure the Fine Gael nomination.

MEP Mairead McGuinness said she had "no regrets" after she failed to live up to her billing as favourite to win the selection convention. And both losing contenders pledged to support Gay Mitchell in his campaign.

Appearing disappointed, Ms McGuinness said she would be "working for him and hopefully he will go all the way".

"I'm delighted for Gay, he's a good friend of mine and we will be canvassing and campaigning for him and he got a great result.

"I have no regrets about my campaign, how I ran it or indeed the outcome. I am glad I did it. I know this party better from the inside out than I would have before I started." The Ireland East MEP added there were some suggestions among councillors that she was "too young and good at what I do".

After joining Fine Gael last month, Mr Cox said he would remain an active member.

"Any way I can help with that campaign, I will. I feel a deep sense of gratitude for Fine Gael, all the members of the parliamentary party and others who have really opened up to me."

But Mr Cox was clear he would not be seeking to run for president as an Independent.

"Absolutely not, absolutely not, perish the thought. I took my stand and I've to take the result with equanimity and contribute any way I can," he said.

Mr Cox said he had been warmly received and treated "with great courtesy" in Fine Gael. "I had to go and buy Sean O'Rourke's book, I never saw so many new faces in the parliamentary party before. But I discovered when I talked to a few of the older hands, I think they need the book as well," he said.

Irish Independent

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