FF accuses Sinn Féin campaign of 'being a lie'
Fianna Fáíl has called on a sitting MEP to withdraw as a candidate for the next general election or admit his European campaign "is a lie".
Former minister Brendan Smith is targeting Sinn Féin's Matt Carthy, who he claims is "deeply dishonest and treating people like fools".
The two men are going head to head in the Midlands-North West, which is likely to be the constituency most affected by Brexit.
Mr Carthy has accused his rival of a "pathetic attack" that "smacks of desperation due to the fact that his own campaign thus far has been such a flop".
A recent opinion poll put the Sinn Féin candidate in third place in the four-seat constituency on 9pc. Fianna Fáil achieved 13pc but it was split between Mr Smith (8pc) and his running mate, Anne Rabbitte (5pc).
As it stands, Mr Carthy is not committing to another five years in Brussels. He has been selected by Sinn Féin to replace TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin for Cavan-Monaghan when he retires at the next general election.
Meath councillor Darren O'Rourke is listed as replacement MEP, if Mr Carthy is elected to the Dáil.
Mr Smith said the Sinn Féin man is presenting himself as a voice for Border communities "but a vote for him is actually a vote for the South Meath councillor who will replace him when the general election takes place".
"If Sinn Féin are serious about representing the interests of Border communities, their candidate will formally withdraw his general election candidacy and confirm that if elected he will serve a full term in the European Parliament. Otherwise, the Sinn Féin European campaign is a lie," he said.
Mr Carthy told the Irish Independent: "I cannot predict the future but my focus if re-elected will be on continuing to fight for Ireland and delivering as an MEP on key issues such as curbing the free rein that Fianna Fáil gave the banks and vulture funds and ensuring that EU funding is directed to the communities."