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Ganley prepares Libertas team for EU election battle

DECLAN Ganley will today signal his intention to run in the European elections in the North-West constituency.

The No To Lisbon campaigner is also expected to announce the launch of Libertas as a pan-European party to contest next June's elections in several EU countries.

The Libertas chief will steal some of the limelight from Taoiseach Brian Cowen's EU Summit on the Lisbon Treaty by announcing his plans to the European media at his new office in Brussels.

The group is tipped to turn the European elections into a referendum by also standing candidates in other EU countries, including the UK.

Aside from Mr Ganley, it is not yet clear who will be lining out for the group.

Libertas activist Caroline Simons is a possible candidate for the group in the Dublin constituency.

Ms Simons, a barrister, has apparently yet to decide if she wants to run.

She is a senior spokesperson for the group and played a prominent role in its Lisbon campaign.

She will attend the press conference today and will be asked to clarify her position. By running candidates in a European election, Libertas will pose a threat to sitting MEPs.

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The group will also be looking at running a candidate in the East constituency, but won't put up a candidate in the South to avoid targeting Kathy Sinnott's seat.

Mr Ganley lives in Galway, so the old Connacht-Ulster constituency, which now also incorporates parts of Munster and Leinster, would be the natural base for the controversial international businessman.

He is said to be seriously considering running.

Dana Rosemary Scallon was elected in Connacht-Ulster in 1999 and Marian Harkin took that independent seat in 2004, when it became the North-West.

"This will put Libertas on the map as a proper political party," a source said.

Mr Ganley is still dealing with the State ethics watchdog on its queries regarding the €1m-plus spent by Libertas on its No To Lisbon campaign.

He sent a solicitor's letter to the Standards in Public Office Commission in response to queries of how his organisation funded the last campaign. It is understood the commission received the legal correspondence last Thursday.


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