Sunday 22 April 2018

Pat 'The Cope' rules out bid to save FF seat in by-election

Michael Brennan

FIANNA Fail MEP Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher insisted last night it was not "on his radar" to run again in the impending Donegal South West by-election to rescue Fianna Fail.

There has been speculation that Mr Gallagher will return to win back the seat he automatically vacated when he was elected to the EU Parliament in the North West constituency last year.

But he indicated that he was unlikely to comply with a request to run, despite admitting he had got some "overtures" from party figures.

"I have a commitment to my constituents in the North West and a by-election is not presently on my radar," he said.

"However, I am aware of the importance of winning the seat," he added.

Mr Gallagher is currently in Iceland, where he is leading a European Parliament delegation to assist in the country's efforts to join the EU.

He pointed out that: "I went out (to Brussels) at the request of Albert (Reynolds) in 1994, I came back (to Donegal South West) at the request of Bertie (Ahern) in 2002 and I went out (to Brussels again) at the request of Brian Cowen in 2009.''

Fianna Fail is the only major party not to have identified a candidate for the by-election. Its Donegal-based senator Brian O'Domhnaill is still the leading contender but he suffered a personal setback in August when he received eight stitches to a head wound after an incident on the way home from a disco in Gweedore. The matter is now before the courts.

Sinn Fein senator Pearse Doherty is his party's candidate -- and he has taken a High Court challenge to the Government's stated intention not to hold the by-election until next spring. The case is due to be heard later this month.

Labour's candidate is councillor Frank McBrearty Jr, the victim of garda corruption. Fine Gael's candidate is Councillor Barry O'Neill, a sportscaster with 2FM.

Independent Donegal councillor Thomas Pringle will also contest the seat.

Irish Independent

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