Casey considering contesting European elections as MEP Harkin decides to bow out after 15 years
Presidential runner-up Peter Casey is close to declaring his intention to run in the European elections, the Irish Independent understands.
The controversial businessman is mulling over his position after sitting MEP Marian Harkin confirmed she is to bow out of the European Parliament after 15 years.
Ms Harkin, a Sligo-based politician, is one of two Independents in the vast Midlands/North West constituency which stretches across 14 counties from Donegal to Kildare.
Her absence from the ballot paper boosts Fianna Fáil's chances of regaining a seat in the region - but this could be in doubt if Mr Casey enters the race.
The other sitting MEPs, Luke 'Ming' Flanagan (Ind), Mairead McGuinness (FG) and Matt Carthy (SF), are all standing.
As the least well-known candidate in last October's presidential election, Mr Casey was seen as a total outsider. However, he rose to prominence after questioning why Travellers are recognised as an ethnic minority and ultimately gained 340,000 first-preference votes.
The former 'Dragons' Den' investor previously talked about running for the Dáil - but it is understood he is now moving towards Europe.
A source close to the businessman said he was studying the field carefully.
Fianna Fáil has selected former minister Brendan Smith and first-time TD Anne Rabbitte to run.