Casey plans to join same political group as Fine Gael if elected to EU
Businessman Peter Casey plans to join the same political grouping as Fine Gael if he is elected to the European Parliament.
The former 'Dragons' Den' investor, who formally entered the race yesterday, says he would apply to be an independent member of the European People's Party.
The EPP is the largest group in the parliament and includes the parties of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar noted in his recent Fine Gael conference speech that Michel Barnier, Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk are his "party colleagues" in the EPP.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, presidential election runner-up Mr Casey said: "I don't regard it as Leo's party. I believe it's the one that's got the most influence and the one you've probably got the bigger voice in.
"They've got 214 seats or something like that.
"At the end of the day, whichever one has the bigger voice or the bigger platform, you want to be heard."
The Midlands-North West candidate cited Hungarian leader Victor Orbán as a member who has proven "you don't have to go along with all the ideals of it".
Mr Orbán's party was recently suspended from the EPP for refusing to adhere to its principles.
The EPP sees itself as "the party of the centre and the centre right".
Meanwhile, Wexford TD Mick Wallace has not yet decided whether to contest the European elections in Ireland South.
The deadline for submitting nominations papers is next Monday, but Mr Wallace said he "genuinely" doesn't know what to do.
"I'm tempted," he told RTÉ's 'Drivetime'.
"If I went to Europe, could I make an impact there?
"The European Parliament is very undemocratic."