Fitzgerald says she is a 'credible' candidate for European election
Former Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald is officially putting her name forward to run as a candidate in the forthcoming European Parliament elections.
Ms Fitzgerald confirmed to the Irish Independent she plans to seek the Fine Gael nomination to run in the Dublin constituency ahead of the election in May.
The former justice minister said the upcoming election was critical for Ireland, with Brexit talks on a knife edge, and said the country should select an experienced candidate.
"It is probably the most important European election ever as far as Ireland is concerned and I believe with my experience of ministries and my experience at EU council meetings that I would be going forward as a strong and credible candidate," Ms Fitzgerald said.
The Dublin Mid-West TD was last week appointed to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, which a Fine Gael source said indicates she is the party's first choice candidate for the Dublin constituency.
Higher Education Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor also expressed interest in running in the Dublin constituency. Ms Mitchell O'Connor previously told the 'Sunday Independent' she was "exploring" the possibility of putting her name forward but wanted to speak with her supporters and the Taoiseach.
Fine Gael is expected to run at least two candidates in the new four-seat Dublin constituency.
However, the constituency could remain a three seater if Britain does not leave the EU before the March deadline for Brexit.
Dublin currently has three sitting MEPs, but long-time Fine Gael politician and former minister Brian Hayes announced he will not contest the forthcoming election.
Ms Fitzgerald was forced to resign from Cabinet over a controversy involving Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe.
However, the Disclosures Tribunal found she acted appropriately in her role as justice minister.