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Labour relief as John Gilroy withdraws from MEP race

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Senator John Gilroy

Senator John Gilroy

Senator John Gilroy

LABOUR senator John Gilroy has dramatically withdrawn from the upcoming European selection convention in Ireland South in what will come as a relief to senior party figures.

Mr Gilroy (pictured) was preparing to challenge sitting MEP Phil Prendergast for the single place on the Labour ticket.

Labour figures have been seriously concerned about the bitter exchanges between the pair in recent weeks and were braced for a hostile selection convention on March 9.

But Mr Gilroy last night pulled out of the selection process and claimed that the party was not allowing enough time to campaign.

He told the Irish Independent that he believed he would have beaten Ms Prendergast in the selection process but that the short period in the run-up to polling day would have made it "almost impossible" to run a proper campaign.

Meanwhile, a two-horse race has emerged in Fine Gael for the final place on the party's European ticket in Ireland South.

Wicklow TD Simon Harris has expressed major interest in running, however, party strategists are also considering Waterford TD John Deasy.

Sitting MEP Sean Kelly is expected to successfully defend his seat and will be joined on the ticket by Senator Deirdre Clune.

However, the party has now decided to run a third candidate, with Mr Deasy and Mr Harris emerging as the clear favourites.

Irish Independent