Saturday 17 February 2018

Labour seeks running mate to save MEP seat

Emer Costello
Emer Costello

Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

THE Labour Party is desperately seeking a second candidate in order to salvage its Dublin seat in the European Parliament.

Party figures are looking at selecting a running mate for sitting MEP Emer Costello (pictured) as part of the overall strategy for next summer's elections.

A number of sitting politicians have been considered as the party prepares for a "dogfight" to hold on to Ms Costello's seat.

One party figure mooted as a potential running mate, Dublin Lord Mayor Oisin Quinn, last night ruled himself out.

"It's not something on my radar, particularly with the work I have as mayor. So yes, I am happy to rule myself out," he told the Irish Independent.

Senior party figures are becoming increasingly concerned about the prospect of losing the seat, which was held for 12 straight years by former MEP Proinsias de Rossa.

A number of Labour sources believe Mr Quinn would provide significant transfer to Ms Costello, given his high profile as lord mayor.

"We know there will be a dogfight to hold onto Emer's seat, and all options are on the table in terms of candidate strategy," said a Labour Party source.

Ms Costello said last night that she has been "actively campaigning" to retain her seat and rejected the suggestions of fielding a second candidate.

"As far as I am concerned, this is not an option for our strategy," she said.

"We're determined to retain this seat and I believe that will be done by running a single candidate."

Meanwhile, a close friend of Brian Cowen's has declared an interest in running for Fianna Fail in the Dublin constituency.

Former senator Geraldine Feeney told the Irish Independent that she is "well-positioned" to win a seat for Micheal Martin's party.

"We have a huge uphill battle ahead of us in Dublin but I feel very strongly that I can win that seat," she said.

Several party figures are rowing in behind former councillor Tiernan Brady, director of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN).

Mr Brady is due to launch his campaign for the party's nomination this Wednesday.

Other party figures still considering putting their names forward include former minister Mary Hanafin.

Ms Hanafin has told colleagues that she is "keeping her options open".

Irish Independent

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