Seamus McGrath leaves FF European race 'due to personal reasons'
European Parliament candidate for Fianna Fáil, Seamus McGrath, has withdrawn from the race, leaving Billy Kelleher as clear front-runner, despite party leader Mícheál Martin’s wishes.
The former Cork County Mayor told The Echo that he ended his European Parliament campaign for family reasons, leaving Cork North Central TD Billy Kelleher as the clear favourite to take the spot.
Mr Kelleher taking poll-position will not be favourable to Fianna Fáil leader, Mícheál Martin, however, who has previously admitted that his Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation claiming the seat from abdicating MEP Brian Crowley would not be "good for the party".
Mr Martin’s concerns come after the party leader already admitted that Fianna Fáil will struggle to secure two seats in Cork North Central at the next general election if Mr Kelleher does not keep the seat he currently occupies in the Dáil.
Mr McGrath’s decision comes a week before a European selection convention was due to take place.
The Carrigaline councillor’s main opposition as the Cork-based candidate in the Ireland South constituency were Mr Kelleher and Jason Fitzgerald, a Kanturk based farmer-cum-politician.
Speaking to The Echo today, Mr McGrath said that he that is withdrawing his candidacy as the Cork-based MEP for the Ireland South constituency for family reasons.
"I have reflected very carefully on my position in the last week or so and I have reached the very difficult decision not to proceed with my nomination at this time," he said.
"I have made this decision for family reasons. Being an MEP would be an enormous honour, but it also comes with a huge impact on family life. My wife and I have two very young children and I have genuinely struggled from the outset on this issue."
"My decision is not a political one, it is a personal one," he added, thanking everyone for their support.
Mr McGrath said he is excited about contesting the local elections in May.