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I'll retain Mitchell's European seat, says FG candidate Hayes

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Brian Hayes. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Brian Hayes. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Brian Hayes. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

JUNIOR Minister Brian Hayes has announced that he is to run as a candidate in this summer's European elections, pledging that the Fine Gael seat held by Gay Mitchell will be retained.

Mr Hayes said his decision to run came "after a period of consultation with my family, with senior figures in the Fine Gael party and with people whose opinions I value".

He said: "As a senior member of the Fine Gael party in Dublin, I feel a responsibility to ensure that Fine Gael retains the seat so ably held by Gay Mitchell MEP for 10 years."

He said that the election, to take place on May 23, will be a vote on the Government's record and added that the Coalition "rescued this country from almost total collapse and it has put it on the road to recovery".

Europe was fundamental to the next stage in that recovery," he said.

"That's where I believe I can make a difference in the EU parliament, given my experience," he added, pointing to negotiations he participated in with the commission and the European Central Bank.

He promised to focus on the new banking union, tackling youth unemployment and helping small businesses if elected to the European Parliament.

Currently the minister responsible for the Office of Public Works, Mr Hayes was one of the leading members of the group behind the ill-fated heave against Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny in 2010. He is viewed as one of the best performing junior ministers, though there was no guarantee that he would have been promoted in the reshuffle planned for later this year.

He will be Fine Gael's only candidate in the Dublin constituency after the party failed to identify a good-quality running mate for him.

 

MELTDOWN

He was first elected as a TD in 1997, lost his seat in the 2002 meltdown, became Fine Gael leader in the Seanad and then returned to the Dail in 2007.

Meanwhile, Independent MEP Nessa Childers has revealed that her decision to switch constituencies to Dublin ahead of the European elections was strongly influenced by a lack of resources.

The former Labour Party politician admitted that she is taking a significant risk by running in Dublin, which will be one of the most hotly contested constituencies in the elections.

Ms Childers's decision places her head-to-head with Labour MEP Emer Costello, who this week claimed that her former colleague could make little impact in the European Parliament as an independent.

Ms Childers said her former Ireland East base has "basically disappeared" as a result of a series of boundary changes, adding that she does not have the finances to run in the large Ireland constituency.

Other candidates include Fianna Fail councillor Mary Fitzpatrick and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan.

Paul Murphy MEP, who replaced Joe Higgins in Brussels when he was elected to the Dail, is running for the Socialist Party.

hnews@herald.ie


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