Fianna Fáil has confirmed its selection of two candidates in the European elections for the Midlands-North-West constituency - although one of them isn’t too happy to be sharing the field.
Meath Senator Thomas Byrne has been chosen as a running mate for sitting MEP Pat the Cope Gallagher, despite misgivings expressed by the latter.
Speaking to Karen Coleman of Radio EP, Mr Gallagher warned that the move could backfire.
“The party hierarchy has decided there should be two candidates, one east and one west of the Shannon, to garner the maximum votes. But it could be a dangerous strategy, particularly if we come in with about the same number of votes which would make transfers more difficult,” he said.
Mr Gallagher conceded it was unlikely that Fianna Fáil would win two seats, although he insisted any opinion polls were still “much too early” to predict what might unfold.
“Of course I only wish we could take two seats, but I’m a realist,” he said.
The Donegal-based TD expressed confidence that he could win votes in the new counties making up the enlarged Midlands-North-West constituency, including Laois, Offaly, Kildare, Meath and Louth.
Although there was local disappointment at the failure of the party to nominate Longford man Pat O’Rourke at the weekend, it is clear that Fianna Fail will have a a major challenge ahead to secure two seats in the constituency.
Overall indications are that the remaining three seats could go to Mairead McGuinness for Fine Gael, Independent Marian Harkin and Sinn Fein’s Matt Carthy who is said to be polling extremely well .