06 Feb, 2024

Fianna Fáil confirm EU lead candidates

Fianna Fáil confirmed Barry Andrews MEP, Barry Cowen TD and Billy Kelleher MEP as the party’s lead candidates for the three Irish constituencies ahead of the European elections in June. 

Cowen, a current Teachta Dála (Member of Parliament) since 2020, was announced as the party’s lead candidate for the Midlands–North-West constituency at a party convention on 5 February. 

“It is a great honour and privilege to be endorsed by [Fianna Fáil] to fight to win back a seat that has been out of this constituency for too long,” said Cowen. 

“In the coming weeks and months we will make a huge effort to take the seat. It is imperative we create the sort of momentum that will allow us to be in a position to make an impact, to make a mark, locally, nationally and in Europe.”   

Previously, members had elected Kelleher as the party’s representative for Ireland South following a party convention on 28 January. 

He was elected as a Member of the European Parliament for the constituency in 2019, and previously served as Minister for Trade and Commerce and Minister for Labour Affairs. 

“Ensuring the strongest possible voice for Ireland in the next European Parliament is an absolute necessity. We need Irish MEPs with the capacity to influence legislation in Ireland’s favour,” said Kelleher. 

“Europe matters to Ireland. Our nation’s prosperity is inextricably linked to the success of the EU. As an Irish MEP, I’ll always champion Ireland’s interests while holding true to our shared, common values of democracy, equality, free and fair markets and the Rule of Law.” 

Previously in January, Andrews was selected as the lead candidate for the Dublin constituency. 

He became a Member of the European Parliament in 2020, having been Ireland’s Minister of State for Children between 2008-2011 as well as a Teachta Dála. 

“2024 is one of the most pivotal years for global democracy. In Ireland we have to play our part to ensure we elect MEPs who are not going to pander to far-right ideologies, who are not going to support Russia in their war against Ukraine and who are going to support a ceasefire in Gaza unconditionally,” said Andrews. 

Party leader Micheál Martin TD, Ireland’s Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister), Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, outlined the party’s strong stance in favour of strengthening European integration and democracy. 

“We in Fianna Fáil believe that the European Union is a fundamental foundation for progress in our country. Ireland must stand with Europe and must stand against the corrosive euroscepticism and anti-democratic regimes which seek to undermine the Union,” said Martin. 

“There is widespread enthusiasm across the party for the upcoming campaign. Fianna Fáil is the party which brought Ireland into EU membership and we believe our best future lies with a strong and effective EU.” 

The European elections in Ireland will be held between 6-9 June in line with local elections, as citizens head to the polls to elect 14 MEPs.

Photo: Fianna Fáil / X

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