Anti-pylon campaigner seeks FF nomination

Activist among most prominent opponents of Eirgrid plans

Eirgrid plans to upgrade network. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Eirgrid plans to upgrade network. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons


A leading anti-pylon campaigner will challenge a young party official for the Fianna Fáil nomination to run in the Ireland South constituency in the European elections. The two will fight it out to join sitting MEP Brian Crowley on the ticket for the election on May 23rd.

A Fianna Fáil convention in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, on Sunday will decide if Kieran Hartley, the PRO for the Rethink Pylons Group in Waterford, or Adrian O’Higgins (25), the party policy and research officer, will be Mr Crowley’s running mate.

Mr Hartley (40), a father of two, has been one of the most prominent opponents of the plans by EirGrid to upgrade the pylon network. He has claimed that the EirGrid plan will destroy the visual beauty of the Comeragh Mountains and kill the tourism industry in the region.

Party leadership
He has thrown his hat into the ring this week, and is claiming the support of the party leadership for his bid.

Mr O’Higgins, a native of Co Kilkenny, has been canvassing support from party members since the beginning of the year, and has the backing of outgoing MEP Liam Aylward and Carlow-Kilkenny TD John McGuinness.

“I have been seeking support on the basis that the party needs to embrace a new generation and have been getting a great response from members,” Mr O’Higgins said yesterday.

Fianna Fáil nomination
Meanwhile, Senator Thomas Byrne has confirmed he will seek the Fianna Fáil nomination for the Midlands North-West constituency.

Sitting Fianna Fáil MEP Pat The Cope Gallagher, based in Donegal, has confirmed he is standing again in the four-seat constituency, and Mr Byrne, who is based in Co Meath, is likely to target the eastern side of the constituency, particularly the Dublin commuter belt.

Independent TD Luke Ming Flanagan is still weighing up whether he will contest the Midlands North-West constituency and will make a final decision within the next fortnight.

There had been speculation in Leinster House recently that Mr Flanagan was ready to declare his candidacy. However, the deputy for Roscommon-South Leitrim told The Irish Times he had made “no decision yet”.