Fine Gael’s Euro strategy dealt fresh blow

Candidate selection a ‘mess’ as Deasy pulls out

Fine Gael’s John Deasy. File Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Fine Gael’s John Deasy. File Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Sat, Feb 15, 2014, 12:22

Fine Gael’s European elections strategy has been dealt another blow as a prominent TD seen as a potential MEP candidate by party strategists has ruled himself out.

Waterford TD John Deasy says he has no interest in standing for the European Parliament in the four-seat Ireland South constituency.

He informed senior party figures yesterday, and it means the only TD left with an interest in running is Wicklow’s Simon Harris, while Senator Michael D’Arcy has also been mentioned.

Party sources have described the selection process as “a mess” and it is understood the Fine Gael hierarchy felt Mr Deasy was one of its strongest remaining chances at winning a seat in the southeast. “I appreciate being considered but I’m not interested in running,” Mr Deasy said.

It comes after former IFA president John Bryan last week pulled back from a place on the party ticket.

He objected to the strategy of running three Fine Gael candidates, with sitting MEP Seán Kelly running out of his Kerry base and Senator Deirdre Clune running from Cork city. It is expected Mr Kelly and Ms Clune will be selected at a convention in Clonmel tomorrow, with a third candidate added in coming weeks.