Peter Mathews given a month to decide if he will run for Fianna Fáil

Dublin South TD keen to stand in European elections

Peter Mathews: The former Fine Gael TD says he is “not fussy about the jersey I wear” when it comes to standing for the European Parliament. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Peter Mathews: The former Fine Gael TD says he is “not fussy about the jersey I wear” when it comes to standing for the European Parliament. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Tue, Dec 10, 2013, 01:00


Fianna Fáil is giving Dublin South Independent TD Peter Mathews one month to decide whether he wants to stand for the party in next year’s European elections.

Sources in Fianna Fáil say Mr Mathews would be an “ideal candidate” to stand in the Dublin constituency.

For his part, the former Fine Gael TD says he is “not fussy about the jersey I wear” when it comes to standing for the European Parliament.


Party figures
While Mr Mathews is understood not to have spoken directly to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, other party figures have spoken to him about the possibility of standing.

However, party sources said it is up to Mr Mathews to take the initiative himself and this must happen before the European selection conventions take place in January.

“It’s up to Peter now, if he is serious about it, he has to come to us,” a well-placed source said.

Some in Fianna Fáil believe Mr Mathews’s high media profile would position him well to win a seat in the three-seat constituency. One source claimed Fianna Fáil is “not spoiled for choice and we could do with someone of his profile. You have people who go to the European Parliament and enjoy it and Peter would be one of those.”

Mr Mathews, who lost the Fine Gael whip in the Dáil after voting against the party on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, is associated with the Reform Alliance group. However, the group of Fine Gael dissidents will not be running a candidate in Dublin for the European elections.

“We have no interest in running a European elections candidate,” Dublin South-East TD Lucinda Creighton said.

Mr Mathews said he is disappointed with how the Government has handled the issue of banking debt and about how it has dealt with the European Central Bank in particular. He said the European Parliament would give him a platform to raise these issues.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin Meath West TD Peadar Toibin confirmed he has been approached by senior Fianna Fáil figures who asked him to join the party.

Mr Toibin is currently serving a six-month suspension from the Sinn Féin parliamentary party for also voting against the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.

However, he said he refused the advances because of differences “between [Sinn Féin] policy objectives and the policies of Fianna Fáil”.

Independent Wicklow TD Stephen Donnelly has been named as another who could join Fianna Fáil, but he did not return calls last night.

Former Labour Party chairman Colm Keaveney, a Galway East TD, joined Fianna Fáil last week.