Barry Andrews to contest Dublin for FF in European election

Party frustrated at being associated with Government’s difficulties, says former minister of state

Former minister of state Barry Andrews (front, right) has been selected to contest the European Parliament election in Dublin for Fianna Fáil. Photograph Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Former minister of state Barry Andrews (front, right) has been selected to contest the European Parliament election in Dublin for Fianna Fáil. Photograph Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

 

Fianna Fáil members are frustrated at being associated with the difficulties the Government is experiencing, the party’s candidate for the Dublin European Parliament constituency has said.

Barry Andrews, a former Dún Laoghaire TD and minister of state, said the confidence and supply agreement, which sees Fianna Fáil underpin the Fine Gael led minority Government, should end once uncertainty over Brexit has been removed.

Mr Andrews last night beat former ministers Mary Hanafin and Conor Lenihan and marriage equality campaigner Tiernan Brady to the Fianna Fáil nomination.

He will serve “at least” one full term in the European Parliament and said the party will run only one candidate in Dublin, which is growing from a three to a four-seat constituency as a result of the UK leaving the EU.

At the selection convention in Lansdowne Rugby Club on Sunday evening, some 838 votes were cast out of an eligible electorate of 1,600.

Mr Andrews polled 340 first preferences, followed by Ms Hanafin on 199, Mr Brady on 191 and Mr Lenihan with 108. Mr Lenihan and then Mr Brady were eliminated, leaving Mr Andrews the winner and Ms Hanafin the runner up.

Mr Andrews said he believed the confidence and supply agreement cannot last until its intended end date of spring 2020.

“There is frustration as we go on the doors we are associated with some of the problems that the Government are having at the moment,” he said. “There is not a single member of Fianna Fáil that doesn’t acknowledge that throughout Brexit we are going to have to maintain confidence and supply.

Country first

“There is absolutely no question of collapsing the Government while the fog of Brexit is still obscuring Irish politics. As soon as that is clarified, there has to be a question about confidence and supply.”

Party leader Micheál Martin last week said his commitment to facilitate one more budget in the autumn still stands, but Mr Andrews says there “would have to be a serious question about that”.

However, his remarks were tempered by Kildare South TD Fiona O’Loughlin, who chaired the convention.

“Micheál is wearing the green jersey and it is not an easy place to be for him or for any of the parliamentary party. We have to have patience. We have to put country first and then, I do believe, that that will come back to us.”

Deputy leader Dara Calleary told the convention it is important Fianna Fáil’s “republican values” are heard in the next European Parliament.

Mr Brady urged delegates to canvass for Mr Andrews and said Fianna Fáil’s recovery requires it to be the “voice of Dublin city and county”.

Ms Hanafin said she will stand for the party again in the Blackrock ward of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council in May’s’ local elections and will seek a return to the Dáil thereafter.

Mr Lenihan said it is time for Fianna Fáil to “put these posh boys out”, in a reference to the Fine Gael.