Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan advert sparks ‘lousy and nasty’ charge

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy at loggerheads with Independent MEP over work record

Midlands North West MEP Luke “Ming” Flanagan: put ad in local newspapers comparing his work with that of constituency colleagues Matt Carthy and Maireád McGuinness. Photograph:  Mick McCormack

Midlands North West MEP Luke “Ming” Flanagan: put ad in local newspapers comparing his work with that of constituency colleagues Matt Carthy and Maireád McGuinness. Photograph: Mick McCormack

 

A row between two Irish MEPs from the same European Parliament grouping has led to one accusing the other of “lousy and nasty” tactics.

Midlands North West MEP Luke “Ming” Flanagan took out an advertisement in local newspapers comparing his work in the European Parliament over the last five years to constituency colleagues Matt Carthy and Maireád McGuinness, from Sinn Féin and Fine Gael respectively.

Sinn Féin and Mr Flanagan are both members of the Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) group. Mr Carthy, in a Facebook post, claimed Mr Flanagan’s attack on his record was a “lousy and nasty act” in newspapers which his children might see.

He claimed he argued to allow Mr Flanagan into the GUE/NGL group “while many others were opposed”.

“While we could have sought to veto his membership of the group, we in Sinn Féin instead often offered his office support and guidance when requested at numerous times over the past five years.”

He further claimed he “cannot countenance how such a poor constituency engagement as practised by Luke Flanagan would allow him to claim that he is ‘taking the job seriously’”.

Agriculture committee

The dispute centres on the agriculture committee of the parliament, which was the focus of Mr Flanagan’s advert.

Mr Flanagan has said he has prioritised this committee “above and beyond any other committee”. “Other MEPs have prioritised other committees. That’s their choice. Matt does excellent work on vulture funds among many other issues. I think he’s an excellent MEP.”

Mr Flanagan said he will be suggesting his voters give their second preference to Mr Carthy.

Meanwhile, in a similar move to Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael has divided the European Parliament constituencies between its candidates in an attempt to maximise its vote on May 24th.

Dublin split

Party sources, however, said the exact split in Dublin – where former tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald and ex-SDLP leader Mark Durkan are the Fine Gael candidates – was “still under negotiation”.

In Midlands North West, Ms McGuinness will be allocated the counties in the eastern side of the constituency and former Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh given those on the western half.

In Ireland South – which takes in Carlow, Clare, Cork, Kerry, Kilkenny, Laois, Offaly, Tipperary, Wexford, Wicklow, Limerick and Waterford – Fine Gael is running three candidates.

Andrew Doyle, the Wicklow-based Minister of State for Agriculture, has been allocated the six Leinster counties; Deirdre Clune, the outgoing MEP, has been allocated Cork city and county; and Sean Kelly, the other outgoing MEP, will have Kerry, Clare, Limerick and north Tipperary to himself. Ms Clune and Mr Kelly will share Waterford and south Tipperary.