Malone may link with TDs against merger


The Dublin Labour MEP, Ms Bernie Malone, is likely to link up with other Dublin Labour representatives in opposing the terms of the agreement for the merger between the party and Democratic Left, sources close to her say.

Ms Malone faces the imposition of the DL leader and former MEP, Mr Proinsias De Rossa, as joint Euro-candidate in next June's elections and is said to be deeply upset by what she sees as a lack of consultation over the merger.

Speaking to a group of constituents on a Brussels visit at the weekend, Ms Malone said she was confident she would retain the seat as "the" Labour candidate.

Mr De Rossa, she said, would be a Democratic Left candidate as he had not faced a Labour selection conference.

Ms Malone said she would not comment further until the Labour conference on the issue on December 12th. She would be consulting many of those in Dublin who were deeply unhappy with the merger terms.

What seems set to become an increasingly public row with the party's leadership over the issue nevertheless recalls the bitter 1994 European election campaign. E reporter, Ms Orla Guerin, as a Dublin candidate was successfully turned by Ms Malone to her advantage, despite the apparent preference of the party leadership for Ms Guerin.

At that time Mr Dick Spring, then the party leader, imposed an RTE reporter, Ms Orla Guerin, as a Dublin candidate. Ms Malone successfully turned this to her advantage, despite the party leadership's apparent preference for Ms Guerin.

Mr De Rossa could face the same Guerin treatment from Ms Malone, a bruising street fighter of a politician.

Ms Malone's supporters said the decision to put him on the ticket was likely to be an electoral blunder, as both candidates were from the north side of the city and would eat into each other's votes. Labour was most unlikely to take more than one seat.

The four-seater is represented by Ms Malone, Ms Mary Banotti (FG), Mr Nial Andrews (FF) and Ms Patricia McKenna (Green). Fine Gael hopes Ms Banotti's strong presidential performance may help her to take a second seat for the party at Ms McKenna's expense.