Pat Cox applies to join Fine Gael


Former European Parliament President Pat Cox has applied for membership of Fine Gael, it was confirmed today.

Such a move would allow him attempt to become the party’s candidate in the presidential election next November. Fine Gael confirmed today that Mr Cox has written to the St Luke's Branch of Fine Gael in the Cork North Central constituency and had also written to party general secretary Tom Curran to seek the approval of the party's Executive Council.

It said the council would consider his application at a meeting on June 14th. Mr Cox is a former Progressive Democrat and also ran for Fianna Fail unsuccessfully in the 1979 local elections.

He had served three terms as an MEP for Munster, first with the PDs and later as an independent. In 2002, he was elected president of the European Parliament. Mr Cox, who currently lives in Cork, is out of the country at present.

However in a statement this evening, he confirmed he had applied to join the Fine Gael party.

"I am informed that having stood as a candidate for Dáil Éireann and the European Parliament ‘other than as a Fine Gael candidate’ requires that the question of party membership ‘shall not be considered without the approval in writing of the Executive Council’", he said.

"I have written to the General Secretary of Fine Gael, Mr Tom Curran, requesting such written approval. Pending the result of these deliberations I have no further comment to make at this time," he added

Meanwhile, US-based Irish journalist and publisher Niall O’Dowd has promised to be “the best travelling salesman Ireland ever had” if elected as President.

Confirming his interest in the position, Mr O’Dowd said he planned to declare as soon as a “significant number of people” provided assurances of their support.

He said a group of people had approached him to during the recent visit to Ireland of US president Barack Obama. They felt he could have a contribution to make and there was support for an independent candidate who would deal with the Irish worldwide.

Mr O’Dowd declined to name his backers but said if he did decide to run, it would be very clear who was supporting him.