European elections: Durkan urges electorate to vote for ‘voices of sense’

Fine Gael MEP candidate says Ireland must vote for politicians positive about EU

 Fine Gael’s two Dublin candidates for the European Elections, Frances Fitzgerald and Mark Durkan, joined by Minister Josepha Madigan TD. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Fine Gael’s two Dublin candidates for the European Elections, Frances Fitzgerald and Mark Durkan, joined by Minister Josepha Madigan TD. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

There are going to be “voices for nonsense” from the UK in the next European parliament, Fine Gael MEP candidate Mark Durkan has said.

Mr Durkan, former deputy first minister of Northern Ireland, said it is therefore important that Ireland elects “voices of sense”, who are positive for the country and Europe.

“As I go about Dublin, it’s clear that people are more and more aware of the fact of this election and why it matters. Not least, people are picking up on just how negative things are happening across the water. People know that there are going to be voices for nonsense arriving in the European parliament from there and that’s why they know that we need voices of sense, clear positive voices, positive for Ireland and positive for Dublin and Europe,” Mr Durkan said.

“People appreciate the need for a strong turnout in Ireland so that someone like Nigel Farage, who’s hoping to boast of a surge in the vote for his type of politics in Britain, isn’t able to talk about a small turnout in Ireland, belittling the effort that the Government and so many of us have made in relation to Brexit and its implication for us.

Mr Durkan was speaking to reporters alongside Fine Gael’s other Dublin MEP candidate Frances Fitzgerald, who were canvassing in Dublin city centre on Tuesday morning.

Upcoming elections

Ms Fitzgerald said the upcoming elections are the “most important European elections”.

“We’re going to have to build new alliances, we’re going to have to represent the interests of the citizens of Ireland effectively in the European parliament, the interests of business, very challenging time for business, both small and medium enterprises given the huge challenge to their exports following Brexit,” she said.

“I think the public are very engaged in Europe in a way they never have been before, given the really excellent representation we’ve had on the Brexit issues and the support that we’ve got from our European colleagues. We’ve got to make sure that continues in the critical months ahead.”

The former Tánaiste is the front runner in the Dublin constituency, according to last week’s Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI Euro Constituency polls, with 22 per cent of the vote. Mr Durkan registered 7 per cent support.

“We’ve seen huge variability and volatility in polls over the last number of months and years, so you can take absolutely nothing for granted and I certainly don’t,” Ms Fitzgerald added.