Former FF minister seeks party nomination for European elections

Brendan Smith is the second senior Fianna Fáil figure to declare his candidacy in a day

Cavan-Monaghan TD Brendan Smith is seeking a nomination to run for Fianna Fáil in the European elections in May.   File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Cavan-Monaghan TD Brendan Smith is seeking a nomination to run for Fianna Fáil in the European elections in May. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

 

Fianna Fáil Cavan-Monaghan TD Brendan Smith is seeking a nomination to run for the party in the European elections in May.

He was the second senior party figure to indicate on Wednesday he would like a move from Dáil Éireann to Brussels, after Fianna Fáil TD Billy Kelleher said he would like to contest the European elections.

Mr Smith would be contesting the May elections in the Midlands-North West constituency.

Fianna Fáil Senator Aidan Davitt is also contesting the party nomination for Midlands-North West.

Mr Smith served as minister for agriculture, fisheries and food from 2008 to 2011 and has been a TD since he was first elected in 1992.

He previously worked as a special adviser to former tánaiste John Wilson for 15 years.

Mr Smith said he had been contacted by a number of people from Northern Ireland who are concerned they will have no EU representation after Brexit.

“With Brexit negotiations ongoing, it is crucial we have MEPs from south of the Border who have an interest in and understanding of Northern Ireland, ” he said.

“People in the Border region in particular are very conscious of the potential adverse impacts of Brexit. I have experience on the European Committee of the Regions and as former agriculture minister, which has given me an in-depth understanding of the workings of the EU,” he said.

Mr Kelleher, a Cork North-Central TD who is his party’s jobs, enterprise and innovation spokesman, told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that Ireland has a key role to play in Europe and he would like “to be central to that”.

Mr Kelleher put his name forward to stand in the Ireland South constituency in the May elections after months of speculation that he was interested in the move.

Fianna Fáil’s current MEP for Ireland South, Brian Crowley, is expected to announce his future intentions shortly.