Mary Fitzpatrick likely to seek FF nomination for European elections

Party figures believe councillor would be favourite to win nomination for Dublin

Expectation is building in Fianna Fáil circles that Dublin councillor Mary Fitzpatrick will seek the party's nomination to contest the European election in the city next May.

Senior party figures believe Ms Fitzpatrick, who has told The Irish Times she is contemplating a run, would be the favourite to take the nomination if she declares. Fianna Fáil sources believe she has already won over the party leadership.

While no date has been set for a convention, preparations are in train to settle the matter quickly.

Fianna Fáil activists believe Ms Fitzpatrick's public clash with then taoiseach Bertie Ahern and his supporters in the 2007 general election would be to her advantage in the contest.


Crushing defeat
Since Fianna Fáil's crushing defeat in the 2011 election, she has increasingly cast herself as the voice of the party in Dublin.

“I’m considering it,” she said of the looming European poll. “I think it will be a very important election for Fianna Fáil and for the people of Dublin.”

Fianna Fáil has no TDs in Dublin and no MEP, so the May election will be crucial to the efforts of leader Mícheál Martin to rebuild the party in the city.

No big-name candidate with a national profile has emerged. Former newscaster Anne Doyle is known to have spurned a tentative approach.

Although the nomination will be decided by a vote of registered party activists in Dublin on a one-member one-vote basis, certain Fianna Fáil figures believe Ms Fitzpatrick has strong potential to gain traction with the membership. Some 2,000 delegates will be eligible to participate.

The other declared candidates are Geraldine Feeney, a former senator, and Tiernan Brady, a gay rights activist. While Senator Averil Power is also known to have given the matter consideration, her priority is thought to be the next general election.

Mary Hanafin
Former minister Mary Hanafin has expressed interest in the nomination within the party but that met a cold response from the leadership.

Ms Fitzpatrick, daughter of former TD Dermot Fitzpatrick, was elected to Dublin City Council in 2004. In the immediate aftermath of the 2007 general election she claimed her campaign in the election was sabotaged by Mr Ahern's team.

Arthur Beesley

Arthur Beesley

Arthur Beesley is Current Affairs Editor of The Irish Times