‘No way’ Brian Crowley can run as Fianna Fáil MEP, say party sources
MEP fell out with party over a change of groups in the parliament five years ago
Fianna Fáil MEP Brian Crowley: his spokesman said he would be making no comment “until he’s finished with the doctors”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
The Ireland South MEP, who was first elected in 1994, fell out with the party over a change of groups in the parliament five years ago.
More significantly, say party sources, he has not attended the parliament at all since re-election in 2014 because of ill-health.
Boundary changes and the reallocation of the 73 British seats in the parliament announced this week have turned the party’s attention to next year’s elections and the task of selecting candidates for Ireland’s three constituencies. The Ireland South constituency has been expanded to become a five-seater.
A spokesman for Mr Crowley said he would be making no comment “until he’s finished with the doctors”.
His office has previously said that he would make a statement about his future intentions when he was released from hospital. His spokesman confirmed that he had left hospital but said he was “still under doctors’ care”.
Mr Crowley, who is a wheelchair user after an accident as a teenager left him paralysed from the waist down, is understood to have suffered from health complications in recent years.
He was absent from the parliament for some time in advance of the 2014 elections but was re-elected as a Fianna Fáil candidate. He has not attended the parliament at all since then. However, he opposed Fianna Fáil’s move from the European Conservative and Reformist group in the parliament to the liberal grouping, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats.
Now senior party figures have told The Irish Times that there is no way Mr Crowley can run for the party again next year.
His parliamentary substitute, Kieran Hartley, has made several appeals to the party leader Micheál Martin to intervene, although the party’s view is that it is powerless to act.
Mr Hartley was severely critical of Mr Crowley, saying he was “not interested in representing the people of Ireland South – it’s all about Brian Crowley”.
Mr Hartley confirmed he would be seeking a nomination for next year’s elections.