Michael McNamara to run in European elections in Ireland South constituency

Clare Independent TD, also a barrister and a drystock farmer, previously ran unsuccessfully in 2009

Independent TD Michael McNamara has confirmed he will run in the European elections in the Ireland South constituency.

Mr McNamara, who is a barrister and drystock farmer as well as a TD for Clare, will submit his nomination papers next Monday. Next Tuesday is the closing date for nominations to stand in the European elections.

Currently three candidates are confirmed in the Ireland South constituency: Derek Blighe from Mitchelstown for Ireland First; Ross Lahive for Cork City for The Irish People; and Una McGurk, non-party, from Kenmare, Co Kerry.

Other candidates expected to run include Aontú's Patrick Murphy; Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher and Cynthia Ní Mhurchú; Fine Gael’s Seán Kelly and John Mullins; The Green Party’s Grace O’Sullivan; independents Graham De Barra, Mary Fitzgibbon, Eddie Punch and Mick Wallace; Irish Freedom Party’s Michael Leahy; Labour’s Niamh Hourigan; PBP-Solidarity’s Cian Prendiville; An Rabharta Glas’s Lorna Bogue; Sinn Féin’s Kathleen Funchion and Paul Gavan; and the Social Democrats’ Susan Doyle.


The South constituency covers Carlow, Clare, Cork, Kerry, Kilkenny, Laois, Limerick, Offaly, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford, and Wicklow.

Mr McNamara previously stood unsuccessfully as an Independent in the 2009 European election in the then Ireland West constituency. He has previously worked as a legal and electoral expert with international organisations including the UN and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. He is married to the granddaughter of former President Patrick Hillery.

The former Labour TD decided to run in the European election because “more and more decisions are being made at European level”.

He said that “in the Lisbon referendum Ireland had an opt-out on immigration and is now closing that”, in reference to the referendum in which Ireland and Britain had an opt out on Justice and Home Affairs.

The Clare TD said it was another example of decisions being take at EU level and the EU needs to be held to account.

In Ireland “there is a massive backlog on permission to remain and we’re not implementing a proper immigration system”, which “needs to be fair, fast, efficient and humane”.

Mr McNamara, formerly a member of the Labour party, said he was not fed up with the Dáil but that in the European Parliament there was no whip system and members could argue about issues on their merit.

He cited the Hate Speech Bill as an example. Under the whip system “everyone voted for the Bill and then came out and said ‘what a terrible Bill’. The legislative system at present doesn’t work very well because of the overuse of the whip.”

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times