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Blaney says he has had positive reaction to European bid

Former Donegal TD is seeking Fianna Fáil nomination for Midlands North West constituency

By staff reporter

Reporter:

By staff reporter

Former Donegal TD Blaney fails in Seanad bid

Niall Blaney

Former Donegal Dáil TD Niall Blaney has said he's received a lot of support for his bid to be elected to the European Parliament.

The Fanad man is seeking the Fianna Fáil nomination to contest next year's European election in the Midlands North West constituency.

Mr Blaney served as TD for Donegal North East from 2002 to 2011 and was formerly a member of Independent Fianna Fáil.

"Since my decision to seek a nomination was made public on Monday, I've had contact from a lot of people across the Midlands Northwest constituency," he said.
"The reaction has been extremely positive, but people have concerns about Brexit and have concerns about being neglected simply because they live north of the Galway Dublin line. The electorate wants to know that their corner will be fought in Europe, that infrastructure such as broadband will be delivered and that European directives and regulations will reflect real life," he added.
The former public representative, who was first elected as a Donegal County Councillor in 1999, has been busy travelling around the 13-county Midlands North West constituency in recent weeks where he needs to secure the FF nomination.
"I'm meeting as many people from the organisation as I possibly can and that groundwork has been going really well."
The continuing uncertainty around Brexit is an issue which Ireland's MEPs will have to deal with after next May's elections.
"Brexit is bringing many challenges for our country that need to be addressed. I do believe there will also be opportunities and that some of those can be realised at a European level. But from a north-south point of view, I think it begs the question why relationships weren't developed further than they have been over the last number of years.
"I feel that the Irish government needs to be doing more to enhance the relationship with our neighbours. From the point of view of developing our infrastructure and national development plans, we need to be doing a lot better. For the Irish government to be releasing development plans and not recognising that the North exists at all is short-sighted. If you see an Irish government development plan launched, you'll see a blank when it comes to including Northern Ireland - it's being treated as if it simply doesn't exist. It's hard enough in counties like Donegal to be cut off by the border, but it's harder again when what's on the other side of the border is ignored. That way of going makes it much harder for us to get our fair share. I really believe that a fight can be brought to Europe to bring a more balanced regional development," he said.
The Midlands North West constituency is currently served by Luke 'Ming' Flanagan (Roscrea in Roscommon), Matt Carthy (Carrickmacross in Monaghan), Marian Harkin (Sligo town) and Mairead McGuinness (Navan, Meath).
"There is no way everyone is going to be close to their MEP geographically. To me, it's about the candidate being accessible, on the ground and contactable - that's a strong point for me."
Given that his party failed to take a seat in the last European elections in the Midlands North West constituency in 2014 when running two candidates - Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher and Thomas Byrne, took almost 18 per cent of the vote between them - Niall Blaney acknowledged that he has a tough battle ahead.
"But I am determined to do my utmost to ensure that the people of the Midlands Northwest constituency have their concerns addressed in Europe," he added.

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