Niall Blaney: not selected for European election
Fianna Fáil has selected sitting Cavan–Monaghan TD Brendan Smith to represent the party in the Midlands North West Constituency for the upcoming election to the European Parliament.
Mr Smith was chosen at a convention in the Longford Arms Hotel in Longford Town on Friday.
Former Donegal TD Niall Blaney also contested the convention.
He had criticised the decision to hold the convention on a Friday afternoon of a bank holiday weekend saying it discriminated against the members of the Midlands Northwest constituency. Mr Blaney said he had raised the issue with the party leader Micheál Martin.
Nine candidates had competed for the candidacy.
Deputy Smith has represented the party in County Cavan at both a local and national level and now looks forward to the challenge of regaining a seat for Fianna Fáil in the Midlands North West in May. Deputy Smith is steeped in a Fianna Fáil tradition and has served as a Fianna Fáil TD for the Cavan-Monaghan Constituency since 1992. He has also served as a cabinet Minister.
Speaking following his selection at the convention, Deputy Smith said: "I would like to thank the members of Fianna Fáil across the fifteen counties within this European constituency. I am honoured that they have placed their trust in me. This region has been without a Fianna Fáil voice in Brussels and Strasbourg for too long.
“It was clear from speaking with members in every corner of this constituency that they grasped the importance of having a committed and experienced voice in Europe at this crucial time. The chaos in Westminster and the uncertainties which lie ahead mean that a strong voice is needed in the European Parliament – I will be that voice”, concluded Deputy Smith.
Speaking following the convention, party leader Micheál Martin said: “I am delighted that so many experienced and accomplished members of our Party put themselves forward in this selection process, I want to commend them for what was a respectful and energetic campaign.
“In Brendan, we have a candidate who will represent our Party and the Midlands North West with distinction. I wish to congratulate him on his selection and I look forward to working with him in the months ahead. Brexit represents the single biggest challenge of our time and when the new European Parliament begins its work in July, I hope we have a strong Fianna Fáil team to speak for the people of Ireland”, concluded Deputy Martin.