Fianna Fáil MEP candidate accuses party of favouritism at campaign launch

Fianna Fáil Mep Candidate Accuses Party Of Favouritism At Campaign Launch
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin denied Niall Blaney's (right) assertion and said all European Parliament election candidates were getting ‘significant’ support. Photo: PA Images
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Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA

Fianna Fáil MEP candidate Niall Blaney accused his party of favouritism at the launch of its European election manifesto in Dublin on Friday.

Tánaiste and leader of Fianna Fáil Micheál Martin denied this was the case, and said all candidates had received “significant support”.


Mr Blaney is running for a seat in the European Parliament in the Midlands–North-West constituency, along with his party colleagues Barry Cowen and Lisa Chambers.

Niall Blaney
Fianna Fáil MEP candidate Niall Blaney was asked whether he felt supported by the party. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

A recent poll by the Irish Times puts Mr Cowen on 10 per cent, Ms Chambers on 9 per cent, and Mr Blaney on 4 per cent, three of 27 candidates in the five-seater constituency.


At the launch of the party’s European election manifesto in Dublin, Ms Chambers and Mr Blaney were asked whether they felt supported by their party.

Ms Chambers said there was a “healthy tension” between the Fianna Fáil candidates in the constituency.

“I wouldn’t be contesting these elections without the support of my leader and my party,” Ms Chambers said.



“There’s healthy tensions within the party because our ticket is competitive, the constituency is competitive, and I think it shows that our party is doing well, because people want to contest elections on the Fianna Fáil ticket.”

Mr Blaney responded: “Unfortunately, I am not getting the same support as other candidates are getting in this campaign, and that’s a problem for me. It has been for weeks.


“I have never had any opportunity on national television yet, I’m the only candidate of the six.

“That is not just about me, that’s about the people I represent in the Border counties and Connacht. We need the same opportunity as everybody else to make the most of the Fianna Fáil vote and go for that second seat, it’s very much there.”

European Parliament election
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, left to right, and candidates Cynthia Ní Mhurchú and Niall Blaney were appearing at a launch event in Dublin on Friday. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA


He said that the Midlands–North-West constituency was in need of better infrastructure and was “not getting our fair share”.

“I feel there’s a real opportunity now to take a seat on the Border and Connacht counties. But we need equal support for the last two weeks. And not just support for a few. If the Tánaiste goes on a canvass he goes on a canvass with all three, and if he goes to do videos with one candidate, he has to do videos with all three.”

Mr Martin said he had canvassed with Mr Blaney, and the only candidate he had not canvassed with yet was Ms Chambers.

When Mr Blaney responded to say there were two other candidates out on the canvass with him as well, Mr Martin said “all the European candidates are with local election candidates”.

Cynthia Ní Mhurchú, a Fianna Fáil MEP candidate for Ireland South, interjected to say: “Correct, I canvassed with you with other local candidates.”


Mr Martin added: “There’s huge support going to all candidates from the party. There is significant support going to all candidates.”

When Mr Blaney was asked whether he would run as an independent candidate in another election, he said: “My family name is in politics 98 years this year.

“I come from a very strong republican [family], my grandfather is actually a founding member of this party. I’m very proud of this party, very proud of the people I represent.

“So I come here today not as Niall Blaney, but as the people I represent and their voice and their frustration.

“And yes, apologies if I sound frustrated today, but that is as it is. But one thing for sure – I’m a strong republican Fianna Fáil advocate.”

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