THE DECISION ON how Ireland’s European electoral boundaries will be re-drawn isn’t expected until later this month, but Sinn Féin is pre-empting that announcement by choosing candidates for next May’s EU Parliament vote.
The party has already selected sitting MEP Martina Anderson in Northern Ireland or the ‘six counties’ and councillor Matt Carthy, who is spokesperson for its Seanad abolition campaign, in the presumptive North West and North Leinster constituency.
And this Saturday a convention is being held in Cahir in Tipperary to choose the southern hopeful: Councillor Chris O’Leary will compete with national Gaeilge officer Liadh Ní Riada to represent the party in the region (Kerry, Cork, Limerick, Tipperary, Laois, Waterford, Carlow, Kilkenny, Wicklow and Wexford).
Ireland is to lose an MEP next year as a result of Croatia’s accession to the European Union, and a number of options for the re-drawing of electoral boundaries are currently being considered by the Constituency Commission. Several of those options include proposals to merge parts of the current East constituency with the North West.
Sinn Féín currently has just one sitting MEP in Europe — the Derry-based Anderson. Mary Lou McDonald lost her seat in the last election in 2009 after the number of seats in Dublin was reduced from four to three.
The party is still to select its candidate for the Dublin region.
The Constituency Commission is due to deliver its decision on the new boundaries at the end of the month. The European Parliament elections will be held between 22 and 25 May 2014.