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Barry Cowen (right) and Housing Minister Daragh O'Brien, Fianna Fáil's director of elections for the European elections in June. Fianna Fáil
European Elections 2024

Barry Cowen wins Fianna Fáil race to run for Europe in June

Cowen hopes to win back a seat his party lost 10 years ago.

Laois-Offaly TD Barry Cowen has won the Fianna Fáil selection race to stand as a candidate in the European Parliament elections in the newly expanded Midlands-North-West constituency.

Local members picked Cowen over Senators Lisa Chambers and Niall Blaney at a convention in Mullingar last night. Former TD and MEP Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher was also nominated for selection but later withdrew.

The Midlands-North-West constituency is being expanded at the next election to take in Cowen’s old stomping ground of Laois and Offaly, and gaining an extra seat to become a five-seater.

Fianna Fáil has had no MEP in the constituency since Gallagher lost his seat in 2014. Two Fine Gael MEPs, one Independent and one Sinn Féin candidate were elected at the last European elections in 2019.

It’s been reported that Fianna Fáil may still select a second candidate to run in the huge constituency, which stretches from Louth in the east to Galway and Mayo in the West and as far north as Donegal.

Cowen said he’s determined to take back a seat – and noted that June’s local and European elections could be followed by a general election as early as this autumn.

“In the coming weeks and months we will make a huge effort to take the seat,” Cowen said.

“It will be the precursor possibly for a general election in the autumn or next spring. It is imperative we create the sort of momentum that will allow us to be in a position to make an impact, to make a mark, locally, nationally and in Europe.”