We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Photocall Ireland
Race for the Áras

Cox applies to join FG - while Niall O'Dowd "has the numbers" for presidential bid

Pat Cox has applied to become a member of the St Luke’s branch of Fine Gael, in his local Cork North Central area.

FORMER MUNSTER MEP Pat Cox has announced he has applied for membership for Fine Gael, all but confirming his intention to seek the party’s nomination for the Presidential election this October.

In a statement supplied to RTÉ News, Cox said he had written to the St Luke’s branch of the party, in his local constituency of Cork North Central, applying for membership.

He has also written to the party’s executive council seeking its specific approval for his membership, he said, saying he would issue no further comment until the application had been considered.

Cox, a former Progressive Democrat MEP who later served as President of the European Parliament, had been widely tipped to win the Fine Gael nomination – but was likely to face difficulties given he had never been a member of the party.

Indeed, Cox was originally a member of Fianna Fáil – having unsuccessfully contested local elections for Fianna Fáil – before he left to join the PDs in the mid-1980s. In 2009 he campaigned for unsuccessful Fianna Fáil candidate Eoin Ryan.

The confirmation comes a day after current Dublin MEP Gay Mitchell confirmed he was also considering seeking Fine Gael’s nomination. Meath-based MEP Mairéad McGuinness is also seeking the party’s nod.

Journalist Niall O’Dowd, has also confirmed he is considering campaigning for a nomination – having been encouraged to do so by the Irish-American community.

He told RTÉ’s News at One that he would prefer to seek the nomination of 20 members of the Oireachtas rather than going down the local authority route – indicating that “the numbers were there” among some parliamentary parties to secure his nomination.

His presidency would be about building networks, he said – something he had been doing in the United States as a journalist for decades. “I will be the best travelling salesperson Ireland ever had,” he said.

O’Dowd, the publisher of the Irish Voice newspaper and a columnist with the Irish Daily Star, said he would confirm his candidacy once he could confirm that he had the support within the Oireachtas to become a formal candidate.

Sinn Féin has already indicated it will not be running an official party candidate, while Fianna Fáil has yet to decide on whether to supply one.

Read all of’s coverage of the Race for the Áras >

Poll: Who would get your vote as next President of Ireland? >

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.