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Fine Gael
EU Election

Deirdre Clune becomes second Fine Gael MEP to announce decision not to re-run

MEP for Ireland South Deirdre Clune will not run for the European Parliament again next year.

FINE GAEL MEP Deirdre Clune has become the party’s second MEP in as many weeks to declare that she does not plan to run in the next European election.

Clune, who was first elected to the European Parliament by the Ireland South constituency in 2014, has announced that she does not intend to run again in EU elections scheduled to take place next June.

She has said she plans to “revert to being a Fine Gael activist and supporting the next generation of public representatives”.

Party colleague Frances Fitzgerald, an MEP for the Dublin constituency since the 2019 election, similarly announced she would not run again for the European Parliament earlier this month. 

Clune and Fitzgerald are two of Fine Gael’s five politicians in Europe, alongside Seán Kelly, Colm Markey and Maria Walsh.

The party currently holds the largest proportion of Ireland’s 13 MEP seats but next year’s election may change the profile as an additional MEP seat is added and a review considers the boundaries of Ireland’s European constituencies.

The next EU elections are due to take place between 6 and 9 June 2024. Voting in Ireland will take place alongside local elections for city and county councils. 

In the meantime, MEPs will be trying to balance legislative work with campaigning in constituencies much larger than those in general or local elections, which is known to typically cause some inertia to fall over the European Parliament in the weeks and months ahead of an election. 

In a statement this afternoon, Clune said that she informed Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar earlier this month that she would not seek a nomination from the party to contest the European election next June.

“Taking the decision to step away from public office was not an easy one. Ever since I first walked through the doors of Dáil Éireann 27 years ago, I have striven to serve my constituents with determined resolve,” Clune said.

“Politics is demanding. It requires much sacrifice, not least from close family members. There is absolutely no doubt that without the support of my family, I would not have had the privilege to serve in public office,” she said.

“For the past nine and a half years, I have represented the people of Ireland South in the European Parliament. Working in Brussels and Strasbourg, I have seen first-hand how Europe has played a defining role in Ireland’s emergence as a modern, open society and economy.

Ireland’s EU journey has been nothing less than transformational. Europe has given us reach and influence in the world. It has facilitated our peace process. It has delivered on equality, opportunity and freedom.

“For the remainder of this parliamentary term, I intend to continue my work, serving the people of Ireland South in Europe. I am looking forward to the next chapter of my political life where I will revert to being a Fine Gael activist and supporting the next generation of public representatives who will serve you.”

In a statement, Varadkar said he was “sorry to hear from Deirdre that she has decided not to contest next June’s European Elections”.

“Her distinguished career of more than 26 years speaks for itself as she has served her constituents proudly and admirably in the European Parliament, Dáil, Seanad and as Lord Mayor of Cork and a city councillor,” he said.

“Not many politicians have achieved this feat of being elected to almost every possible chamber at local, national and international level by the electorate.

“In Europe, Deirdre has been at the forefront of consumer protection and the rights of cancer survivors. Deirdre was recently appointed as the European Parliament’s lead negotiator for Customs Reforms which will be the most ambitious and comprehensive reforms of the EU Customs Union since its establishment in 1968. I know Deirdre will continue to work diligently in Europe for her constituents.”

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