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The elections for the European Parliament will be held around member states between 6 - 9 June. Alamy Stock Photo
EU Decide

Who's running in the European elections? Here are the declared candidates so far

Here are the candidates running for a seat in the European parliament in June (so far).

AS WE INCH closer to the European elections in June, political parties are beginning to announce and confirm the candidates who will contest for a seat in the European Parliament.

Polling conducted by The Journal and Ireland Thinks shows national support for Sinn Féin is ahead of that for any of the three parties in Government and that voters hold strong views on issues impacted the EU Parliament.

The group of 13 Irish MEPs will turn to 14 after the summer elections.

So let’s take a look at who’s standing, and where, so far for the European elections which are set to take place across the bloc between 6 – 9 June.

The polling date for Ireland is yet to be officially confirmed but it’s expected it will be on Friday 7 June. 

Fianna Fáil

Both incumbent Fianna Fáil MEPs, Dublin‘s Barry Andrews and Ireland South‘s Billy Kelleher, have announced that they will be contesting again.

Andrews and Kelleher both outlined their priorities to The Journal in December as introducing stricter labour regulation to ban modern slavery and the adoption of the Pharmaceutical Strategy, respectively.

Newcomer Barry Cowen, who is a TD for the Laois-Offaly constituency, will be contesting on behalf of the party to regain the Ireland Midlands North-West seat, which it lost in the 2019 elections.

The party this month confirmed that Cowen had been formally selected as the candidate.

Fine Gael

Fine Gael are seeing an exodus of TDs in the Dáil, and there are also several exits from the European Parliament.

MEPs Frances Fitzgerald and Deirdre Clune announced last year that they will not be contesting the elections in June. Colm Markey also announced last month, the day before the official selections were due to take place, that he would not be contesting.

Last week, the party selected Senator Regina Doherty to represent the Dublin constituency in Fitzgerald’s place, after a highly competitive selection process between Doherty, Minister Josepha Madigan and fellow Senator Barry Ward.

Just two Fine Gael MEPs – Seán Kelly for Ireland South and Maria Walsh for Ireland Midlands North-West –  intend to run again.

Green Party

The Green Party were one of the first groups to confirm their candidates for the European elections. Incumbent MEPs Ciarán Cuffe for Dublin and Grace O’Sullivan for Ireland South will both be contesting for re-election.

Cuffe cited seeking a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and getting final approval of the Nature Restoration Law as his main priorities in the Parliament in December.

Green Party Senator Pauline O’Reilly was also selected by the party to contest for a seat in the Ireland Midlands North-West constituency.

Sinn Féin

Sinn Féin is yet to announce all of its candidates ahead of the election – but that hasn’t stopped party representatives letting their intentions be known.

This month, Carlow-Kilkenny TD Kathleen Funchion announced she will be seeking to be nominated by the party to represent Ireland South in June.

Funchion, who is the party’s children and equality spokesperson and chair of the Oireachtas’ integration committee, said she wanted to strengthen Ireland’s voice in the parliament and promote equality and regional development.

The party has previously nominated Senator Lynn Boylan and Councillor Daithí Doolan to contest the seat in the Dublin constituency.

It previously nominated Northern Irish MP Michelle Gildernew and current MEP Chris MacManus to contest the Ireland Midlands North-West constituency.

If selected, Funchion will join Senator Paul Gavan as a candidate contesting in Ireland South.

People Before Profit

Dublin TD Bríd Smith will contest for People Before Profit in the Dublin constituency in June.

The party, which currently holds no seats in the European parliament, announced last month that Dr Brian O’Boyle will run alongside the TD in the Midlands North-West constituency.

Party representative Cian Prendiville will represent the party in Ireland South.

All three candidates have long-running histories in activism and want to address issues such as the cost of living, wealth inequality and workers rights in the EU.

Labour

Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin will represent the party in the Dublin constituency in June. The former minister was elected by party delegates last month.

Ó Ríordáin said it is a “crucial time” in Europe and wants to provide a voice for Dublin in the Parliament as the European society and politics change.

This week the party announced that Limerick native Niamh Hourigan was nominated to contest in Ireland South. Hourigan is running on a ticket to promote a greener economy, pan-European affordable housing and the protection of Irish Neutrality.

The party have yet to announce the candidates in Ireland Midlands North-West.

Social Democrats

A spokesperson for the Social Democrats party said the group have yet to announce their candidates but confirmed that they will nominate representatives to compete in all three constituencies “in the coming weeks”.

Aontú

Yesterday, Aontú’s party leader Peadar Tóibín said he will be running for the European Parliament in Ireland Midlands North-West. The Meath TD added, however, that regardless of the outcome, he will also seek re-election at the next general election.

Patrick Murphy has also been selected by the party’s Ard Comhairle to contest for a set in Ireland South.

Independents

Incumbent Independent MEP Mick Wallace announced he intends to contest in Ireland South again in June. He did note some worries that his seat is at risk of a Sinn Féin surge when announcing his intentions in November.

Luke ‘Ming’ Flannagan, current MEP for Ireland Midlands North-West, has also confirmed he is seeking to be re-elected in June.

Former Minister Finian McGrath told The Journal this week that he will be contesting for a seat in the Dublin constituency. Announcing on X, McGrath said he will run on a platform on disability rights, health and housing. 

Current Independent MEP Clare Daly has yet to confirm if she will run.

Minority Parties

Right-wing party The Irish Freedom Party announced it will be contesting the elections. The party does not currently have any elected representatives at national, European or local level.

Party leader Hermann Kelly will contest in Ireland Midlands North-West, while members Michael Leahy and Diarmaid Ó Conaráin have been confirmed to contest in Ireland South and Dublin, respectively.

Announcing their intentions on X this week, the party said the public will get “a chance to vote against this Government’s agenda” by giving their candidates a first-preference vote in June.

Pan-European polling shows there will be a large shift to the right across the EU in the upcoming elections, with far-right, populist parties topping polls in at least nine member states.

Potential headache for Government

From the list above, some sitting TDs fancy their chances at contesting in the elections and moving from the plush seats of the Dáil to the blue and orange seats of the parliament buildings in Brussels and Strasbourg.

In a scenario where all, most or even some TDs are successful in their campaigns – it could lead to the Dáil’s parties losing some seats.

This is because of a Supreme Court ruling, brought in after proceedings were taken against the Government by current Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty, which state that a seat cannot go empty for more than six months.

With the first sitting of the European Parliament’s term set for 16 July, that means that all of these seats must either be filled on or before 16 January 2025. If they’re not the Government must instead call a general election. If the Dáil were to run to its full term, it would sit into spring of next year. 

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