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The Euro elections aren't looking great for FF and a veteran ex-MEP says 'lessons weren't learned'

In the Midlands Northwest constituency, the two Fianna Fáil candidates could get just 9% of the vote between them.

Party leader Micheál Martin with candidates Billy Kelleher (yellow tie), Brendan Smith (front right),  Barry Andrews (back left), Anne Rabbitte (left front) and Malcolm Byrne (purple tie).
Party leader Micheál Martin with candidates Billy Kelleher (yellow tie), Brendan Smith (front right), Barry Andrews (back left), Anne Rabbitte (left front) and Malcolm Byrne (purple tie).
Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

A FIANNA FÁIL TD and former MEP has said the party failed to learn lessons from the last European elections in 2014 when he lost his seat. 

The RTÉ/TG4 poll indicates the party’s candidate Barry Andrews will be battling it out with Independents4Change’s Clare Daly and Sinn Féin’s Lynn Boylan for a seat. 

In the South constituency it looks like Billy Kelleher should win a seat and Malcolm Byrne is polling at 9%.

However in the Midlands North West constituency, where Pat The Cope Gallagher lost out on a seat in the 2014 election after two terms in the European Parliament, Fianna Fáil candidates Brendan Smith and Anne Rabbitte, could get just 9% of the vote between them.

Source: RTÉ/TG4

Smith, a sitting TD for Cavan-Monaghan, was somewhat overshadowed in debates by candidates from other parties, such as the Green Party’s Saoirse McHugh who could take one of the seats in his constituency. 

Earlier this month Rabbitte, who is TD for Galway East, claimed the party was favouring her running mate. 

“There’s an old guard who believe in a rite of passage,” she told The Irish Times. 

Speaking to the Donegal Democrat today, Pat The Cope Gallagher, who is a sitting TD and  said Leas-Cheann Comhairle of the Dáil, “lessons have not been learned” from the 2014 election when he lost his seat.

At the time he had said the strategy of running two candidates was wrong and today he said the party had made the same mistake again. 

Eoin O’Malley, associate professor in political science at DCU’s School of Law and Government told TheJournal.ie that Fianna Fáil’s performance in the Midlands North West constituency “seems to be shockingly bad”.

“In the European elections it certainly doesn’t look good,” he said.

He said that the party’s vote Midlands North West may more be a result of bad candidate selection.

“Fianna Fáil had the wrong candidates,” he said. “They probably should have tried out some younger candidates.”

He said that the party’s results in the local elections – where polls put them neck and neck with Fine Gael to take the most council seats – mean that the vote hasn’t collapsed in rural Ireland.

- With reporting by Cormac Fitzgerald.

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