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Here's who could run for Fine Gael in Ireland South now John Bryan has ruled himself out

The former IFA president’s surprise decision not to seek the Fine Gael nomination leaves the party examining other options.

Government chief whip and Wexford TD Paul Kehoe
Government chief whip and Wexford TD Paul Kehoe
Image: Photocall Ireland

FORMER IFA PRESIDENT John Bryan’s surprise decision not to seek the Fine Gael nomination to run in Ireland South in May’s European elections has left the party looking for a third candidate to run in the vastly-expanded constituency.

Government chief whip Paul Kehoe, Carlow Kilkenny TD John-Paul Phelan, and Wicklow deputies Andrew Doyle and Simon Harris are all possible candidates with nominations closing on Wednesday ahead of next weekend’s selection convention.

Bryan has confirmed he will not seek the party’s nomination despite being widely expected to do so. Indeed he told TheJournal.ie a month ago: “I believe I have a huge amount of experience to offer the role – skills that are second to none to some people.”

imageJohn-Paul Phelan (left) Pic: Photocall Ireland

According to today’s Irish Times, Bryan has ruled out running for a number of reasons, including the fact the party is running three candidates with Seán Kelly seeking to retain his seat while senator Deirdre Clune, a former Cork South-Central TD, will look to capitalise on the significant voter pool in the country’s largest county.

With the reduction in the number of Irish MEPs from 12 to 11, the constituency redraw has seen Ireland South take in Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford and Wicklow in Leinster, as well as all of Munster.

Ireland South stretches from Bray to Ballinaskelligs in Kerry, a total of 474 kilometres. By contrast the Dublin constituency, from Balbriggan to Bray, is less than 50 kilometres.

TheJournal.ie has learned that Kehoe and Phelan are considering running having both ruled themselves out when it appeared Bryan would be running.

imageAndrew Doyle, who chairs the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee, could also be in the running. Pic: Photocall Ireland

Harris is also considering putting his name forward having previously indicated his interest in running.

Bryan’s surprise decision is likely to leave Fine Gael headquarters scrambling to find a suitable candidate to put forward with the party favouring a three-seat candidate strategy in the constituency.

Fine Gael will select its candidates for the even larger Midlands North West constituency in Athlone tomorrow afternoon with incumbent MEPs Mairead McGuinness and Jim Higgins set to secure their party’s nominations.

In that same constituency, Labour senator Lorraine Higgins has confirmed her intention to seek the junior coalition party’s nomination to run for the European Parliament:

image

Last month: Outgoing IFA president says he has the skills for MEP job

Read: ‘I’m not confident, but I am hopeful’: New boundaries create new challenges for FG’s MEPs

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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