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Niall Blaney, right, is running for a seat in the European Parliament in the Midlands Northwest constituency Brian Lawless/PA
Niall Blamey

Fianna Brawl: 'Not in public' hisses Martin as candidate criticises party at manifesto launch

The Tánaiste said he would “not have a public discussion on the logistics of the campaign at a press conference”.

LAST UPDATE | 6 mins ago

A ROW ERUPTED during a press conference at Fianna Fáil’s European election manifesto launch today between party leader Micheál Martin and candidate Niall Blaney. 

Blaney, who is running for a seat in Midlands North West alongside fellow Fianna Fáil members Lisa Chambers and Barry Cowen, accused the party of not offering him the same support as Chambers and Cowen.

At the launch, Blaney and Chambers were asked whether they felt supported by their party. 

Chambers responded: “I don’t just feel supported, I am supported”. 

Blaney however, told reporters: “Unfortunately, I’m not getting the same support as other candidates are getting in this campaign. And that’s a problem for me. It has been for weeks.”

Blaney, who is currently a senator, said he is the only Fianna Fáil candidate who hasn’t been given the opportunity to appear on national television yet. 

“That’s not just about me, that’s about the people I represent,” he said. 

Blaney said all candidates need equal support. 

“If the Tánaiste goes for a canvass he goes on a canvass with all three, and if he goes to do videos with one candidate, he has to do videos with all three.

“I’m asking for equal opportunity and equal support,” Blaney said. 

 In response, the Tánaiste said: “Well first of all, I canvassed with Niall. The only person yet I think I haven’t canvassed with yet is Lisa.”

When Blaney responded to say there were two other candidates out on the canvass with him as well, the Tánaiste said “all the European candidates are with local election candidates”.

Cynthia Ní Mhurchú, a Fianna Fáil MEP candidate for Ireland South, interjected to say: “Correct, I canvassed with you with other local candidates.”

The Tánaiste then said: “We will deal with how the campaign gets conducted after the press conference, I’m not going to have a public discussion on the logistics of the campaign at a press conference”.

He added: “There’s huge support going to all candidates from the party. There is significant support going to all candidates.”

When Blaney was asked whether he would run as an Independent candidate in another election, he said: “My family name is in politics 98 years this year.

“I come from a very strong republican [family], my grandfather is actually a founding member of this party. I’m very proud of this party, very proud of the people I represent.

“So I come here today not as Niall Blaney, but as the people I represent and their voice and their frustration.

“And yes, apologies if I sound frustrated today, but that is as it is. But one thing for sure – I’m a strong republican Fianna Fáil advocate.”

Contains reporting from Gráinne Ní Aodha, Press Association

This work is co-funded by Journal Media and a grant programme from the European Parliament. Any opinions or conclusions expressed in this work are the author’s own. The European Parliament has no involvement in nor responsibility for the editorial content published by the project. For more information, see here.


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