Supporting Opinion

Massive field turns Euro election into bumper race

World of Politics with Harry McGee

In the 2014 election for the Midland North West constituency there were 14 candidates vying for four seats. In 2019, there were an extra three candidates, bringing the total to 17.

Since then, an extra seat has been added to the constituency – and we’re a total of 27 candidates – crazy; with so many, it’s going to be more like a bumper race.

It’s a real dolly mixture, too; established names, no-hopers, extremists, eccentrics, famous people and people who think they are famous but are primarily legends in their own lunchtimes.

The poll topper from 2019, Mairéad McGuinness is gone. Her replacement, Colm Markey, bowed out in the end. Like many substitute MEPs, he just did not have the profile to win a seat on his own account.

The same could be said for Chris McManus, the Sligo man who replaced Matt Carthy for the sole Sinn Féin seat. That said, Sinn Féin candidates can be buoyed more by the brand than other candidates.

They will get a seat for sure, but will that go to the more high-profile Michele Gildernew. The party will be in the hunt for a second seat but it’s hard to see it pulling it off.

There are two well-known journalists in the field – former RTÉ Midlands Correspondent Ciarán Mullooly running for the Independence Ireland party and John Waters, running as an Independent. I don’t see either of them in the final shake up.

Looking through the list of candidates will leave you in no doubt about one of the big themes or issues of the election – immigration. Eleven of the candidates would major on the immigration issue, even though there are big variances between them.

On the extreme side, you have Justin Barrett of the new Clann Eireann, a straight-up racist and xenophobic party. Then there is his erstwhile deputy (but now bitter enemy) James Reynolds, running for the National Party. Hermann Kelly, the leader of the Irish Freedom Party, is also standing in this constituency. None of these three right-wingers will get more than low single digit votes.

Pictured: Pink ladies…Maria Walsh MEP, Nina Carberry,  and Senator Regina Doherty at the recent Fine Gael Ard Fheis in University of Galway. Photo: Andrew Downes, Xposure.

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