*Billy Kelleher, Micheál Martin and Darragh O’Brien. 

SITTING MEP, Billy Kelleher (FF) has been selected as Fianna Fáil’s candidate in Ireland South for the European elections in June.

Kelleher is one of five outgoing MEPs in the constituency along with Mick Wallace (IND), Sean Kelly (FG), Deirdre Clune (FG) and Grace O’Sullivan (GP). Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary, Waterford, Carlow, Kilkenny, Laois, Offaly, Wexford and Wicklow are the counties included in Ireland South.

Clune announced in November that she informed Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (FG) she would not be seeking the party’s nomination for re-election. Former GAA President Kelly has confirmed he will be putting himself forward and revealed on Radio Kerry that he turned down the opportunity to run in the General Election where he had been promised the possibility of a ministerial post.

O’Sullivan was selected in September as one of three Green candidates for the European elections in constituencies across Ireland.

Mick Wallace has previously confirmed he will be putting himself forward to try retain his seat and admitted it will be a challenge.

Corofin based Michael Leahy (IFP) is the only Clare candidate in the field at present. He confirmed his candidacy to The Clare Echo in September. The European elections will be the first time that The Irish Freedom Party will field candidates in Ireland’s three constituencies.

Sinn Féin have selected Senator Paul Gavan (SF) as their candidate. The Limerick man who is based in Castleconnell has been a member of the Seanad since 2016 and has served as a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe for the past six years.

Ex Anti Austerity Alliance councillor, Cian Prendiville (PBP) has been chosen as the candidate for People Before Profit. He was elected to Limerick City and County Council in 2014 and stood down from politics in 2018 for “personal reasons”. In 2016, he came within 200 votes of unseating Jan O’Sullivan (LAB) in the General Election, off the back of leading the anti-water charges movement in Limerick.

On Sunday evening, Kelleher was chosen as Fianna Fáil’s candidate at a party selection convention at the Clayton Silver Springs Hotel in Cork which was attended by Tánaiste Micheál Martin (FF) and Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien (FF) who is the party’s Director of Elections.

“Ensuring the strongest possible voice for Ireland in the next European Parliament is an absolute necessity. We need Irish MEPs with the capacity to influence legislation in Ireland’s favour. Having done that for the past five years, by taking common sense, progressive positions, I am honoured to be selected to contest the upcoming election in Ireland South for Fianna Fáil. Europe matters to Ireland. Our nation’s prosperity is inextricably linked to the success of the EU. As an Irish MEP, I’ll always champion Ireland’s interests while holding true to our shared, common values of democracy, equality, free and fair markets and the Rule of Law,” Kelleher stated.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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