Kenny appeals for support in European elections

FINE GAEL leader Enda Kenny has appealed to the Irish electorate to vote for his party’s candidates in the European elections…

FINE GAEL leader Enda Kenny has appealed to the Irish electorate to vote for his party’s candidates in the European elections to ensure that Ireland had the strongest voice possible in the corridors of power in Brussels.

“Fine Gael has the best team and strongest voices offering to represent the country in Europe in the European Parliament elections on June 5th,” he said at the launch of his party’s campaign.

Mr Kenny pointed out that Fine Gael was a member of the European People’s Party (EPP), which is the largest group in the European Parliament.

“This type of access and influence is crucial as we get ready for the most important European elections ever for this country. With an enlarged European Union and a reduced number of Irish MEPs from 13 to 12 it is of key importance that Fine Gael and our MEPs have the type of access and influence in the corridors of power that no other party can match.”


He said that Fine Gael offered the country the best team and strongest voice possible in Europe at a time when Ireland needed all the support it could get to help get the economy back on track.

“With a strong and energetic campaign I am hopeful that Fine Gael can repeat its fantastic result of 2004 when we had five MEPs elected out of the 13 seats on offer. With our level of representation as a country reduced by one to 12, this would be another remarkable result for the party. I believe we have the right people to achieve that outcome.”

Mr Kenny also repeated his call on the Government to set a date for the Lisbon Treaty referendum in the autumn so as to remove the type of doubt that surrounded the ill-fated June vote last year.

“Europe has been vital to Ireland’s development as a respected and influential member of the international community. I want a reformed, effective, and democratic Europe to be a key driver of economic recovery and future prosperity.”

He said the EU must be given the tools to serve a population of 500 million people.

“That’s why Fine Gael has and will continue to support the reforms in the Lisbon Treaty and we will lead the campaign for its approval by the Irish people later in the year.”

All of the Fine Gael candidates said at the launch that the mood of the electorate was one of unprecedented anger at the Government for the way it had been running the country.

However, Dublin MEP Gay Mitchell cautioned against complacency. “I am a little worried. There is a danger of being like Munster yesterday and being over confident about the result in Dublin. It is the one constituency that has lost a seat so one of the sitting MEPs has to go and I have to make sure it is not me.”

North West candidate Jim Higgins said there were plenty of billboards for Declan Ganley in his constituency but there was little evidence of a campaign for him on the ground and he was confident the voters would send a positive message about Europe.

One of the candidates in the South, Seán Kelly, said it was lucky for the health of Irish democracy that Fine Gael was available as an alternative government.

Mr Kelly also defended his presence at a resent event to mark the political career of Independent TD Michael Lowry. He said that he had known Mr Lowry for a long time through his involvement in the GAA.

“The way I was brought up you don’t abandon a friend because he is in trouble,” said Mr Kelly.

The Fine Gael Euro Election candidates on June 5th are Gay Mitchell in Dublin; Colm Burke and Seán Kelly in the South; Mairéad McGuinness and John Paul Phelan in the East and Jim Higgins and Joe O’Reilly in the Northwest.