Race for the Aras: The Fine Gael Candidate?

History of Fine Gael
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So following on from my post “Race for the Aras” its time to look at the parties candidates for the Presidency elections. First up is Fine Gael.

Back in April the first candidate out of the block was current Ireland East MEP Mairead McGuinness announced her decision to seek Fine Gael’s nomination for the presidency.

Since then there as been many changes. Former Taoiseach John Bruton and Ireland South MEP have ruled themseleves out of the running.

Gay Mitchel, Ireland Dublin MEP has also announced his intention to run in a statement released by Fine Gael.

I have been giving serious consideration to the possibility of running for President. Yesterday I attended the funeral of Declan Costello whose political principles and approach to public service convinced me to join Fine Gael at the age of 16. Since then my political conviction is informed by a Christian Democratic ethos, based on four pillars: rights and responsibilities, enterprise and social justice.

I want to advance this ethos in public life and I see the Presidency as another way of doing so. My belief is that this ethos, if applied sensibly, will help equip Ireland to overcome some of our present economic and ethical difficulties and make us a country which others will want to emulate. I have decided to seek the Fine Gael nomination for the Presidency and an endorsement of these values.

Another name in the mix if former MEP and President of  the European Parliament  Pat Cox.  He has applied to join the St Lukes Branch in Cork North Central and the Party Exec will decide on his membership this evening. He is currently as seen as the outsider for the nomination despite having the backing of the leadership due to the procedure being used by Fine Gael to select their candidate this time out.

This year Fine Gael will be using an electoral college of three parts to select the candidate. The electoral college is made up of Local Councillors (20%), the Party Executive (10%) and the Parliamentary Party (70%). Only those who attend convention have a vote, so it will be a major numbers game.

The odds according to Paddy Power from the nomination are:

  • Gay Mitchell 1/2
  • Pat Cox 9/4
  • Mairead McGuinness 11/2

So if you had a vote in the Fine Gael Electoral College who would you vote for?

Europe Day Event – Bailieborough, Co. Cavan

Bailieborough
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I received information today about a Europe Day event that will take place in Bailieborough, Co. Cavan. It is hosted by Cllr Seán McKiernan Jnr and Senator Joe O’Reilly.

Monday 10th May – A Celebration of Europe Day

John Bruton, our former Taoiseach and former EU Ambassador to the USA, will speak on his experiences in America and his reflections on the future of Ireland and Europe.

Monday, 10th May, 8.30pm sharp
Venue: The Bailie Hotel, Bailieborough

ALL ARE VERY WELCOME!

Know of any other Europe Day Events? Let me know! Stephen(AT)stephenspilland(DOT)com

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Bruton For European Council President?

John Bruton For President?
John Bruton For President?

Young Fine Gael is trying to launch a grassroots campaign for John Bruton to be made President of the European Council. I received the following missive from HQ.

Dear Member,

As you may know former Taoiseach and Leader of Fine Gael John Bruton is seeking election as President of the European Council.

Let’s get behind him by using the internet to spread his campaign around Europe.

SIGN THE PETITION
Please sign and forward the petition link to all your contacts throughout the 27 member states of the EU http://www.petitiononline.com/Bruton/petition.html

SUPPORTER ON FACEBOOK
Please become a supporter on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/John-Bruton-for-EU-President/163560809402

CHANGE YOUR PROFILE PIC
For you hardcore supporters our there… Please use this pic as your profile pic on bebo and facebook www.yfg.ie/images/images/johnb.jpg

Now while a Facebook Page and Petition might get you some attention in the national media, I do not think it is going to make waves across Europe.

The thinking behind this is a little strange. Campaigns like this rarely work in Ireland, let alone across 27 countries. Would YFG not be better off asking its members to write to the Taoiseach and other EU leaders extolling the virtues of John Bruton? Would they not be better off sending us reason why we should back him? There are a few that I can think of, but why not inform the rest of us. That way we can try and convince our friends rather just blindly following due to fact he used to lead our party.

Why not tell us about all the things he has done since he stopped being a Fine Gael TD? Such as being the EU Ambassodor to the US?

This will also go nowhere due to the fact it is in one language. Why not translate the petition into German and French and maybe other EU languages and maybe also give information about Bruton in those languages so we can convince others.

I don’t think this will make much of a difference to his chances. I don’t think Angela Merkel or Nicolas Sarkozy are going to be looking on facebook for ideas of who to suggest for the poistion of President of the European Council.

The next Irish Commissioner

Pat Cox
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There was an article in last night’s Evening Echo (Not online) that basically suggested that it is a two horse race for the Irish Nomination to the new EU Commission in the Autumn. They are tipping Pat Cox or John Bruton to be the nominatee.

The rationale behind this is that they are both heavy hitters. Cox is a previous leader of the ALDE Group of the Parliament as well as being a former President of the European Parliament. Bruton is the current EU Ambassador to the US as well as being a former Taoiseach. If the Government nominate Cox or Bruton Ireland could nearly be assured of one of the big portfolios in the next commission.

In terms of outsiders to this, I can’t see the Government appointing a sitting TD as they really do not want to face into two by elections. Eoin Ryan features on the Paddy Power website as a possibility, as does Maire Geoghan Quinn.

I have a feeling though Cox will be the nominee especially as Fianna Fail is now in the ALDE and ALDE would like one of their own to be the Irish nominee not someone from the EPP family.

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