The Irish in Strasbourg

EU-ParliamentIts been a busy two days so far during this plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Following the re-election of Martin Schulz (DE, S&D) as President of the European Parliament the focus turned to the election of the 14 Vice Presidents of the Parliament.

The Vice Presidents make up the Bureau of the Parliament, along with the President and Quaestors of the Parliament. They also chair sessions of the Parliament when the President is not present.

Of the 14 Elected Irish MEP Mairead McGuinness (EPP, FG) was elected on the first count along with five of her colleagues from the European People’s Party. McGuinness actually had the 2nd highest number of votes with 441 votes only being beaten by her Italian EPP Colleague Antonia Tajani (452 votes).

Tomorrow the focus turns to the committees where much of the work of MEPs take place and much horse trading and bartering goes on. The size of the committees where set yesterday for the 20 committees and Irish MEPs will sit on 9 of those. The committee with the highest number of Irish MEPs is of course agriculture with three MEPs on it followed by Environment committee on which two Irish MEPs will sit.

  • Budgets (BUDG): Liadh Ni Riada (GUE/NGL, SF)
  • Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON): Brian Hayes (EPP, FG)
  • Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL): Marian Harkin (ALDE, IND)
  • Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI): Lynn Boylan (GUE/NGL, SF), Nessa Childers (S&D, IND)
  • Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE): Sean Kelly (EPP, FG)
  • Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO): Brian Crowley (ECR, IND/FF)
  • Transport and Tourism (TRAN): Deirdre Clune (EPP, FG)
  • Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI): Mairead McGuinness (EPP, FG), Matt Carthy (GUE/NGL, SF), Luke “Ming” Flanagan (GUE/NGL, IND)
  • Fisheries (PECH): Liadh Ni Riada (GUE/NGL, SF).

No Irish MEPs sit on Foreign Affairs, Development, International Trade, Budgetary Control, Regional Development, Culture and Education, Legal Affairs, Civil Liberties Justice and Home Affairs, Constitutional Affairs, Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, or Petitions. How ever they may be appointed as supplementary members of those committees at a later point.

For reference here is the list of which Committees Irish MEPs were members of in the last parliament.

European Elections 2014: Ireland South

European-Elections-2014I recently posted about those seeking election to Cork City Council, I am now turning to the European Elections and looking at who is running the European Elections. First up is Ireland South with its 4 seats. 15 candidates are standing and are canvassing across the counties of Carlow, Clare, Cork, Kerry, Kilkenny, Limerick, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow for your vote over the last 9 days before the polls open on May 23rd.

The Candidates

Candidates listed by order of appearance on Ballot Paper with links to Social Media Profiles. * denotes current MEP

Richard Cahill, Non- Party

Richard is the only candidate from County Clare running in this election. He has decided not to have any posters. He is from Sixmilebridge and is a volunteer community worker. You can see his Youtube video here.

Deirdre Clune, Fine Gael

Deirdre is one of 3 Fine Gael candidates in Ireland South. She is from Cork and formerly represented Cork South Central in the Dáil. She is a former Lord Mayor of Cork and is currently a Senator where she is Spokesperson on Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation. She can be found on Youtube, Twitter and Facebook

Brian Crowley*, Fianna Fail

Brian Crowley is another Cork candidate hailing from Bandon. He has represented this are in the European Parliament since 1994 making him one of Ireland’s longest serving current MEP’s. He has topped the polls in the past and will more then likely do so again. He can be found on Facebook

Jillian Godsil, Non-Party

Jillian Godsil was in the papers long before she was a candidate. She forced the Government to change the law to allow bankrupts to run in the European Elections. She is a writer by profession and comes from Arklow in Co. Wicklow. Her tagline is “writing my way out of trouble”. She is also running for Wicklow County Council. She can be found on Twitter

Simon Harris, Fine Gael

Simon is currently the youngest TD in Dáil Eireann. He is from Greystones in County Wicklow. He is secretary of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party and a member of the Public Accounts Committee. He was previously a member of Wicklow County Council and Greystones Town Council. He can be found on Youtube, Facebook and Twitter

Kieran Hartley, Fianna Fail

Kieran Hartley is the second Fianna Fail Candidiate in Ireland South. Coming from Kilmacthomas in County Waterford. This is first time running for Elections and is self-employed. He can be found on Facebook.

Theresa Heaney, Catholic Democrats (The National Party)

Theresa Heaney is a Housewife from Timoleague County Cork. She has previously ran for the Dáil in Cork South West in 1997 for the National Party getting 5.12% of the vote and in 2002 as in independent polling 1.98%. She is the Chairman of the Mothers Alliance Ireland.

Sean Kelly*, Fine Gael

The 3rd Fine Gael candidate and current MEP. First elected to the European Parliament in 2009. A former GAA President from Killarney, County Kerry, he has been nominated and won MEP of the year from his peers in the European Parliament. He can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Liadh Ní Riada, Sinn Fein

Liahh Ní Riada, daughter of the late Musician Sean Ó’Riada, hails from Baile Mhic Ire in County Cork. She is the Irish Language Officer of Sinn Fein. She previously worked with RTÉ and TG4 as a Director and Producer. She can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Diarmuid O’Flynn, Non-Party

Diarmuid O’Flynn is a sports journalist from Ballyhea in County Cork. He currently writes for the Irish Examiner. He is known for starting the “Ballyhea says no” protests. He can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Peter O’Loughlin, Non- Party

While Peter O’Loughlin is registered as Non-Party is the sole candidate of the National Independent Party who advocate Irish withdrawal from the European Union and were formed early in 2014.

Dónal Ó’Ríordáin, Fís Nua

Dónal Ó’Ríordáin is an engineer from Bandon and this is his first election. This is also Fís Nua’s first European elections. He can be found on Facebook.

Grace O’Sullivan, Green Party

Grace O’Sullivan is from Waterford and is an ecologist. She has been an activist for many years with Greenpeace. She is a former Irish Surf Champion. This is also her first time contesting an election. She can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Phil Prendergast*, Labour

Phil took over this seat following Alan Kelly’s election to Dáil Eireann. She comes from Clonmel in County Tipperary making her the only Tipperary candidate in this election. She is a midwife by training and previously served on Clonmel Borough Council and South Tipperary County Council as an independent. She can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Jan Van De Ven, Direct Democracy Ireland

Jan Van De Ven is an entrepreneur from Avoca County Wicklow. He is the Chairman and Leader of Direct Democracy Ireland. He plans to use eDemocracy to bring decision making back to the people. He can be found on Facebook and Twitter 

Prediction

FF’s Brian Crowley is sure to top the poll and will more the likely be elected on the first count. Fine Gael’s Sean Kelly and Sinn Fein’s will get the 2nd and 3rd seats not sure in what order. Leaving Labour’s Phil Prendergast and Fine Gael’s Deirdre Clune the front runners for the last seat. If I were a betting man, I would but my money on Clune. I cannot see any of the independent or other party candidates getting anywhere close to quota.

The Replacements

As there are no Bye-Elections to the European Parliament following the resignation or death of an MEP there replacement is chosen from the list submitted by parties and candidates at the time of the election. Here are the replacement lists for Ireland South.

REPLACEMENT LIST R.C. (Presented by Richard Cahill)

  1. CAHILL, MARELEN, Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare.

REPLACEMENT LIST F.G. (Presented by Fine Gael)

  1. KELLY, SEÁN, Gortroe, Killarney, Co. Kerry.
  2. CLUNE, DEIRDRE, 144, Blackrock Road, Cork.
  3. HARRIS, SIMON, 79, Redford Park, Greystones, Co. Wicklow.
  4. D’ARCY, MICHAEL, Annagh, Inch, Gorey, Co. Wexford.
  5. BURKE, COLM, 36, Farranlea Grove, Cork.
  6. O’HALLORAN, EMMET, 42 Mercier Park, Cork.

REPLACEMENT LIST F.F. (Presented by Fianna Fáil)

  1. CROWLEY, BRIAN, Maryborough Lodge, Douglas, Cork.
  2. HARTLEY, KIERAN, Ballyboy, Kilmacthomas, Co. Waterford.
  3. O’HIGGINS, ADRIAN, Shellumsrath, Callan Road, Kilkenny.
  4. O’SULLIVAN, NED, Cahirdown, Listowel, Co. Kerry.
  5. DALY, MARK, 34, Henry Street, Kenmare, Co. Kerry.
  6. AMBROSE, SIOBHAN, Dún Mhuire, Melview, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary.

REPLACEMENT LIST C.D. (Presented by Catholic Democrats(The National Party).

  1. BENNIS, NORA, 16, Revington Pk, Limerick.
  2. CAREY, MARGARET, Horse & Jockey, Thurles.
  3. MAHON, ELIZABETH, Rathmines, Dublin 6.

REPLACEMENT LIST S.F. (Presented by Sinn Féin)

  1. GOULD, THOMAS, 121, Cathedral Road, Cork.
  2. O’LEARY CHRIS, 17, Loughmahon Road, Mahon, Cork.
  3. FUNCHION, KATHLEEN , 28, Whites Castle, Knocktopher, Kilkenny.

REPLACEMENT LIST D.O.F. (Presented by Diarmuid Patrick O’Flynn)

  1. FITZPATRICK, FIONA, Pike Farm, Charleville.
  2. MOLONEY, PATRICK, Broghill, Charleville.
  3. RYAN, PHILLIP, Shinanagh, Ballyhea.

REPLACEMENT LIST F.N. (Presented by Fís Nua)

  1. NUTTY, BEN, 34, Sweetbriar Terrace, Lower Newtown, Waterford.

REPLACEMENT LIST G.P. (Presented by Green Party/ Comhaontas Glas)

  1. NOONAN, MALCOLM, 35, Fr. Murphy Square, Kilkenny, Co. Kilkenny.
  2. MANNING, CORMAC, 36, The Meadows, Classes Lake, Ballincollig, Co. Cork.
  3. RYDER, MARY, 17, O’Connell Avenue, Turners Cross, Cork.

REPLACEMENT LIST L.P. (Presented by The Labour Party)

  1. WALSH, DECLAN, Oldenburg, Lower Road, Cobh, Co. Cork.
  2. KANE, ADRIAN, 42 Idaville, Old Blackrock Road, Cork.
  3. SHORTT, CLLR. TOM, Walnut House, Browns Quay, Thomondgate, Limerick.
  4. Ó HÁRGAIN, CLLR. SEÁN, Sceilig, Green Hill, Kilkenny.

REPLACEMENT LIST D.D.I. (Presented by Direct Democracy Ireland).

  1. BURKE, LOUISE, Ballygahan Lower, Avoca, Co. Wicklow.
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The Race for the Aras

Presidential flag of Ireland.
Image via Wikipedia

This year sees one of the most hotly contested Presidential elections in years. With candidates declaring from all parties and none, it will be interesting to see who actually makes it on to the ballot paper. It is notoriously difficult to get a nomination as Dana found out in 2004 when she attempted to run against the current President Mary McAleese. To be nominated candidates need 20 Oireachtas members to nominate them or 4 city or county councils.

The Party Candidates:

Fine Gael and Labour have a number of candidates who have expressed interest in being their parties candidate in the Presidential election. Within Fianna Fail no one has expressed an interest yet and Sinn Fein have abandoned their plans have holding the presidency during the 1916 centenary.

For Fine Gael, Mairead McGuinness MEP is the only declared candidate while Sean Kelly MEP is widely known to have an interest in a run. With the withdrawal of John Bruton, my money would be on McGuinness being the Fine Gael candidate. This year Fine Gael will use an electoral college system to select their candidate with votes being distributed between the Parliamentary Party, Local Councillors and the Party Executive. Only those who turn up on the day of the Electoral College will have a vote, so location could play a major factor. Pat Cox has also been linked with a possible backing from Fine Gael, but I can’t see him getting widespread backing,

For Labour 3 names have emerged in the fight for their nomination. Former TD Michael D Higgins, former Chef De Cabinet and current Barnardos Chief Fergus Finlay and Former Senator Kathleen O’Meara. Michael D would traditionally have been the favourite among the Parliamentary Party but with the expanded party and many of Micheal D’s supporters having stood down at the last election, he may find it difficult. Kathleen O’Meara is a name that isnt well known, so I have doubts that Labour would pick her as their candidate. As childrens rights is major issue at the moment, and a referendum on it coming up, Fergus Finlay is in a prime poistion to get the nomination.

For Fianna Fail no one has official announced for the election. Current Ireland South MEP Brian Crowley has in the past been linked with the Presidency and he himself has said he is interested. A name mentioned in the past has also been Bertie Ahern, but I think that has been discounted as an idea for now. A number of Independents have also been linked to possible Fianna Fail backing, with maybe a number of Fianna Fail TD’s nominating along with Independent Oireachtas members to show they arent a Fianna Fail candidate.

The Independents

A number of independents have declared their interest in running. Senator David Norris of course is the most widely known candidate and has the backing of one council so far (As nominations aren’t open he hasn’t been nominated). He has also ran into a bit of trouble in relation to an interview he did back in 2002 for Magill has now emerged and could cause him damage.

Mary Davies the Special Olympics Organiser and Managing Director for EurAsia has also declared hher interest in running. She would be quite well known from her current role and could do well if she can get a nomination. She has been linked with a Fianna Fail in the past in realtion to being their candidate, but has decided to go the Independent root.

Sean Gallagher from Dragon’s Den has also decarled his interest in running for the Aras. Having been linked to Fianna Fail in the past and been mooted as a possible candidate in Louth. I think he has realised that running as a candidate with Fianna Fail backing would be a death knell at this point.

Pat Cox, who hasn’t offically announced, is sending out feelers to the possibility of a run. He has been linked with possible FG backing. He is a former PD/Independent MEP and is a former President of the European Parliament. He ran the Ireland for Europe Campaign during Lisbon II along with Brigid Laffin and recently advised Fine Gael in the run up to the election.

Who ever gets the nominations this will be a very interesting race. Candidates vary in their ability and their appeal, so I think we can expect a very interesting few weeks in October/November.

List: Irish MEPs and their Committees

If your like me, you will want to know what committees in the European Parliament the Irish MEPs have been assigned to. I have gleaned this information off the europarl website and some of ye might find it interesting.

Committee on Development

  • Gay Mitchell (FG/EPP – Dublin)

Committee on International Trade

  • Joe Higgins (SOC/GUE-NGL – Dublin)

Committee on Employment and Social Affairs

  • Proinsias De Rossa (Lab/S&D – Dublin)
  • Marian Harkin (Ind/ALDE – North West)

Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

  • Nessa Childers (Lab/S&D – East)

Committee on Industry, Research and Energy:

  • Brian Crowley (FF/ALDE – South)

Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection

  • Alan Kelly (Lab/S&D – South)

Committee on Transport and Tourism

  • Jim Higgins (FG/EPP – North West)

Committee on Regional Development

  • Sean Kelly (FG/EPP – South)

Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development

  • Mairead McGuinness (FG/EPP – East)
  • Liam Aylward (FF/ALDE – East)

Committee on Fisheries

  • Pat “The Cope” Gallagher (FF/ALDE – North West)

Committee on Petitions

  • Mairead McGuinness (FG/EPP – East)

A boring list, but usefull information.

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The Next Election

Irish President Mary McAleese's entourage
Image via Wikipedia

The next nationw-wide election we are due to have in Ireland is (barring a sudden General Election) is a Presidential Election. This is due at the latest October 2010 2011, but I have a feeling President Mary McAlees will finish out her term. To run for President you need to be a citizen of the states, over 35 and nominated in one of the following ways:

  • by 20 members of the Oireachtas
  • by four county or city councils
  • or if an incumbent or former president if you served one term, you can nominate yourself

Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, and Labour can each nominate on members of Oireachtas alone. There is a possibility of a Green/Ind candidate as they would have 21 members if they all backed one candidate.

Of course we hear many rumours about who will run and that, but here are what I have heard and a few predictions

Fianna Fail

There is no secret here that at Senator Mary White and MEP Brian Crowley both want the nomination. There is always talk of former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern running but I don’t see him getting many votes outside of Dublin. I think Crowley will be the Fianna Fail Nominee.

Fine Gael

In contrast to Fianna Fail, the Fine Gael crowd dont seem to want to rock the boat. The names I have heard mentioned are Avril Doyle, Mairead McGuinness and Sean Kelly. All current or former MEP’s. I am not sure who the nominee could be. I’m thinking it could be Kelly vs McGuinness for the nomination.

Labour Party

Micheal D Higgins name normally features in these discussions, but age this time could work against him. Ruairi Quinn, who didnt get elected as Ceann Comhairle, could try and run for the presidency instead. Ivana Bacik also could be the nominee hoping to follow in Mary Robinsons footsteps. Of course Labour could try and get someone from the SDLP in the Noth to run, like Bríd Rogers. I’m putting my money on Bacik though.

Sinn Fein

As this term of office will include the centenary of 1916, Sinn Fein would love to hold the highest office in land. Gerry Adams, Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle Gildernew have all been mentioned as possible candidates. As there is a bit of rift in the party between North and South at the moment, the South might prefer to have Mary Lou as the nominee.

Green Party

Eamon Ryan wanted to run last time round, will he try to run again? Can’t really think of anyone else from the Green ranks.

Independents

Dana Rosemary Scanlon could try and run again for the Presidency. I wouldn’t put it past Kathy Sinnott to give it a run. David Norris probably wont run, but it would be great if he did. Mary Robinson could of course run again as she only served one term.

2010 2011 will be an interesting election. I wonder will I have gotten many right?

In the betting stakes according to Paddy Power, Bertie Ahern is favourite to be the Next Irish President at 2/1, he is followed by Brian Crowley at 4/1. Check out the rest!

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Tomorrow, Please Vote Fine Gael number 1.

The upcoming elections give the people of Ireland a chance to say enough is enough. Enough of this Government that wasted the boom, enough of Government that has not delivered, enough of a Government that is ensuring Ireland is one of the last European countries to recover from this Global Recession. As a young unemployed person, I want to see Fianna Fáil out as quickly as possible.

A vote for Fine Gael tomorrow, is only the only the start in getting Fianna Fáil out. To hit Fianna Fáil you need to hit them where it hurts, at the ballot box. That is where Fianna Fáil get there power, from control of local authorities and appointments made through them. June 5th is the starting place.

A vote for Fine Gael will help ensure that Fianna Fáil will not be in the next Government. Labour, if the maths are right, they will go into power with Fianna Fáil like they have done in the past.

Fine Gael is committed to improving Ireland. It is committed to getting people back to work. It is committed to getting rid of waste in the civil service and especially the health service, so that it is efficient and serves the people it is there for.

In the last 12 months the Governments have had two major opportunities to bring the public finances into order and on both occasions missed opportunities to bring about much needed change. But these elections will not change that straight away. We have to wait for a General Election for that.

A vote for Senator Paschal Donohoe in Dublin Central and George Lee in Dublin South will bring the possibility of a General Election closer then you think. Senator Donohoe has shown that is committed to Dublin Central though his work inside and outside the Oireachtas. He has worked hard and will continue to work hard in the Dáil for Dublin Central and Ireland. George Lee brings a wealth of economic experience to Fine Gael and to the Dáil if elected in Dublin South. George consistently warned about the way our economy was headed during the boom years by paying attention to what outside reports were saying, unlike the Government.

Fine Gael has represented Ireland well in the European Parliament. As the largest Irish Party, it has represented us in the European Peoples Party – European Democrats (EPP-ED) grouping in the Parliament. Fine Gael has used its position in the group to ensure Ireland’s position. The five Irish MEP’s are held in high regard both within the Grouping and across the Parliament. Gay Mitchell in Dublin, Mairead McGuinneas and John Paul Phelan in East, Jim Higgins and Joe O’Reilly in North-West and Colm Burke and Sean Kelly in South represent a mix of youth and experience from both within politics and in outside bodies. They are committed to representing us to ensure they get the best for Ireland.

The local elections see a large number of young candidates running for election. From Simon Harris in Greystones to Sinead Shepard in Cobh and many more across the country Fine Gael have encouraged young people to stand up and take part in their communities and play a positive role. This is an opportunity that should be open to all, but Fine Gael actually live up to rhetoric and actually support young people and helps them to make changes in their locality.

Fine Gael is committed to ensuring there is something to leave our younger generations. To encourage them to pick up the mantel, to help in getting Fianna Fáil out of power to ensure there is a bright future ahead.

Tomorrow you can help start that change! Vote Fine Gael

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Th!nk09: People don’t know what MEP’s do

Blue Eiffel Tower

On Monday after the Fine Gael Ard Fheis, UCC Young Fine Gael had a walk about in Cork City for Sean Kelly, a Fine Gael candidate in Ireland South. One member of the public asked to meet Sean Kelly, he was introduced. What was his question? Go on take a guess.

Can you get me a house?

Yes, in typical Irish fashion, his question was on the housing lists which plague this country. This is something so sitting or prospective MEP can do anything about as it has nothing to do with them. Sean Kelly tried to explain this in vain, but I think he failed.

This shows yet again the EU, national parties and the European Parliament has failed to let ordinary people know what it is responsible for. Time and time again during the Lisbon Treaty referendum debate I spent my time explaining what the European Parliament does and doesnt do, on my blog, in chat rooms and on the canvass. Some times i get through and sometimes I don’t. But as soon someone said at the weekend “If you have to explain, you’ve lost” (or something to that effect)

There needs to be a more co-ordinated effort to get the basic information about the EP across, otherwise European isssues will never be a factor in European Elections, and that is Europe’s failure.

This is also posted on the thinkaboutit.eu website, please read and rate it there!

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The party is over, now the work begins

So I am home from the Fine Gael Ard Fheis and what an Ard Fheis it was. Enda’s speech was as Yellow Roman Candles describes it “as good as it gets” for Enda, but it was the reaction to the speech which is what made it.

Mairead McGuiness MEP did a great job as compere of the evening and making sure that everything went in order and making sure that everyone was entertained. Micheal Ring TD did a fantastic job in getting us all going and got a standing ovation for his speech. But of course all the attention was on Enda’s speech.

When I read Enda’s speech before hand, I wasnt so sure of the ending (see here). The reaction in the hall was something else. On two occasions the hall went mental The first was the line “One of my first acts as Taoiseach”. That line had the hall on its feet! And Enda was not expecting that. I don’t think anyone expects a standing ovation in the middle of a speech. Enda soldiered on and the reaction got better and better and when it came to the “Yes we Will” line people were jumping out of their seats to shout it. Of all the (Young) Fine Gael Conferences and Ard Fheisenna I have attended, I have never seen such a reaction to a speech.

The time for speechs is over now. Now is the time for hard work, for knocking on doors, for asking for number ones. Now is the time for Fine Gael members, to get behind their candidates, new and old. And get out there and get them elected. Fine Gael have a hard task in trying to increase our number of MEP’s. Sen. JP Phelan in East, Sean Kelly in South and Sen Joe O’Reilly in North West, will all be a welcome additions to our current MEPs.

So can we do well? Yes We Will! IF we put our shoulders to the wheel and explain our points and get our message across, then we will do it!

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Ireland South – The Candidates

As most of you know, Cork is part of the Ireland South constituency for the European Elections. This compromises of Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford. In the last elections in 2004 Ireland South returned 3 MEPs. In 2009 it will also return 3 MEPs.

In 2004 the following were elected:
Brian Crowley (Fianna Fail/UEN)
Simon Coveney (Fine Gael/EPP-ED)
Kathy Sinnot (Independent/IndDem)

This year sees a few changes as Colm Burke replaced Simon Coveney as MEP following Simon’s re-election to the Dáil. Also following this years elections Fianna Fail will change party groupings from UEN to ALDE.

So who are the 09 Candidates?

Well the following are the list of official candidates I can find for the Ireland South Constituency (mainly found via Eurvote.org)

Brian Crowley MEP – Fianna Fail
Brian Crowley was first elected to the European Parliament in 1994. He is currently Co-President of the UEN. He served in Seanad Eireann prior to being elected as an MEP.

Colm Burke MEP – Fine Gael
Colm Burke is a former Lord Mayor of Cork and represented the North West Ward of the City on Cork City Council. He was co-opted onto Simon Coveney’s seat in 2007.

Dan Boyle – Green Party/An Chomortas Glas
Senator Dan Boyle is the current Chairman of the Green Party as well as being Deputy Leader of Senad Eireann. He served as TD for Cork South Central between 2002 and 2007. He is the Green Party Spokesman on Finance and on Social and Family Affairs. This is his first attempt at a European Election

Kathy Sinnott MEP– Independent
Kathy Sinnott was elected to the European Parliament in 2004. She is currently Co-Chair of the Independence and Democracy Group within the Parliament. Prior winning her seat in the Parliament, she ran in the 2002 General Election in Cork South Central and narrowly missed out on a seat.

Alan Kelly – Labour Party
Senator Alan Kelly was elected toe Seanad Eireann in 2007 on the Agricultural Panel. He is from Nenagh in County Tipperary. He is Labour’s spokesperson in the Seanad on Tourism, Finance and Local Government. This is first contesting a European Election.

Sean Kelly – Fine Gael
Sean Kelly was President of the GAA from 2003 to 2006. He previously ran for Fine Gael in the Local Elections in North Kerry and failed to be elected. This is his first attempt at a European Election.

Toireasa Ferris – Sinn Fein
Toireasa Ferris was co-opted to Kerry County Council in 2003 (to replace Martin Ferris TD), she won relection in 2004. She was Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council from 2005-2006. This is her first attempt at a European Election.

So that is all the declared candidates for Ireland South. If you know of more let me know! I will be doing a more in-depth look at the candidates and where to find them online over the next few weeks!

This was originally posted on “The Political Gay” on GayCork.com

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7th Think Post: Finding Your Candidates Online

Below is my 7th Thinkaboutit.eu post. I have posted it in full so dont forget to rate it on the competition website!

A problem for me during the last European Elections in 2004 was finding out about candidates running for  election. Although I couldn’t vote and was sitting my Leaving Certificate I was interested in who was running and finding out more about the candidates in my constituency. In my constituency, Ireland South, there were ten candidates running for three seats. Of the ten, four were independents and not all of them campaigned in Cork so it was hard to find out much about them.

This year elections will be different thanks to two websites based and set up in Ireland. The first is Eurvote, which is just aimed at Irish voters. Eurvote have pages on all the candidates in the Irish Constituencies. Of course they are a bit behind as they already are missing Sean Kelly from the list for Ireland South, but they do have Declan Ganley on the list for Ireland North-West. Eurvote has a page on each candidate (here’s Marian Harkin’s (Ireland North-West) page as an example) with a link to their website which is handy. They also plan on doing events and are looking for constituents to write analysis in each constituency. Unfortunately I don’t know who runs EurVote.org, as their about page is blank!

The second website is miCandidate.eu, which hasn’t launched yet, but will in the next month. This is based on the MyCandidate.ie website which ran during the 2007 General Election here in Ireland, that website now redirects to miCandidate. MyCandidate.ie was described as “an exciting and crucial addition to democracy by putting useful information at the fingertips of citizens young and old.” by Joe Zefran a News Editor with RTE.ie (received via email), so they are hoping that their European venture will have a big impact. MiCandidate.eu are currently putting together their database on candidates in all 27 member states, but not all seams to be right with them. According to Suzy of Mamanpoulet miCandidate.eu are putting pressure on candidates to sign up and pay up to have their information on this website. This is an example of an email sent to candidates.

We are very concerned that you are one of only a few remaining candidates who has not completed the information form that we sent you. Your profile will appear across dozens of Ireland’s busiest websites from RTE to the Irish Times. Failing to return this form to us in the next 48 hours may result in your profile being entirely empty. Given that candidates profiles were viewed nearly 4 million times in 2007 on RTE and the Irish Times you are giving your competitors in your constituency a huge advantage over you.

This is a free service, but we cannot stress the urgency that we need you to fill out your details. Seats are won and lost by a handful of votes, your competitors profiles will be viewed tens of thousands of times. Your profile will be empty.

Will the web have this type of impact on the European Elections? I don’t think so. So should miCandidate be the top of your priority, probably not. Of course there is a paid version, which the Irish Green Party have signed up to for their candidates. Will it be worth the mone only time will tell and I hope that Fine Gael candidates wont spend money which could be spent on leaflets, which as Suzy points out can have the url to your blog/twitter/whatever and get people that can actually vote for you to engage with you. miCandidate are hyping up the net a bit too much in my opinion.

So there you have two websites one free and one free for us the voter, but possible not for the candidate, trying to inform us about the elections. Will they succeed? Will they actually inform people and get them to vote in the European Elections? Will they have an big impact or will they just be link farms to candidates websites, blogs, facebook/bebo pages and twitter accounts? Only time will tell.

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