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Fianna Fáil Euro candidate Niall Blaney angrily criticizes party leader at campaign launch

Midlands-North West candidate says Tánaiste has not campaigned with him, but has campaigned with others on the list

Party leader Micheál Martin struggled to control proceedings after candidate Niall Blaney complained he was being left in the lurch.

He accused the Tánaiste of not sounding out with him when he had done so with others on the bill.

Martin insisted it was the right decision to field three candidates in Midlands-North West: Senator Blaney, Mayo Senator Lisa Chambers and Laois-Offaly TD Barry Cowen.

He insisted the party was “in the fight for two seats” in a constituency where it currently has none.

Cowen leads in the polls, followed by Blaney. Blaney finished second to Cowen at the selection convention and the party later added him and Chambers to the roster.

Shortly before the launch of FF at the Radisson Blu Hotel in central Dublin, Donegal-based Blaney issued an angry press release.

“Our party seems to be in panic mode and, after strangely adding three candidates to the list, now seems determined to throw two of them overboard and settle for one seat,” he said.

This would mean “giving up representation of Connacht and the border counties”, he warned. “Fianna Fáil is fielding six euro candidates in three constituencies. Five of them have gotten a good share of national television exposure. “I’ve been applying for it for the last six weeks and they haven’t given me a single chance,” Blaney said. “I had a reasonable expectation of being on Katie Hannon’s show, only to be told the party had withdrawn me and nominated another candidate.”

Blaney continued his criticism while supporting his party leader, saying that the Tánaiste had not polled him, while he had polled others. Martin told the media that he was not going to discuss the “logistics” of the election campaign.

Blaney said at the launch: “Unfortunately, I’m not getting the same support as other candidates in this campaign. And that’s a problem for me. It’s been four weeks. “I’ve never had any opportunity on national television. so far, and I am the only candidate out of six where that has been the case.

“It’s not just about me, it’s about the people I represent and the border counties. We need the same opportunities as anyone else.

“If the Tánaiste is going to do a poll with one candidate, it has to do a poll with all three. And if it makes a video with one candidate, it has to do a video with all three. I ask for equal opportunities and support.”

Mr Martin was asked if he agreed with the comments, but attempted to answer a question from RTÉ, which also sought to question his reaction to Senator Blaney’s complaints.

He said: “I will take care of the campaign and run it.

“We will address how the campaign will be run after the press conference. I will not have a public discussion about the logistics of the campaign.

“But all the party candidates have enormous support.”

green release

The Green Party’s previous European election launch at Buswell’s Hotel in Dublin had its own problems.

Minister of State Ossian Smyth, who presides, twice referred to his MEP colleague sitting next to him as Pauline O’Reilly, a Green Party senator, and had to be told that she was Grace O’Sullivan, the Ireland candidate. South and acting member of the European Parliament.

This strange moment was followed by another when Ms O’Sullivan said: “We absolutely condone Hamas’ attack on Israel as an act of terrorism.” Mr Smyth had to tell him that what he meant was condemn, not forgive.

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