PETER CASEY’S proposed reversion to the European elections rather than the Dáil has more to do with headlong retreat from Donegal than any gap left by Marian Harkin in the Midlands-North-West Euro constituency.
“I will definitely be standing in Donegal at the next general election”, he said in February. Since then, various facts of political life have seen Casey reconsider a run at the Dáil even though he recently claimed he would rather be a TD than an anonymous MEP.
The first obstacle to Casey repeating his presidential effort is that the combined electoral machines of Fianna Fail, Sinn Féin and Fine Gael would provide much more formidable competition than a few televised debates with weak presidential candidates. Second, is that controversial comments about travellers and social welfare recipients would be swamped by general election arguments about health, housing, education, public services and taxation.
Whatever vote Casey might have got in Donegal would come from all parties, but it would not be enough and FF will hold its two seats with TDs, Charlie McConalogue and Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher; FG minister, Joe McHugh will retain his seat and so will SF’s Pearse Doherty. The fifth seat will be fought between Independent, Thomas Pringle TD and SF senator, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn. Casey had hoped to challenge for Pringle’s seat, but he has realised in recent times that success in a general election is infinitely more difficult than his flash-in-the-pan presidential feat.