Belfast Telegraph

Fine Gael youth wing urges party to stand in Northern Ireland

Leo Varadkar
Leo Varadkar

By Our Political Staff

Fine Gael has been urged to contest Northern Ireland seats at the forthcoming general election.

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The call has come from the youth wing of the party, which is led by Killian Foley-Walsh.

Mr Foley-Walsh wrote to party leader Leo Varadkar saying that the Young Fine Gael organisation was "strongly of the view that the party should contest the upcoming election".

According to The Irish Times, Mr Foley claimed Young Fine Gael had been making "significant progress" in establishing itself over the border.

A branch of Young Fine Gael was established at Queen's University earlier this year by Sligo native Jude Perry (20), the son of former Fine Gael minister of state John Perry

The Young Fine Gael president also asked Mr Varadkar "whether our candidates will be committed to taking their seats in Westminster if elected".

At present the only all-Ireland parties contesting elections in Northern Ireland are Sinn Fein and Aontu.

The Fianna Fail party, which has a 'confidence and supply' arrangement with the Fine Gael Government in Dublin, has also in the past expressed some interest in organising in Northern Ireland and contesting elections.

Earlier this year, former Sinn Fein councillor Sorcha McAnespy was unveiled as Fianna Fail candidate for the local government elections in Fermanagh and Omagh Council.

But while her candidacy was backed by senior Fianna Fail figures Eamon O Cuiv and Senator Mark Daly, the party centrally repudiated the move.

Ms McAnespy went on to contest the local government election as an independent, but did not retain her seat on the local council.

The fiasco resulted in Mr Daly being stripped of his title as Fianna Fail's deputy leader in the Irish Seanad, while Mr O Cuiv was removed from his role as the party's rural affairs spokesperson.

Fine Gael has been in government in the Irish Republic since 2011. It was contacted for a response to the call from the party's youth wing chief, but did not respond.

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