I’ve a lot of time for Phil Prendergast, she’s got a lot of strong selling points. In a local election where she is the only MEP who lives in the region, I find it easy to ask people to vote local for her so as to keep an MEP in the south east. I recently listened to the SF candidate on local radio complain about how the east coast had done so well and that Cork and Kerry lagged behind. That was an unintended compliment to Labour on how Wexford has seen hospitals built, schools rolled out and a new garda station ready to go, not remind the bypasses of Enniscorthy and New Ross which get under way soon while the N11 through Wicklow is well under way.
Despite the gaffe of complaining on the east coast as to how well she thinks it’s doing, the daughter of the famous composer Séan Ó Riada seems set for victory while her leader languishes in custody. Wexford seems to be at the kernel of the electoral battle. FG’s Simon Harris is seen as a greater Dublin candidate while I’ve seen Deirdre Clune’s battle bus and Séan Kelly’s van make separate forays into town as they slug it out for votes.
Kelly is seen as attracting a south west/mid west vote while Clune is seen as targeting rural voters and Cork. If Brian Crowley can attract a huge personal vote where will his transfers go? Clune can expect some as can Ní Riada while his running mate Kieran Hartley who campaigns against pylons has yet to electrify his campaign.
So there is a space for Phil Prendergast, nobody else running in the south east where there has not been an MEP since Avril Doyle retired. I hope that the emphasis in the south east is on the need for local representation at EU level and not one of where Wexford is seen as a handy notch on the political belt of candidates that previously showed little interest in the place.