McGuinness in serious contention for fourth term in office seal of approval

An exit poll conducted by REDC for RTÉ on the status of the candidates vying for seats in the European elections indicates clearly, this morning, that sitting MEP in the Midlands-North West Constituency Mairéad McGuinness (FG) is not only in strong contention to clinch a much coveted seat and secure, for herself, a fourth term in office, but she is also very likely to top the poll.

Her running mate Maria Walsh is on 10%.

Other candidates in the race include Matt Carthy (SF); Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan (Ind); Brendan Smyth (FF); Saoirse McHugh (GP); Peter Casey (Ind); Anne Rabbitte (FF); Fidelma Healy Eames (Ind); and Dominic Hannigan (Lab).

Image source: RTÉ

Counting in the European Elections begins tomorrow morning, May 26, and is likely to continue for a number of days.  

McGuinness, a sitting MEP in the constituency since 2004, currently serves as first Vice-President of the European Parliament and has been a strong advocate for Irish farming in Europe.

She is currently polling on 25%, and the indications – at this stage – are, that she will be returned on the first count.

Brexit and the backstop

Meanwhile, McGuinness has been extremely vocal on the whole issue of Brexit.

She has been consistent in her sentiments that the European Parliament will not give its consent to a UK withdrawal agreement which does not contain “a workable, legally operational and all-weather backstop” in Northern Ireland.

There are many opinions about Brexit, and the negotiations, but there are only two negotiating parties and the EU is focused on reaching a deal, as I believe is the UK.

She continued: “The backstop is a fundamental EU issue and the draft withdrawal agreement text remains on the table and is open for the UK to propose changes in order that we can advance the talks.”

‘Promotion and protection’

Meanwhile, while speaking in Brussels on the issue of unfair trading practices across Europe, the Midlands-North West MEP highlighted the importance of introducing a new directive to deal with the matter effectively.

She also advised that the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has insisted on the establishment of a dedicated and focused sectoral regulator to carry out the work of implementing the new widely-supported directive.

“This is required so that there is a dual mandate to promote competition and protect the interests and welfare of consumers,” she warned.

Image source: RTÉ

“The CCPC wants to rule itself out of the implementation of this directive so there needs to be a focus on who should carry out the work.”