Midlands North West – Focus on Connaght

Midlands North-West is shaping up to be a huge field for the upcoming European Parliament Elections – With 28 Candidates declaring from across the political spectrum. There are names and political groupings that are familiar to Irish voters, and there are some new names emerging as both independents and as representatives of political parties. 

Digging through the registrations for the elections – we can see that 11 candidates from Connaght are in the running. 


8 of the candidates are declaring for political parties (Fine Gael, Fianna Fail, Green Party, Sinn Fein, Labour Party, People before profit-Solidarity, Independent Ireland and The Irish People) while 3 are running as Independents. 4 from Galway, 3 from Mayo, 3 from Sligo and 2 from Roscommon. 

Of course party alignment becomes a slightly different thing once the MEP’s are chosen with political groupings in the European Parliament. MEP’s generally Align with one of 8 Political groupings. 

European Political Groupings

Currently the EPP (FG) hold the most seats, followed by S&D who most closely resemble Labour or Social Democrats in Ireland. RE is a larger basket which aligned a few political groups in Europe – Fianna Fail being one them – G/EFA are the Green grouping, ECR sit to the mild right of European politics, ID are right wing and far right while GUE/NGL is a left leaning grouping which contains both Sinn Féin and Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan. MEP’s sitting outside these groupings in smaller numbers form the NI (Non-Inscrits) grouping. A candidate that runs as an independent in Ireland will very often become part of a political grouping in Europe.

With these groupings and the importance of committee work in the European model our domestic political patterns only form a small piece of the large jigsaw that makes up the 720 seats of the incoming administration which is a little larger than last time to track both population changes and redistribution of 27 seats following Britain exiting European politics. In this election across the whole country 14 seats will going to be filled by representatives from Ireland.

How Votes Pass in the European Parliament

Looking closer at that, for a vote to pass in Europe next year will take around 360 votes, which must be negotiated across the political groupings because of the wide political groupings across Europe – There has never been a poltical grouping in Europe with a voting majority, so the ability to negotiate is key.

In the present 2019-2024 setup, the only road to consensus is through between 2 and 5 groupings aligning for or against a vote – around 350 being the magic number – and this is very often the case, while there isn’t a whip system for voting in Ireland it can be taken widely that the backing of a grouping will help turn the wheels but doing the important negotiations to gain consensus at commitee level goes a lot further than raising a solitary hand in a sea of 720 people even if it might carry well on social media.

In the 2019-2024 Parliament Connaght based candidates elected in Midlands North-West are Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan (GUE/NGL) and Maria Walsh (EPP).

How the province is represented in the Midlands North West elections will determine how the province is represented in Europe on committees and in voting over the next five years. Over the coming weeks we’ll be trying to interview each of the Connaght candidates in the run up to June 7th. 

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