Northern Ireland

European elections: Independents hope to make mark in poll

Flags outside the European Parliament building Image copyright Getty Images

The two independent candidates standing to win a seat for Northern Ireland in the European elections say they are confident they can make their mark.

Jane Morrice is a former head of the European Commission in Northern Ireland, and was also deputy speaker of the Stormont assembly.

Barrister Neil Patrick McCann is also running as an independent and standing on a pro-EU ticket.

Voters in NI will go to the polls to elect three MEPs on Thursday 23 May.

This is Ms Morrice's first time contesting the European elections.

She said her experience as the head of the European Commission Office makes her more qualified than the other 10 candidates bidding to win a seat.

Image caption Jane Morrice is a former member of the Northern Ireland Assembly and worked as a BBC journalist

"I've got more experience in Europe but I've also got the political experience as deputy speaker of the first Northern Ireland Assembly," she added.

"I've got the experience of real coalface politics and the two together shows I can make my mark.

"With Brexit, the UK would shut the door on the best trade deal we could possibly have, which is within the EU.

"But it's also slamming the door in the face of opportunity of our young people to live, work study, retire within the EU and that is something I cannot let happen."

Mr McCann is also in favour of the UK remaining within the EU and has set that as a keystone of his campaign.

Image caption Barrister Neil McCann is standing for the first time in the European elections and is running as an independent

The barrister has set out a number of proposals he wants to see implemented, if he is successful in winning a seat.

He wants Northern Ireland to remain as part of a "reformed EU", looking at greater efficiency through a smaller European Parliament.

He said his experience in the law profession makes him best placed to win a seat in Brussels and that it is important for Northern Ireland to remain in the European Union.

"The unanimous advice from the business community is that we are better off remaining in Europe and that the possibility is there for Northern Ireland to get particular support from the EU, which is seriously needed," he added.

The vote takes place next week, with counting in Northern Ireland beginning on Monday 27 May.

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