European election hopeful Barry Cowan meets the public, alongside Deputy Brendan Smith, while out campaigning in Cavan Town last Monday.

Cowan visits Cavan on campaign trail

With no candidates originating from Cavan or Monaghan, the two counties are emerging as a key battleground for votes ahead of the European Elections next month.

Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowan would like to see himself as the “lead candidate” of the three names put forward by the party in the vast 15 county North West constituency, and arrived in Cavan last Monday with the aim of copperfastening his legitimacy as such.

“We need to be competitive to win one, if not two [seats],” he says of the prospect of a positive outcome in June.

The Offaly native, brother of the former Taoiseach Brian, hit the streets alongside fellow Oireachtas members, Deputy Brendan Smith and Senator Diarmuid Wilson.

He’d earlier called by the courthouse to meet with the local Fianna Fáil councillors - Clifford Kelly, John Paul Feeley, Áine Smith, Patricia Walsh, Craig Lovett, and Aiden Fitzpatrick- and visited also Ballyjamesduff to assist election hopeful Nathan Galligan on the campaign trail.

When quizzed by the people on what his candidacy stands for, Deputy Cowen stated that there are “three main issues” - a fair deal for farmers and food producers; energy security; and the importance of protecting the Irish tax regime.

Deputy Cowan’s quick to acknowledge how the Border region has quickly become a frontline in terms of illegal migration into the country, and wants both the Irish government and Europe to “act faster and more effectively” to find solutions.

One would be to bolster the National Bureau of Immigration Control within An Garda Síochána, which he claims only has two members at present. Secondly he is demanding that Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, bring forward the promised “corrective legislation” to enable the return of asylum seekers to UK.

“Priorities that intertwine and overlap and related to Europe as well, obviously the immigration issue, the issue of security, and when people raise these issues with me they want to hear where I and Fianna Fáil stand on the runaway train that is illegal immigration, and the efforts they need to see in real time happening to address that,” Deputy Cowan told the Celt. “I’m saying yes there is existing legislation, I’m saying yes there is a breakdown, an almost systemic failure you could say in the Department of Justice and Integration, but there is a commitment by government and we want to see that become a reality with examples on the ground to show people the laws we passed in their name are being adhered to and that resultant actions are being taken.”