‘I'M IN this to win it', said Wick­low’s Euro­pean Elec­tions can­di­date Si­mon Har­ris last Sun­day night, as he de­nied ru­mours that he had se­cured a deal with An Taoiseach Enda Kenny for a sig­nif­i­cant ‘con­so­la­tion prize’ if things don’t go his way.

Speak­ing at the launch of his cam­paign in the Ark­low Bay Ho­tel, Deputy Har­ris said, ‘There's no truth in that. I'm run­ning be­cause I want to win. I'm in this to win it. There's no back room deal.'

There has been mount­ing spec­u­la­tion that Har­ris has been promised a ju­nior min­istry in the forth­com­ing Cab­i­net reshuf­fle if he fails to win a seat in Europe, and a ju­nior min­istry for his party col­league Andrew Doyle should he suc­cess­fully take a seat.

De­spite his de­nial, there's no es­cap­ing the fact that Har­ris, the youngest TD in the Dáil, has the firm back­ing of Enda Kenny.

An Taoiseach, fresh off the plane from Rome on Sun­day af­ter meet- ing with Pope Fran­cis dur­ing the can­on­iza­tion of Pope John Paul II and Pope Paul XXII, im­me­di­ately headed to the Ark­low Bay for the launch of the Har­ris cam­paign.

In­deed the launch was at­tended by Fine Gael's Andrew Doyle of Wick­low, Paul Ke­hoe and Liam Twomey from Wex­ford, Min­is­ter Frances Fitzger­ald, MEP Mairead McGuinness, Mary Mitchell O'Con­nor of Dublin, Car­low's Pat Der­ring, Kilkenny's John Paul Phe­lan and Laois/Of­faly's Char­lie Flana­gan as well as Se­na­tor Michael D'Arcy of Wex­ford.

Mr Kenny said how Deputy Har­ris had come to him say­ing he was will­ing to stand in the Euro­pean elec­tions for the party. ‘What we what is a young voice to speak for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions', he said. ‘Si­mon will make an out­stand­ing MEP,’ he said.

In his own speech, Deputy Har­ris said, ‘The last few years have been dif­fi­cult,' but said, ‘we knew they were go­ing to be.' He said Fine Gael weren't go­ing to buy the elec­torate with an ‘ex­tra €5 in your chil­dren's al­lowance'. Har­ris added he will be a fresh voice in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment. He said that his ex­pe­ri­ence as a leading mem­ber of the Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee and as a disability ad­vo­cate shows that he has the qual­i­ties nec­es­sary to be a new kind of MEP.

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