Ireland’s Labor Party leadership has blocked attempts to run controversial drag queen and gay rights campaigner Panti Bliss as a candidate in the forthcoming European parliament elections.
A report in the Sunday Independent newspaper says that an approach to Bliss, real name Rory O’Neill, was considered in recent weeks.
Panti Bliss has caused a storm after remarks made on a TV programme about homophobic attitudes in Ireland resulted in libel pay-outs to the Catholic Iona Institute and journalist John Waters.
The report says Labor Party figures weighed up running the gay rights campaigner and drag queen as a European election candidate amid fears the coalition government partner will be humiliated at the polls.
The paper indicates that the party are worried that low-profile European MEP Emer Costello will lose her seat and this led to talk of a possible approach to O’Neill.
However, the idea has been dismissed by Labor’s director of elections and government Minister Joan Burton who recently announced she will not attend the St Patrick’s Day parade due to the organisers’ treatment of gay and lesbian groups.
Burton said: “I doubt it very much, I’d be very surprised.
“Emer Costello is a very dogged and focused candidate, she could well be another Bernie Malone. Labour’s view is there are two left-wing seats in Dublin, we are targeting one.”
The proposed move for Panti Bliss came amid growing concern within Labour the party is facing a European election wipe-out at the hands of Sinn Fein.