Former Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh has expressed her interest in running in next year’s European Parliament elections as part of Fine Gael.
Should Walsh make an official declaration, she will run for an MEP (Members of the European Parliament) position in the Midlands North West constituency.
MEP’s play an important role on a European level and make decisions in terms of quality standards, climate change, human rights and financial regulation.
The election is due to take place in May 2019, and it is believed that Fine Gael will be running two candidates with a view of winning both seats in the election.
MEP Mairead McGuinness, who will contest the election, said she would be happy to see the Mayo Rose as a potential contender.
“I’m running in the next European election and I’m delighted that Maria Walsh is a possible candidate. The election will be important for Ireland post-Brexit and for the European Union,” she said.
The Minister of Rural Affairs Michael Ring told the Irish Independent that she would get his full support if she was chosen at the Fine Gael selection convention.
“It’s great to see so many interested in standing for Fine Gael and I’ll support any member, including Maria if they get selected at the convention,” he said.
In 2014, Maria made history becoming the first openly gay Rose to win the competition and be crowned the Rose of Tralee.
Since then, Walsh has become a regular in the Irish media and is an advocate for LGBT+ and women’s rights. Most recently, she was part of the Dublin Honours Magdelenes event and appeared in Hozier’s music video for Nina Cried Power.
Hozier said, “Thank you to Maria Walsh for using her platform to promote gender equality, and the right for everyone to love who they love.”
She recently told mayonews.ie she would like to continue her activism in these areas:
“Conversations I would have had with Magdalene survivors have made me feel that it is a really interesting part of in our history and I’d write those ideas down or write my own stories down about LGBTQ+ issues.
“There’s still a lot of assumptions there and stereotypes here, in Northern Ireland and abroad,” she said.
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