Former Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh has won a surprise seat in the European Parliament.
In a previous statement, Maria Walsh said: “Five years ago I was chosen as the 2014 Rose of Tralee, an honour which brought me all around this great country, but more importantly, it gave me a platform to make a positive impact in people’s lives. I appreciate entering politics and trying to get a seat at the European Parliament is a daunting task but throughout my life, I have constantly faced obstacles and challenges head-on and overcome them.
Maria Walsh was the first member of the LGBT+ community to be crowned Rose of Tralee.
Political novice Ms Walsh declared she will “hit the ground running” in Brussels and said she is delighted that she will be sitting in the European Parliament representing the West and North-West.
She acknowledged her winning wasn’t expected by some but said: “I put my name forward and I very much roped in the family. I had a strong team and the party rowed in behind us from the start.”
She said they “worked ferociously” for the victory. She won 107,198 votes.
She was followed by her parents Noreen and Vincent at the count.
Independent MEP Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan was also stated to the European Parliament in the thirteenth count with a vote of 121,824.
The quota of 118,986.
Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy also took the final seat with 98,732 votes.
The decision will come as a relief to party leader Mary Lou McDonald who had a nightmare first local and European Elections as a leader.
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What a Friday! Very special to have @leovaradkar in Galway City. The @finegael Team has been exceptional & Taoiseach’s support hasn’t wavered, they took a chance on a new person from the West but our Team has worked hard to make sure people know we are serious, enthusiastic and hardworking. Here’s to the final few days and getting our Midlands North-West communities out to vote. Make your voice heard and your vote count. THANK YOU TEAM FINE GAEL 🇮🇪🇪🇺#mariawalsheu
Fine Gael’s Mairead McGuinness beat the poll in the first count on Monday with a massive first choice vote of 134,630.
Ms Walsh began her victory speech saying: “Wow, MEP Walsh, thank you very, very much.”
She said her campaign team knew they had work to do, to grow a message about an opportunity that can happen in rural Ireland where she grew up and is “so bloody passionate about”.
Ms Walsh added: “I am unbelievably honoured to be a girl from Shrule and the fact that we have an MEP”.
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