Fine Gael have officially confirmed that Maria Walsh will seek their MEP nomination at the next EU elections.
Walsh will run in the Midlands/North-West, the constituency previously won by independent MEP Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan. She has said that she aligned with Fine Gael because they best represent her “core values”.
In a statement on her decision, 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 have been to every county in Midlands/North-West, meeting community groups and farming organisations, promoting good mental health for our young people as an ambassador for Jigsaw, discussing patriotism and history with school kids and parents as an Ambassador for the Thomas Francis Meagher Foundation, playing Gaelic football, and on manoeuvres with the Irish reserves.
“Everywhere I go, I meet people of all ages with the same hopes and concerns. The same constant questions crop up. ‘Will there be enough opportunities for me to raise my family in rural Ireland and for my children to stay here after that? How will the next CAP reform affect my family farm? How will Brexit affect my business?’
“I want to become an MEP and represent the interests of a wide constituency that is going through many changes.”
The statement continued: “I am always first and foremost a proud west of Ireland woman with an unyielding commitment to achieving good progress on behalf of our communities.
“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.
“That is why I am first of all, asking the members of Fine Gael to nominate me as a candidate on February 22 and then canvass the people of the Midlands and North-West to support me in May’s European elections.”
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