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Sam Boal

Former Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh selected as MEP candidate for Fine Gael

Walsh won the Rose of Tralee in 2014.

FORMER ROSE OF Tralee winner Maria Walsh has formally been added to the Fine Gael ticket for the European elections in Midlands-North West, alongside MEP Mairead McGuinness.

Walsh, who was born in Boston and raised along the Mayo-Galway border in Shrule, was crowned the Rose of Tralee in 2014 – becoming the first gay woman to do so.

Accepting the nomination, she thanked Ministers Michael Ring and Joe McHugh for proposing and seconding her nomination.

She described Mairead McGuinness as an inspirational role model for younger women with political aspirations.

“25 years ago this very summer, a seven-year-old Irish American girl moved from Boston with her Irish parents and her siblings back to the West of Ireland, a place which had shaped her parents before her and has been central to shaping the perspectives of a young woman who now stands proudly before you this evening,”she said.

As 31-year-old woman she said she is to be the youngest member of the party running in the European Elections.

Walsh told the crowd this evening that she is self-employed as a media and event consultant, and this year she celebrates her 20th anniversary of being a Pioneer.

“Of course, many of you know me as the Boston girl living in Philadelphia who won the Rose of Tralee five years ago and while I am so much more, having the opportunity to fulfil that significant ambassadorial role was a wonderful and unforgettable chapter in my life,” she said.

Walsh said she is passionate about mental health, diversity, inclusion, women’s rights and working to improve young people’s lives.

“Yes, I am new to party politics but my rich and diverse experiences have served as my apprenticeship. I now want to be a strong and effective voice for you, this constituency and Ireland in Europe and work hard to find the best solutions to the most difficult of problems,” she said.

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