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Former Rose of Tralee winner Maria Walsh seeks to run as an MEP candidate for Fine Gael

She seeks to run in the Midlands/North-West constituency.

Fine Gael released new photos of businesswoman Maria Walsh today.
Fine Gael released new photos of businesswoman Maria Walsh today.
Image: Fine Gael

FORMER ROSE OF Tralee winner Maria Walsh has confirmed she is seeking the Fine Gael nomination to contest the European elections in May.

Walsh, who’s 31 and from Co Mayo, was crowned the Rose of Tralee in 2014 – becoming the first gay woman to do so.

She’s intending to run in the Midlands/North-West, the constituency where Fine Gael’s Mairéad McGuinness, who is the European Parliament’s vice president; Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy, who will be contesting the next election; and independent MEP Like ‘Ming’ Flanagan won in the last election.

Walsh had been tipped as a possible candidate in previous media reports – today the party officially confirmed her intention to seek the nomination.

In a statement, Walsh said today:

“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 schoolkids 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?’ 

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“I want to become an MEP and represent the interests of a wide constituency that is going through many changes,” she said.

The Fine Gael European selection convention for the Midlands/North West constituency will be held later this month. 

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