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Image / Editorial

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


by Jennifer McShane
23rd Feb 2019
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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.

Accepting the nomination, yesterday evening she made a speech describing Mairead McGuinness as an inspirational role model for younger women with political aspirations, and said her experiences in Ireland have shaped her as a young woman.

“Twenty-five 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.

Related: Former Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh seeks Fine Gael MEP nomination for EU elections

She said she was proud to have been a Rose of Tralee (she was the first gay woman to ever win the title) and wanted to use the platform she had been given for much more. “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.

 

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A post shared by Maria Walsh (@mariawalsheu) on

“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 continued.

At 31-years-old, she is the youngest candidate in the party to be running in the European Elections.

Maria was crowned Rose of Tralee in 2014 as the Philadelphia Rose and since winning,  has used her platform to discuss a range of issues and particularly to campaign extensively for LGBTQ+ rights.Main image via @honorawalsh Instagram