Former Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh has announced that she will be seeking the Fine Gael nomination in the upcoming European elections which will take place in May.
Maria, who hails from Co Mayo, will be seeking the nomination in the Midlands/North West constituency, where there are four seats on offer.
In a statement made yesterday, she 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 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?’
“I want to become an MEP and represent the interest of a wide constituency that is going through many changes."
The Fine Gael European selection convention for the Midlands/North West constituency will be held on February 22.
Maria was crowned Rose of Tralee in 2014 as the Philadelphia Rose and was the first gay woman to win the competition. Since her win, she has used her platform to discuss a range of issues and particularly to campaign extensively for LGBTQ+ rights.
Picture: @honorawalsh Instagram