Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Independent Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, Fine Gael’s Maria Walsh and Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy completed the Midlands North West European election line-up tonight.
Independent Peter Casey was eliminated on the 13th and final count to decide the four-seat constituency.
Following the election of Fine Gael’s Mairead McGuinness on the first count on Monday. Roscommon Independent Flanagan led the pack for the next 13 counts and finally exceeded the 118,986 quota just before 9pm tonight.
The outgoing MEP finished with 121,824 votes following the transfer of Brendan Smith’s 68,677 votes.
Flanagan said his previous stint in Brussels convinced the public of his credentials.
“The last time people were voting in a sense for an unknown quantity. They didn’t know how well I’d perform in the European Parliament, the first two years I have to admit I was a little bit at sea, I found it very frustrating but in the last three years I really grew to understand it and I am able to communicate that message through social media to be able to explain to people exactly what I’m doing,” said the Independent MEP.
He said he left no stone unturned on the campaign trail.
“There is no simply no way to getting elected other than serious graft. What I did was I canvassed for 44 days in a row, I drove over 10,500 miles,” he said.
Despite running two candidates, Fianna Fáil floundered in the Midlands North West constituency. Flanagan accused them of negative campaigning and a lack of clear policies.
“Fianna Fáil appeared to have absolutely no policies at all in this election other to have a go at Leo Varadkar, which I’d agree with but that’s not a policy, to have a go at Matt Carthy and to attack me. As a result people didn’t have a clue what they stood for.”
Fine Gael’s Maria Walsh and Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy took the second and third seats without reaching the quota. Ms Walsh finished with 107,198 and Carthy ended on 98,732.
Walsh, a former Rose of Tralee, believes her success in the competition undoubtedly gave her a platform to succeed in politics.
“I have never discredited the fact that my podium was built very much in 2014 when I became the International Rose of Tralee.
“I wad fortunate that many of the towns and villages we visited over the last few weeks and months I had already visited as an International Rose.So you’re just reintroducing yourself as a political representative,” said Ms Walsh.
She said her campaign benefited from targeting some of the most rural towns and villages in the constituency.
“I guess where I’m really fortunate is that a large part of my first preference vote was down to the huge amount of ground we covered as a team. And not just large areas like most European candidates cover we were going into small towns and villages and making sure that rural Ireland representation was there,” said the new Fine Gael MEP.
Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy praised the support of his family and campaign team.
Despite a tough election campaign for his party he said that Sinn Féin will be back bigger and better than ever. He dedicated his win to party members and said he said he hopes some can take ‘solace’ in his win.
“Leonard Cohen once said there is a crack in everything before the light comes in,” the MEP commented.

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