We must protect Harkin’s legacy and thwart possibility of two FG MEPs, says Healy Eames

Voters in the Midlands North West should not let the great work of outgoing MEP Marian Harkin be undone in the next European Parliament, Fidelma Healy Eames has said.

Dr. Healy Eames was speaking after a conversation with MEP Harkin in which the outgoing independent wished Fidelma the very best of luck with her campaign and reinforced the importance of an Independent woman retaining her seat.

“Marian Harkin has been an inspiration to me, and to many women across our constituency, for many years. She has won many accolades for her hard-working record on behalf of her constituents in Europe. She has provided a truly independent and reasoned voice, never forgetting who sent her to Brussels, and for what purpose.

“While other candidates in this election focus on eye-catching slogans and hair-brained ideas that they won’t be able to implement from Brussels, my focus has always been very clear: I will work in the European Parliament to deliver the service our constituency needs. If elected I will set up a network of supports across the constituency to deliver an accessible service. I want to see people connected not disconnected,” she said.

“As an independent voice, like Marian has been, I will be able to work across the political groups in Brussels, working with other Independents and Irish MEPs of all parties to build support for the critical EU investments and innovation we need in farming, infrastructure, manufacturing, and fishing so that our communities can continue to live, rear their families and work in our region. We should not be rearing our families to have to move to Dublin or emigrate. The opportunities should be in our region. This will be my focus.

“In this election, polls suggest that the people face a choice for the last seat between Peter Casey, who has shown no knowledge of how Brussels works, or a second Fine Gael seat in Maria Walsh, neither of whom have held any political office before. The European Parliament is no place for learning on the job, and our constituency needs experienced politicians.

I have been a member of the important EU Affairs Oireachtas committee. From my learnings there I know much more is possible from Europe but that there have been missed opportunities due to lack of application by the Irish Government.

Dr Healy Eames said that returning two Fine Gael MEPs for our constituency would be a huge mistake.

“Collectively it would mean they could take the constituents of the Midlands North West even more for granted. As matters stand under the record of MEP Mairead McGuinness our constituency has been downgraded by the EU from a ‘developed’ region to a region ‘in transition’. This means we are now the poorest of the three EU constituencies in Ireland. We don’t even have a regional development plan. In fact we are the only country in the OECD without a regional development plan, an appalling record, and the very least that Fine Gael should have delivered on for rural Ireland in the course of its last eight years in power.

“My own track record speaks for itself. I have never been afraid to speak out or stand up for what I believe in – that’s why I left Fine Gael when it embraced policies I could not support. I have served the people as a Senator and a councillor, without letting them down.

“I’m asking the people of Midlands North West to put their trust in me in this election, so that I can continue the good work of Marian Harkin, and so that I can be a voice that keeps the focus in Brussels where it needs to be – on the needs of our constituency, and the people who live here,” she concluded.


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