The announcement this week of the redrafting of the EU constituencies for next year’s European Parliament elections has seen Mayo included in the new Midlands, North and West four seat constituency which stretches all the way from the Atlantic coast to the Irish Sea. Ireland has lost one seat in the parliament thanks to the accession of Croatia to the European Union, which has led to the redrawing of the boundaries and a reduction in a number of constituencies from four to three.
Mayo native and current Fine Gael North West MEP Jim Higgins responding to the changes said that he “wholeheartedly welcomed the inclusion of counties Louth, Meath, Kildare, Offaly and Laois” into his constituency. When asked if the new constituency, which stretches across the whole width of the country, was too big he said: “Obviously it's a challenge. We are talking about representing a massive geographic area, but I am confident I can rise to the challenge, get out and about and represent effectively the views of the people of the Midlands, North and West in the European Parliament. Ultimately it's for you, the people of Midlands, North and West to decide the elections."
Fellow North West Independent MEP, Marian Harkin said this week: "European legislation relates equally to Sligo and Kildare and to any of the 15 counties in the new constituency and, as such, I look forward to serving all with the expertise I have developed in two terms in the Parliament.
"Prior to entering politics I led a successful campaign as a volunteer to retain Objective 1 Status for counties like Louth, Laois, and Offaly, whose problems were no less than those in the western and border counties.”
Fine Gael’s Mairead McGuinness who is currently an MEP for the existing East constituency, but will be moving into the newly created Midlands, North and West constituency said that she is looking forward to the challenge: “It’s a very large constituency from a geographical perspective. However I know the entire area extremely well. For me my work will not change since the major issues of policy on which I work are common to every county in Ireland,” and, “I look forward to seeking the support of the people of Mayo and the other 14 counties in next year’s elections to enable me to continue with that work.”