Peter Casey has pledged to fight for the regeneration of “all but forgotten” rural Ireland when he is returned as MEP in the Midlands-North-West constituency.
The independent candidate said he will be “a strong independent voice for rural Ireland” at the heart of Europe.
Mr Casey, who polled second to incumbent Michael D Higgins in the recent Irish presidential elections with 342,727 first preference votes, vows to be a “catalyst for change” in rural Ireland.
“Rural Ireland continues to be abandoned as Government policy continues to grow an unsustainable urban sprawl in Dublin.
“I am committed to the ideals of organisations such as the Western Development Commission (WDC) and the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas (CEDRA) in their drive for increased prosperity across our counties, towns and villages.
“Rural Ireland is all but forgotten, as was so eloquently highlighted by Kerry footballing legend Pat Spillane on the Late Late Show recently. Pat’s passionate oration on the wastage of money and the failure to invest in real development in rural Ireland will have resonated with many thousands of people around the country. We need more people like Pat standing up for rural Ireland and increased support for the good work of organisations such as the CEDRA and the WDC.
“Years of EU austerity have had a devastating effect on rural Ireland. We have suffered massive job losses and surging levels of emigration while our farmers are subsisting and our fishing industry is shackled by unacceptable quotas.
“Rural Ireland needs significant investment in targeted areas and that will be top of my agenda as a MEP for Midlands-North-West.
“Our region needs a strong independent voice which is not tied by party constraints when fighting for the real needs of the people of rural Ireland. I will bring the issues affecting the everyday lives of people living along the western seaboard, the border counties and the midlands to the heart of European debates affecting our futures.
“It’s time to stand up for rural Ireland – it’s time to ensure rural Ireland is heard. You, the people of rural Ireland, will have a reliable voice in Europe by entrusting me with your support on May 24.”