Edgeworthstown native Pat O’Rourke (58) has announced his intention to run in the European Elections 2014, in this new constituency.
Mr O’Rourke, who has an extensive background in the agri sector, is to seek the Fianna Fáil nomination to contest the Elections in the newly established four seat, Midlands, North/West Constituency in June of next year.
Mr O’Rourke failed to secure the Fianna Fáil nomination for the 2009 Euro Elections in the region but he is hoping to benefit from the newly drawn constituency this time around.
A Longford-based agri-food leader, and regional and rural development specialist, Mr O’Rourke has also served as president of the ICMSA and is currently the Chairman of the Northern Ireland Livestock and Meat Commission. The Commission advises the Northern Ireland Power Sharing Administration on the development of the livestock sector - an area which O’Rourke believes “is a vital economic sector, both north and south”.
“In putting my name forward to seek the nomination to run in this new constituency, I am fully aware of the problems that must be tackled head on in our region,” the father of three told the Leader.
His current role in Northern Ireland means that O’Rourke has also gained a huge amount of experience in managing pressing issues within the Border Midlands and Western (BMW) - a region that has been incorporated into the constituency in which he now finds himself vying for a European seat in.
“It is more important than ever now, that Ireland, and our constituency, is represented at the European Parliament by somebody with significant experience who understands the system and the issues affecting the various sectors all over this region,” he explained.
“I have served on local committees, including Leader, national committees and negotiated at Europe along with my current responsibilities.
“I have considerable experience at local, national, All-Ireland, and at European level, and the Midlands, NorthWest region has been particularly badly hit by the economic downturn and with tackling unemployment.
“Regional development will be a priority and my location will be a key benefit to voters.”
The new constituency incorporates fifteen counties covering the areas from Donegal to Louth and across from Kildare to Galway.
The Midlands, for the first time ever, is strongly positioned to elect an MEP, as a result.
See next week’s Leader for an Opinion article from Mr O’Rourke in which he outlines his reasons for pursuing a seat in Europe.