Maria Walsh secured the Fine Gael nomination to run for the European Elections at their convention in Mullingar, February 22nd. At the age of 31, she is the youngest candidate seeking election in the 2019 European Elections. Maria rose to national attention when crowned the 2014 International Rose of Tralee. She took this opportunity to visit every county in Ireland and every continent. The platform allowed her to visit many communities and she now lends her voice to Jigsaw Mental Health, that supports young people between the ages of 12-25 and to the Thomas Meagher Foundation. She regularly speaks to school students on inclusion and what it means to be a part of ‘Today's Ireland’. Her constituency is the 13 counties in the Midlands/North West and she is determined to help advocate for the small businesses - agri and otherwise, to help bring Ireland up to speed on climate change issues, to make 2022 European Year for Mental Health, to support small farmers and advocate for other local businesses amongst many other issues. She is determined to encourage the growth of small businesses in rural Ireland.
Maria was born in Boston and raised in the small town of Shrule, Co. Mayo. Her parents are both from the West of Ireland - her mother from Leitirmore, Connemara and her father from Roundfort, Co. Mayo.
At the age of 12, Maria took her Pioneer Pledge and this year will celebrate her 20th anniversary with the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association. Maria passed out as a two Star 1ACS Trooper for the Reserve Defence Force in 2018, and is currently completing her three Star training with 1MIC. Maria received a Marksmanship Award during her passing out.
Maria worked as a project co-ordinator for the national event honouring the survivors of the Magdalene Laundries.
Maria was a contributor to RTE’s ‘Would you Believe’ broadcast discussing the Pope’s visit and beliefs the Catholic Church has towards LGBTQI community. Filmed in Shrule, Maria spoke at length about the relationship she has with her parish priest and her belief in understanding the importance of having a spiritual influence in her life.
Maria’s childhood was spent on her small family farm and she was heavily involved within the community helping at events locally throughout the years. She is a voice for the importance of the RSA (Road Safety Authority), being a pioneer, and for the diaspora. Working in Philadelphia she met with many Irish living there. She strongly believes that much can be done in Ireland to encourage those abroad back home.