Harkin not to contest European elections

Independent MEP Marian Harkin has confirmed that she will not contest the upcoming European elections.

In a statement confirming the news, Harkin, who has served as MEP for the Midlands North West constituency for three terms, outlined that her passion for politics remains – but that she has decided not to seek re-election.

She added that she still has a firm belief that the EU is “a vital force for good in the world and a place where Ireland, as a small nation, can stand on its own two feet but, at the same time, benefit from the strength of 28 member states working together”.

“I came into politics from the voluntary sector, first as a TD representing Sligo/Leitrim and subsequently as an MEP.

During that time I have worked to represent ordinary people, community groups, workers, farmers, credit unions, carers, people with disabilities and many others.

“One of my objectives has always been to act as a bridge between Irish citizens and the European institutions, particularly in regard to access and, of course, representation.

“Bringing Europe closer to the citizen has never been just a slogan for me, it has been an essential part of my work.

“Most people do not have a full understanding of what MEPs are engaged in but they trust their MEPs to represent their interests at all the different levels in the European institutions.”

The outgoing MEP said she “always valued that trust” and thanked her supporters from the 15 counties of her constituency.

Harkin hinted at remaining in the political scene.

She concluding by stating: “I still have a huge interest in politics and in helping people and aim, in some way, in the future to make a further contribution.”