Fine Gael have confirmed that Colm Markey will assume the role of Member of the European Parliament, replacing Mairead McGuinness in Brussels after she was named as the new EU Commissioner on Tuesday morning.
Markey has served on Louth County Council for 12 years and will now move to take over from McGuinness, a position she herself held for 17 years. Markey was McGuinness’ first named substitute to replace her as an MEP should the eventuality arise. He was named ahead of the other contenders – former TD and Senator Frank Feighan, former Senator Gab McFadden and Meath County Councillor Sharon Tolan.
The European Parliament still have to vote in favour of McGuinness’ nomination to EU Commissioner but that is a formality.
The party will now have to replace Togher-based Markey on Louth County Council, with a selection convention and co-option to take place.
Sources close to Markey indicated to LouthNow.ie on Friday that he was willing to take on the role. Upon news of McGuinness’ nomination being announced, Markey tweeted his congratulations. It was his first tweet in 16 months, since the day of his re-election in May of last year.
This morning, he tweeted: “Congratulations to Mairead McGuinness on her elevation to Commissioner. Look forward to working with her and my future colleagues in the European Parliament.”
Speaking to LouthNow.ie on Tuesday morning, Mr Markey MEP said; “Congratulations to Mairead. I’m delighted for you. I think she will make an excellent Commissioner. We always had a good relationship in the past. I have no doubt that will continue in the future.
“I think with my agricultural background, my rural development background and 11 years as a councillor, I think I have plenty of experience to bring to the role. It’s a very busy time. Brexit has become very relevant in the last couple of years, the border aspect of it in particular. As someone who has lived alongside the border I’ve been very conscious of this element of it. It’s come into full focus in the last day or so.
Fine Gael Senator John McGahon paid tribute to Markey today, saying; “I served alongside Colm on Louth County Council for six years, he has been an excellent Councillor for Mid Louth since 2009 and his knowledge of agricultural issues is unparalleled.
“Colm has years of experience having previously served as president of Macra na Feirme. Chairperson of Louth County Council, leader of the Fine Gael group, while running his own farm in County Louth.
“He will be an excellent addition to the European Parliament and as a representative for the Midlands-Northwest region.”