Colm Markey officially began life as a Member of the European Parliament on Friday, over two months after he was confirmed as Fine Gael’s next MEP in-waiting.
He takes up his post as a member of the European Parliament for the Midlands North-West constituency at a plenary session in Brussels on Monday.
The Togher-based farmer was officially confirmed as the party’s selection to replace Mairead McGuinness representing the Midlands-North West in the European Parliament on September 8, shortly after McGuinness was named by Ursula Von Der Leyen as Phil Hogan’s replacement as EU Commissioner.
He officially became an MEP today (Friday November 20) after the European Parliament received notification of his appointment from the clerk of the Dáil.
Mr Markey will take a seat on the Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development as the vital negotiations on a new Common Agricultural Policy continue at EU level.
He will also serve as a Member on the Transport and Tourism Committee and a substitute Member of the Fisheries Committee.
While Ireland lost Hogan’s trade portfolio, McGuinness was handed the Financial Services brief in her new role. She officially began in her new position on October 12.
Markey had served on Louth County Council for 12 years, having been first elected to the seat in the Ardee electoral area in 2009. No person has yet been put forward by Markey or the party to replace him on the council as of yet.
“As a farmer and an entrepreneur, I know the issues that affect businesses and communities the most. What motivates me the most is the drive to deliver real progress,” he said.
“We can do this by ensuring family farming is at the forefront of all future EU policy decisions, voicing the concerns of rural citizens in the transition to a more sustainable transport system, standing up for rural Ireland as the lifeblood of the country and helping my constituents to adapt and thrive in the post-Brexit relationship with the UK.”
In his last act as a councillor, Markey attended Thursday’s adjourned Budget meeting at St Gerard’s Hall in Dundalk where he voted for the reversal of the decision to split the discretionary budget for districts based on number of councillors.
He also voted to pass the Budget for next year, one of 20 present councillors who supported the budget plan as laid out by Louth County Council Chief Executive Joan Martin and Head of Finance Bernie Woods.
Markey is the first former Louth County councillor to become an MEP – although a number of former and current councillors have launched bids for election in the past.
They include Sinn Féin’s Pearse McGeough, Tomas Sharkey and Albert Morgan, as well as Labour’s Michael Bell and Donnchadha MacRaghnail, then of the Sinn Féin Workers Party, in 1979.