Derry man Peter Casey has announced his candidacy for the European Parliament elections in the Midlands North West constituency.

Launching his campaign, the independent candidate said he would be “the voice for rural Ireland” at the heart of the EU.

Mr Casey (pictured), who polled second to incumbent Michael D Higgins in the Irish presidential elections with 342,727 first preference votes, will register his candidacy in Mayo this afternoon.

Mr Casey said: “Rural Ireland needs a catalyst for change. We have borne the brunt of austerity with massive job losses, high levels of emigration, farmers on the breadline and fishing boats tied up to rot.

“I’ll be saying it like it is on behalf of the people of the Midlands North West region to help ensure rural Ireland can enjoy the infrastructure, investment, enterprise, connectivity and prosperity it deserves. Rural Ireland has paid a hefty price for our government’s compliance with EU austerity measures, now it’s time to reap our deserved rewards and I will spearhead that campaign in Europe.

“I am committed to providing a strong voice for rural Ireland in European debates that affect our future. The issues affecting the everyday lives of people living along the western seaboard, the border counties and the midlands must be clearly heard and heeded at the heart of Europe.

“From the hardships of our farmers to the embattled fishing industry, rural Ireland will be heard.

“From the struggles of our SMEs and entrepreneurs to the very real concerns of those living in our border counties, rural Ireland will be heard.

“From our best young people being forced to endure the spiralling costs of Dublin to the massive eco-problems faced by our stunning environment, rural Ireland will be heard.

“It’s time to stand up for rural Ireland – it’s time to ensure rural Ireland is heard. You, the people of rural Ireland, will have a reliable voice in Europe by entrusting me with your support on May 24.”

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