Former RTÉ midlands correspondent Ciaran Mullooly has announced that he will run in June’s European Parliament elections in the Midlands North West constituency for the Independent Ireland party formed in November 2023.

More recently, Mullooly has been a contributor to Irish Country Living and has taken up roles in LEADER and Longford Tourism.

The candidate stated that he will take a strong line on issues including CAP, nitrates, disability supports, infrastructure and housing if elected in June’s elections.

"As RTÉ midlands correspondent, I witnessed the growing frustration of rural communities,” Mullooly commented.

“Rural Ireland has been grossly neglected and I am prepared to stand up and shout stop, to quote another man from the world of journalism – the great rural champion, John Healy.

"From my time working closely with disability advocacy groups and spearheading rural tourism projects, I've seen firsthand the challenges and triumphs of rural life. I step into the political arena with a clear mission: to be an effective voice for rural communities and to strongly and unapologetically represent their interests at a European level.”

EU rules

The candidate criticised the volume of regulations coming from Brussels, which he said are making life difficult for many in rural areas.

"Restrictions on farming practices, ever-increasing rural isolation, changes to land use policy and decisions made at an EU level that are making it harder to roll out infrastructure and housing projects here at home are beyond a crisis point,” Mullooly continued in his announcement.

"The traditional means of employment across towns and villages in the Midlands North West constituency are all under threat. I would go so far as to say that the threat from new EU and State policies has never been greater.”

He stated that Independent Ireland’s position on these issues attracted him to join.

"The party’s focus on local issues, grassroots activism and tangible solutions to real problems resonates with my values and convictions.”

Entering politics

Mullooly was welcomed into the party by its two founders - Michael Collins TD and Richard O’Donoghue TD.

Mullooly retired from RTÉ in 2021 and has worked with Roscommon LEADER Partnership and Longford Tourism.

He stated community engagement and insight into EU just transition funds were key takeaways from his experience in these roles.

"I've chosen to take leave from my role in tourism promotion in Co Longford for the next number of weeks to fully commit myself to this campaign,” he said.

The former broadcaster had been approached to stand in the election by Micheal Fitzmaurice TD who hailed the candidate as a “true community man” who “spent a lifetime working to build up his community and the wider fortunes of rural areas across the midlands”.

He currently lives in Ballyleague on the Roscommon-Longford border.