Sinn Féin has announced that MP and former Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew is to seek a nomination to stand for Sinn Féin in the Midlands North West in the upcoming European elections.

Speaking following the announcement Michelle Gildernew said: “The European Union is crucially important to Ireland. Ireland needs to be the fore in setting the direction of the European Union in the years ahead and I want to play a role in making that happen by bringing my experience of negotiation and dealing with EU institutions as a former Agriculture Minister to the job of standing up for Irish interests in the European Parliament.

“The European Union played a key role in ensuring Brexit did not create a hard border in Ireland and I believe the North’s future must be within the European Union, as part of a United Ireland.

“Ireland needs stronger representatives in the European Parliament. A strong Sinn Féin team will call out the EU when needed if it is not acting in the best interest of the Irish people or when EU office holders overstep their remit as the EU Commission President did in recent months.

“If elected my priorities will include:

• Ensuring the EU gets back to focusing on what matters to workers and families: supporting states in dealing with challenges such as the cost of living, regional development and climate change. • Ensuring the needs of Irish farmers are at the heart of the next round of CAP negotiations.

• Maintaining Ireland’s veto in Foreign Affairs and Defence, protecting Irish neutrality and opposing increased EU military spending.

• Ensuring that the EU is proactive in support of Irish Unity.

“This is a time of huge potential and opportunity for Ireland. If elected as an MEP for the Midlands North West I want to be part of delivering that positive change that communities, workers and families need.”