FORMER MEP for Ireland South, Colm Burke has thanked his friends and supporters in the recent election campaign.
Mr Burke who was co-opted to replaced Simon Coveney in 2007 failed to retain the seat with new Fine Gael candidate, former GAA president, Sean Kelly the only Fine Gael candidate elected.
Criticism has been levelled at the Fine Gael leadership for running a “celebrity” candidate in Ireland South where Mr Burke was widely regarded as a hard working and effective MEP.
In a statement today, Mr Burke said, “I am very disappointed that the outcome of the European Parliament election in Ireland South has not allowed me to continue the work for the constituency that I commenced in June 2007.
“What has greatly heartened me in the immediate aftermath of the election has been the support and the selfless commitment that I was given by my campaign team at all levels, by the officers and members of Fine Gael Branches and by the members of my family.
“I sincerely congratulate Brian Crowley, Sean Kelly and Alan Kelly on their success and wish them well in their in the next European Parliament Mandate which will commence on 14th July next.
“As you are aware Fine Gael in the Ireland South Constituency received 29.4 per cent of the vote which is the highest vote ever secured by the party and for the first time we received more votes than Fianna Fáil.
“Even though I was not successful in this election I received more first preference votes than any other Fine Gael candidate who has previously been elected in the Ireland South or Munster Constituency and I believe that with a more careful management of the vote a second seat could have been secured.”
He added, “I intend continuing to make a contribution to the Fine Gael Party as I have done over the last 30 years. I believe the goal that we must now set is to win the maximum number of seats in the next General Election and to prepare for that event as it may be here sooner than we expect.
“Thank you for your support and encouragement during the campaign and throughout my term as a Member of the European Parliament during the last two years.”
Mr Burke concluded, “I wish to thank you again and look forward to working with you in the future”.