INDEPENDENT MEP Marian Harkin spoke out this week of her regret that her colleague in Munster, outgoing MEP Kathy Sinnott, has lost her seat in Brussels.
The two independents had worked closely on a range of issues, particularly in the setting up of a special interest group for carers in the European Parliament.
“Kathy and myself didn’t always agree on everything, but she was a very, very hardworking MEP,” said Ms Harkin.
Kathy Sinnott’s failure to retain her spot in Europe leaves Marian Harkin as the only Independent Irish MEP.
But the Sligo woman is quick to point out that independents also won a huge percentage – 18 per cent – in the local elections.
“It’s important to have a network of independents, and we will continue to stage national meetings to build mutual support,” she said.
Ms Harkin has repeatedly emphasised the importance of maintaining an independent voice, claiming it is a help when representing your constituents “not to be tied to party politics”.
But she says it also means that independent candidates have to work harder before elections as they can’t rely on a “core party vote”, which makes her savour her success all the more.
“It was very sweet not just to top the poll – but to take the first seat in the Northwest,” she added with a smile.