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There are mean comments on my body shape and sexuality keyboard warriors are alive and well; Rose of Tralee Maria on her election trolls.

Byline: SYLVIA POWNALL

FORMER Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh has told how she's been subjected to online abuse since declaring as a Fine Gael election candidate.

The 31-year-old, who was born in Boston to Irish parents, said she's been relentlessly trolled over her surprise decision to run for the European Parliament. She revealed: "Trolling and social media abuse increased tenfold based on the fact I'm now aligned to a political party. And I get that.

RIDICULOUS

"But a lot of stuff is ridiculous. A lot of it is telling me my resume isn't significant enough, I only won a beauty pageant and I'm famous for being famous and that's not impressive for a CV.

"There are some mean comments out there. I've seen one comment about my body shape and my sexuality keyboard warriors are alive and well." Maria, who became the first openly gay Rose of Tralee in 2014, said she chose Fine Gael because she feels that it's a "right fit".

She said: "I'm a paradox in that sense that I'm gay, believe in women's rights and am a big advocate for social issues, but I also believe in traditional values."

Maria said if she wins a seat she'll celebrate by getting another tattoo, adding: "I don't want to break Fine Gael and get anything that's too controversial." In a wide-ranging interview with Village magazine which is out tomorrow, Maria admits she would love to be leader of Fine Gael or even Taoiseach one day if the opportunity arises.

COUNTRY

And she puts the boot into Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald who she claims is not in the right frame of mind to run the country. She said: "I don't think anybody who stands behind a sign [saying England get out of Ireland] on St Patrick's Day in a big city like New York is in their right state of mind to bring this country forward."

Journalism graduate Maria is also critical of US President Donald Trump and as a big Obama fan says she's "disappointed" he's in office.

She said: "How and ever, we will see when 2020 comes. I'm really excited with that blue wave [of Democrats] that's coming across America right now."

Maria, who split from TV producer girlfriend Shauna Keogh last year, said she might not have won the crown if her sexuality had been public knowledge.

But she added: "I think we made great waves in lifting the blanket of what people feel the Rose of Tralee is and how that modern Irish woman is [perceived]."

news@irishmirror.ie COMMENT: PAGE 14

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TAKING A STAND Maria Walsh is a Fine Gael European candidate

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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 7, 2019
Words:443
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