After several months of speculation Michael Comiskey has confirmed his intention to seek a Fine Gael nomination for the next General Election in the new Sligo/North Leitrim constituency.
The Newtownmanor farmer confirmed that he has received tremendous support from people in the constituency.
“I have been approached by people at all sorts of occasions and I have been humbled by the confidence people have in me. There is a palpable desire among the people of north Leitrim not be left without a TD in the new constituency,” he said.
Michael has been actively involved with numerous local organisations over the past two decades and will now turn his hand to national politics.
He will be most widely known for his work with the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) where he has held a number of high profile positions including Leitrim County Chairman and his current position of National Chairman for the Hill Farming Committee.
Speaking to the Leitrim Observer, Michael said that he “has always used his influence in the IFA to represent the whole rural community, not just farmers” which he believed is vitally important for rural Ireland.
The Leitrim Person of the Year in 2001, he is no stranger to local and national government. Michael sits on a number of working groups including Comhairle na Tuaithe which was set up Minister Eamon Cuiv in order to resolve the recent disputes over access to land for hill walkers.
He also works with the ministers and officials in the Departments of Agriculture and Environment in his capacity as Hill Committee Chairman.
At local government level he is involved with County Leitrim Partnership, the Leitrim County Development Board and a number of other Leitrim County Council groups.
Michael is a strong believer in cross border co-operation and in his time as Chairman of County Leitrim IFA he forged strong links with his counterpart in the Fermanagh Ulster Farmers' Union.
He is now heavily involved with the cross border funding agency, Family Farm Funding, which seeks to support and aid small business initiatives and farm diversification.
He is also a member of the MED group delivering funding and training to farmers and people living in rural areas.
When asked what his main priorities as a TD would be he commented that he has long since been an advocate of any measures to stop the decline of population in rural Ireland.
“I would intend to put rural housing at the top of my agenda and ensure a fair deal for people wishing to build in their native place. I also have a keen sense of what needs to be done in order to ensure that the infrastructure of the North West is upgraded at the same pace as the rest of the country.”
He continued, “firstly, I must continue to talk to the people of north Leitrim and Sligo and let them tell me what they want and need.
“I do not think it will be easy to win a seat in the next election but I am encouraged by the support I have received so far and I am confident that the people want someone who is prepared to work hard for them,” Michael concluded.