Writing Europe’s Next Chapter Together

While Brexit may be centre stage, other important debates are also happening which could help shape the future for Europe and our city.

Over the next five years, crucial decisions will be made on environment, equality, economy, housing, transport, care, the future of work and peace.

This is a moment of challenge and opportunity and it is a chance to think carefully and creatively about how we want to live together.

‘Europe 2020’ will soon finish and the EU is preparing to write a new strategy. It is vitally important that this strategy is framed by European Fundamental Rights, by the Social Pillar, by our climate change commitments and by the Sustainable Development Goals. 

We write Europe’s next chapter together!

Climate Justice & Biodiversity

We are facing a twin crisis on climate change and biodiversity and we need a joined-up response.

I have campaigned on Climate Justice since 2008 when I took a group of young activists to the Climate UN talks in Copenhagen. Now, a decade later, a whole new generation are demanding action, but we are running out of time.

The planet won’t listen to excuses. Action is needed now to meet and exceed the Paris targets for carbon reduction. We need systemic change and new priorities. Between 2013 and 2017, The European Investment Bank loaned €11.8 billion to fossil fuel energy companies. I will be fighting to get EU funds out of fossil fuels and into green energy and public transport. We also need resources to ensure a just transition so that the most vulnerable do not suffer the most over the next few years.

From the macro to the micro, I have also been fighting in the Seanad to protect our hedgerows and put the national pollinator plan on a statutory basis.

It is important that we also value the green spaces in our cities for pollinators, wildlife and people. Parks, allotments and our canals should be protected and enhanced.

Track Record

  • Campaigner for Climate Justice at 2008 UN Climate talks in Copenhagen
  • Long-time activist with Stop Climate Chaos
  • Led fight to protect Hedgerows and Pollinators, in the Seanad
  • Supported Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill and wider divestment campaigns
  • Co-Sponsor of Legislation on Microbeads and Marine Protected Areas
  • Substitute member of Oireachtas Climate Committee
  • Cycle advocate: consistently raised cycling safety, inclusion and infrastructure in Seanad

If elected, I will work to:

  • Get the European Investment Bank and ‘EU Projects of Common Interest; out of fossil fuels and into green energy and sustainable infrastructure
  • Stronger focus on environmental stewardship under new CAP
  • Just Transition and Climate Justice, real supports for vulnerable groups
  • Support urban green space, pollinator plans and wildlife corridors

Social City & Sustainable Communities

A city is about how we live together. We need more inclusive, inviting, public spaces where Dubliners of every age have opportunities for relaxation, creativity and participation. Investment in accessible public transport and safer streets for cyclists and pedestrians can make our city healthier and more equal.

Over the next five years, the EU needs to prioritise investment and funding for public services and social, sustainable infrastructure and Dublin can and should do better at accessing those resources.

A sustainable city is also about giving families the security and supports they need to plan their lives and put down roots. Community centres, cultural spaces, small businesses and families are being pushed out by escalating property costs. We need to clamp down on tax incentives which encourage speculators and to join with others across Europe who are pushing for more secure rent and social housing. Ireland also has much to learn from other European countries in terms of quality childcare and early years.

If elected, I will work to:

  • Support EU investment in public services and social, accessible, sustainable infrastructure
  • Push for redirection of EU Ten-T transport funding into public transport & cycling
  • Highlight Sustainable Development Goal 11: Cities and Communities
  • Support Dublin City applications to EU funds
  • Promote action on Dublin’s commitments under UN “Safer Cities for Women and Girls’ and implementation of the Istanbul Convention
  • Oppose any Directive to move ‘non-performing loans’ into secondary or vulture market

Track Record

  • One of only four members of the Climate Committee who voted for a 2:1 spend on public transport
  • An advocate for cycling, consistently raising safety, inclusion and infrastructure in the Seanad
  • Worked for better arts funding; participated in Dublin festivals and cultural events
  • Sponsored Bill to tax Vacant Sites and improved laws on land hoarding and eviction
  • Advocated for right to housing and targeted supports re disability or domestic violence
  • Worked on Action Aid  UN ‘Safer Cities for Women and Girls’ campaign

Employment & Equality

Europe has played an important role in raising employment standards and strengthening equal rights in Ireland; from the Working Time Directive to the ending of the marriage bar and  decriminalisation of homosexuality. 

However, in recent years, ground was lost in these areas. Austerity saw an erosion in pay and conditions, contracts became more insecure, and progressive new laws were stalled or abandoned.

For Europe’s next chapter we need a renewed focus on employment and equality. It is important that new EU Directives on ‘Work Life Balance’ and ‘Predictable Hours’ are followed through and strengthened

The future of work is changing and the European Parliament can provide leadership on access to work and quality of work, ensuring there is a focus on the care economy and security of contract.

The momentum for gender equality has continued to grow. Representation is important and we need a gender-balanced Commission, however we also need to shake up outdated systems. I will work closely with the European Women’s Lobby to promote and protect women’s rights across Europe and the wider world.

I will also press for wider equality-proofing of EU policy on issues like disability, ethnicity and age. We need to be intersectionalist and internationalist.

If elected, I will work for

  • Delivery of EU Directives on ‘Work-Life Balance’ and ‘Transparency and Predictability in Working Hours’
  • Right to collective bargaining and a clear definition of ‘employee’ across EU
  • More emphasis on quality employment criteria public procurement
  • EU action on Gender Pay Gap and Gender Pension Gap
  • Quality employment in the ‘care economy’ and affordable, accessible, early years care
  • Effective implementation of European Accessibility Act and Web Accessibility Directive
  • Equality-proofing of EU Strategy and the Multi-Annual Financial Framework

My Track Record

  • Member of Joint Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection and Employment
  • Supported and strengthened laws on gender equality and workers’ rights in Seanad
  • Elected to European Women’s Lobby Executive
  • Policy Coordinator, National Women’s Council of Ireland
  • Member of Irish Advisory Group, EU year of Equal Opportunities

Peace & Human Rights

Europe’s greatest achievement has been securing peace on a continent riven by centuries of war. As we know from our own Good Friday Agreement, peace is precious and it takes work.

However, in recent years Europe has neglected the building and nurturing of peace in favour of an ever-stronger focus on militarisation. Indeed, there are some within the EU who openly advocate for an EU army. I opposed the Irish Government’s decision to opt-in to the PESCO military alliance, as a step in the wrong direction.

In their very last meeting, the outgoing European Parliament voted to not have oversight of the €13 Billion European Defence Fund. I believe that is an unacceptable abdication of responsibility. In addition to the ethical issues the fund raises, there are also concerns about the sheer scale of this spending at a time when the EU faces urgent collective challenges in other areas like climate change. If elected, I will draw on Ireland’s proud history of disarmament, to examine and challenge the arms industry.

As chair of the Oireachtas cross-party group on Peace, Neutrality and Disarmament, I strongly believe Ireland’s best contribution to Europe is as a voice for peace and a champion for Human Rights. 

Ireland can and should also stand up for the rights of women and the LGBT community when they are attacked or undermined.

As an executive member of the European Parliamentary Forum on Sexual and Reproductive Rights, I am already actively working with parliamentarians from many other countries to challenge the far right and their agenda of division or discrimination. I want the European Parliament to protect the core principles and values of the UN and EU.

If elected, I will work to:

  • Protect Ireland’s neutrality and promote our role as peacebuilders
  • Demand EU Parliament oversight of the €13 Billion EU Defence Fund
  • Examine and challenge the arms industry, including autonomous weapons
  • Seek human-rights review of EU border activities and ‘Immigration Control’ deals
  • Press for action on EU states who seek to undermine Fundamental Rights

My Track Record

  • Chair of Oireachtas Peace, Neutrality and Disarmament Group
  • Opposed Government decision to opt-in to the PESCO military alliance
  • Co-sponsored legislation on Family Reunification and Occupied Territories
  • Elected to European Parliamentary Forum on Sexual and Reproductive Rights
  • Long-time Campaigner on Peace and Human Rights
  • Member of successful Coalition to Ban Cluster Bombs – winner of 2008 Tipperary Peace Award

Economic Reform & Progressive Policies

Ireland has benefited greatly from the single market and the free and easy movement of goods and services it allows. However, the EU is not just a market, it’s also a union of people and communities across a continent.

Economic policies in recent years neglected some of the most important aspects of that shared project. EU institutions often seemed more interested in market sentiment then public confidence or our shared social fabric. Austerity policies strained that fabric and hurt communities.

To rebuild trust, we need to make sure EU institutions listen more to citizens and less to corporate lobbyists.

An overly narrow interpretation of state aid rules should not be allowed to get in the way of the public investment needed to restore social cohesion and tackle climate change. Exceptions could and should be made in areas like public housing and transport.

The right to regulate in areas like health, environment and employment is important. Governments should be able to respond to legitimate concerns from citizens without finding themselves being sued for ‘lost future profits’. We need new trade deals that don’t include unnecessary hostages to fortune like corporate courts or the rachet clause.

If elected, I will work for:

  • Reform of EU Semester process to strengthen long-term goals on the social pillar and sustainable development. Review of state aid rules to allow greater scope for strategic public investment
  • A new trade mandate and trade deals which do not include investor courts
  • Progressive interpretation of EU Procurement laws to reward quality companies

My Track Record

  • Introduced Seanad Bill to promote quality in public procurement and tackle lowest bidder culture
  • Introduced successful Seanad motion on EU-Canadian trade deal and investor courts
  • Co-founded Better Europe Alliance to engage with and reform the Semester process
  • Former Socioeconomic spokesperson for executive of European Women’s Lobby

Democratic Participation & Digital Empowerment

We should always be seeking ways to deepen and widen democracy. Irish people are proud to be members of the European Union, but many would like to know more about and contribute more to its decision-making. It is true that the EU needs to get better at communicating with citizens, but it also needs to get better at listening to their concerns and ideas.

Europe is more than its institutions, it is about people, place and shared principles. Pan-European movements for workers’ rights, gender equality and climate action are a hopeful and healthy sign. The building of new solidarities across borders is one of the greatest antidotes to the politics of division or hostility. 

Europe’s next chapter must be written by its people. If elected, I will press for the deepening and widening of democracy and open up new opportunities for Dubliners to make themselves heard in important decisions and connect with other communities across the EU.

We should all have a say in shaping the spaces that we share: workplace, community, city and country. That includes online spaces. Over recent years I have worked with other parliamentarians across Europe to lead the debate around data protection, privacy rights and online regulation.

Ireland is at the frontline in terms of implementing GDPR and many of the fines for companies who break the rules will be paid here. I want 10% of any money paid in GDPR fines to go into a fund to bridge the digital divide, improve online safety, support community coding and encourage people of all ages to be more empowered in their use of the internet.

If elected, I will work to:

  • Open up EU policy-making and push for better consultation and engagement.
  • Ensure that upcoming Citizens’ Assembly on future of Dublin has a European dimension
  • Host twice-yearly events for community activists from Dublin and across Europe
  • Host quarterly public forums on the decisions coming up in Brussels
  • Support vote at 16 for European elections
  • Support effective implementation of GDPR and the new Web Accessibility Directive
  • Ringfence 10% of fines paid under GDPR for digital literacy and online empowerment

My Track Record

  • Member of Vótáil 100 Committee and Oireachtas Women’s Caucus
  • Advocate and campaigner for Seanad Reform
  • Co-sponsor of legislation to lower voting age to 16 in EU and Local elections.
  • Fought for UK citizens resident in Ireland to stay on European register post-Brexit
  • Led Oireachtas debate on Data Protection and Data Sharing Bills. Won significant amendments including introduction of fines for public bodies who break rules
  • Expert Speaker on ‘Big Data’ at World Forum on Democracy