The Irish in Strasbourg

EU-ParliamentIts been a busy two days so far during this plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Following the re-election of Martin Schulz (DE, S&D) as President of the European Parliament the focus turned to the election of the 14 Vice Presidents of the Parliament.

The Vice Presidents make up the Bureau of the Parliament, along with the President and Quaestors of the Parliament. They also chair sessions of the Parliament when the President is not present.

Of the 14 Elected Irish MEP Mairead McGuinness (EPP, FG) was elected on the first count along with five of her colleagues from the European People’s Party. McGuinness actually had the 2nd highest number of votes with 441 votes only being beaten by her Italian EPP Colleague Antonia Tajani (452 votes).

Tomorrow the focus turns to the committees where much of the work of MEPs take place and much horse trading and bartering goes on. The size of the committees where set yesterday for the 20 committees and Irish MEPs will sit on 9 of those. The committee with the highest number of Irish MEPs is of course agriculture with three MEPs on it followed by Environment committee on which two Irish MEPs will sit.

  • Budgets (BUDG): Liadh Ni Riada (GUE/NGL, SF)
  • Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON): Brian Hayes (EPP, FG)
  • Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL): Marian Harkin (ALDE, IND)
  • Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI): Lynn Boylan (GUE/NGL, SF), Nessa Childers (S&D, IND)
  • Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE): Sean Kelly (EPP, FG)
  • Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO): Brian Crowley (ECR, IND/FF)
  • Transport and Tourism (TRAN): Deirdre Clune (EPP, FG)
  • Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI): Mairead McGuinness (EPP, FG), Matt Carthy (GUE/NGL, SF), Luke “Ming” Flanagan (GUE/NGL, IND)
  • Fisheries (PECH): Liadh Ni Riada (GUE/NGL, SF).

No Irish MEPs sit on Foreign Affairs, Development, International Trade, Budgetary Control, Regional Development, Culture and Education, Legal Affairs, Civil Liberties Justice and Home Affairs, Constitutional Affairs, Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, or Petitions. How ever they may be appointed as supplementary members of those committees at a later point.

For reference here is the list of which Committees Irish MEPs were members of in the last parliament.

Come Out and Vote!

to_vote_logo_largeTomorrow the Local and European Elections take place in Ireland. Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm.

These elections will be the last Elections held before the planned referendum on Marriage next year. It is therefore very important that candidates who support the LGBT Community in Ireland are supported at the polls tomorrow.

To help find out who is supporting the community. ILGA Europe have asked candidates to sign the Come Out 2014 Pledge. Signatures were gathered from across Europe with 1,156 candidates taking the pledge. Also check out the Youtube Video

In Ireland 19 out of the 41 candidates have signed it. All 6 Fine Gael candidates have signed the pledge as have the 3 Labour and Green Party Candidates.

Surprisingly Lynn Boylan is the only Sinn Fein signatory on pledge and Mary Fitzpatrick is the only Fianna Fail signatory. These are both Dublin Candidates and it is also important to not that Dublin has the highest number of candidates who have signed it with 8, followed by South with 6 and in Midlands North West only 5 candidates have signed it.

Dublin

  • Lynn Boylan (SF)
  • Nessa Childers (Ind)
  • Emer Costello (Lab)
  • Mary Fitzpatrick (FF)
  • Brian Hayes (FG)
  • Paul Murphy (Socialist)
  • Eamonn Ryan (Green)
  • Brid Smith (PBPA)

Midlands North West

  • Mark Deary (Greens)
  • Marian Harkin (Ind)
  • Lorraine Higgins (Lab)
  • Jim Higgins (FG)
  • Mairead McGuinness (FG)

South

  • Deirdre Clune (FG)
  • Simon Harris (FG)
  • Sean Kelly (FG)
  • Diarmuid O’Flynn (Ind)
  • Phil Prendergast (Lab)
  • Grace O’Sulliavan (Green)

In the local Elections no such pledge exists, but a number of candidates up and down the country have shown their worth on LGBT issues. Whether by marching in Gay Pride Parades, being the Grand Marshall on some occasions. Supporting the LGBT groups within their parties and their communities. Sometimes it just supporting the events and individuals. Either way do take this into account when you vote tomorrow.

Ensure you vote goes to someone who will support you, who ever you are!

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Race for the Aras

Presidential flag of Ireland.
Image via Wikipedia

This year sees one of the most hotly contested Presidential elections in years. With candidates declaring from all parties and none, it will be interesting to see who actually makes it on to the ballot paper. It is notoriously difficult to get a nomination as Dana found out in 2004 when she attempted to run against the current President Mary McAleese. To be nominated candidates need 20 Oireachtas members to nominate them or 4 city or county councils.

The Party Candidates:

Fine Gael and Labour have a number of candidates who have expressed interest in being their parties candidate in the Presidential election. Within Fianna Fail no one has expressed an interest yet and Sinn Fein have abandoned their plans have holding the presidency during the 1916 centenary.

For Fine Gael, Mairead McGuinness MEP is the only declared candidate while Sean Kelly MEP is widely known to have an interest in a run. With the withdrawal of John Bruton, my money would be on McGuinness being the Fine Gael candidate. This year Fine Gael will use an electoral college system to select their candidate with votes being distributed between the Parliamentary Party, Local Councillors and the Party Executive. Only those who turn up on the day of the Electoral College will have a vote, so location could play a major factor. Pat Cox has also been linked with a possible backing from Fine Gael, but I can’t see him getting widespread backing,

For Labour 3 names have emerged in the fight for their nomination. Former TD Michael D Higgins, former Chef De Cabinet and current Barnardos Chief Fergus Finlay and Former Senator Kathleen O’Meara. Michael D would traditionally have been the favourite among the Parliamentary Party but with the expanded party and many of Micheal D’s supporters having stood down at the last election, he may find it difficult. Kathleen O’Meara is a name that isnt well known, so I have doubts that Labour would pick her as their candidate. As childrens rights is major issue at the moment, and a referendum on it coming up, Fergus Finlay is in a prime poistion to get the nomination.

For Fianna Fail no one has official announced for the election. Current Ireland South MEP Brian Crowley has in the past been linked with the Presidency and he himself has said he is interested. A name mentioned in the past has also been Bertie Ahern, but I think that has been discounted as an idea for now. A number of Independents have also been linked to possible Fianna Fail backing, with maybe a number of Fianna Fail TD’s nominating along with Independent Oireachtas members to show they arent a Fianna Fail candidate.

The Independents

A number of independents have declared their interest in running. Senator David Norris of course is the most widely known candidate and has the backing of one council so far (As nominations aren’t open he hasn’t been nominated). He has also ran into a bit of trouble in relation to an interview he did back in 2002 for Magill has now emerged and could cause him damage.

Mary Davies the Special Olympics Organiser and Managing Director for EurAsia has also declared hher interest in running. She would be quite well known from her current role and could do well if she can get a nomination. She has been linked with a Fianna Fail in the past in realtion to being their candidate, but has decided to go the Independent root.

Sean Gallagher from Dragon’s Den has also decarled his interest in running for the Aras. Having been linked to Fianna Fail in the past and been mooted as a possible candidate in Louth. I think he has realised that running as a candidate with Fianna Fail backing would be a death knell at this point.

Pat Cox, who hasn’t offically announced, is sending out feelers to the possibility of a run. He has been linked with possible FG backing. He is a former PD/Independent MEP and is a former President of the European Parliament. He ran the Ireland for Europe Campaign during Lisbon II along with Brigid Laffin and recently advised Fine Gael in the run up to the election.

Who ever gets the nominations this will be a very interesting race. Candidates vary in their ability and their appeal, so I think we can expect a very interesting few weeks in October/November.

List: Irish MEPs and their Committees

If your like me, you will want to know what committees in the European Parliament the Irish MEPs have been assigned to. I have gleaned this information off the europarl website and some of ye might find it interesting.

Committee on Development

  • Gay Mitchell (FG/EPP – Dublin)

Committee on International Trade

  • Joe Higgins (SOC/GUE-NGL – Dublin)

Committee on Employment and Social Affairs

  • Proinsias De Rossa (Lab/S&D – Dublin)
  • Marian Harkin (Ind/ALDE – North West)

Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

  • Nessa Childers (Lab/S&D – East)

Committee on Industry, Research and Energy:

  • Brian Crowley (FF/ALDE – South)

Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection

  • Alan Kelly (Lab/S&D – South)

Committee on Transport and Tourism

  • Jim Higgins (FG/EPP – North West)

Committee on Regional Development

  • Sean Kelly (FG/EPP – South)

Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development

  • Mairead McGuinness (FG/EPP – East)
  • Liam Aylward (FF/ALDE – East)

Committee on Fisheries

  • Pat “The Cope” Gallagher (FF/ALDE – North West)

Committee on Petitions

  • Mairead McGuinness (FG/EPP – East)

A boring list, but usefull information.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

The Next Election

Irish President Mary McAleese's entourage
Image via Wikipedia

The next nationw-wide election we are due to have in Ireland is (barring a sudden General Election) is a Presidential Election. This is due at the latest October 2010 2011, but I have a feeling President Mary McAlees will finish out her term. To run for President you need to be a citizen of the states, over 35 and nominated in one of the following ways:

  • by 20 members of the Oireachtas
  • by four county or city councils
  • or if an incumbent or former president if you served one term, you can nominate yourself

Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, and Labour can each nominate on members of Oireachtas alone. There is a possibility of a Green/Ind candidate as they would have 21 members if they all backed one candidate.

Of course we hear many rumours about who will run and that, but here are what I have heard and a few predictions

Fianna Fail

There is no secret here that at Senator Mary White and MEP Brian Crowley both want the nomination. There is always talk of former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern running but I don’t see him getting many votes outside of Dublin. I think Crowley will be the Fianna Fail Nominee.

Fine Gael

In contrast to Fianna Fail, the Fine Gael crowd dont seem to want to rock the boat. The names I have heard mentioned are Avril Doyle, Mairead McGuinness and Sean Kelly. All current or former MEP’s. I am not sure who the nominee could be. I’m thinking it could be Kelly vs McGuinness for the nomination.

Labour Party

Micheal D Higgins name normally features in these discussions, but age this time could work against him. Ruairi Quinn, who didnt get elected as Ceann Comhairle, could try and run for the presidency instead. Ivana Bacik also could be the nominee hoping to follow in Mary Robinsons footsteps. Of course Labour could try and get someone from the SDLP in the Noth to run, like Bríd Rogers. I’m putting my money on Bacik though.

Sinn Fein

As this term of office will include the centenary of 1916, Sinn Fein would love to hold the highest office in land. Gerry Adams, Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle Gildernew have all been mentioned as possible candidates. As there is a bit of rift in the party between North and South at the moment, the South might prefer to have Mary Lou as the nominee.

Green Party

Eamon Ryan wanted to run last time round, will he try to run again? Can’t really think of anyone else from the Green ranks.

Independents

Dana Rosemary Scanlon could try and run again for the Presidency. I wouldn’t put it past Kathy Sinnott to give it a run. David Norris probably wont run, but it would be great if he did. Mary Robinson could of course run again as she only served one term.

2010 2011 will be an interesting election. I wonder will I have gotten many right?

In the betting stakes according to Paddy Power, Bertie Ahern is favourite to be the Next Irish President at 2/1, he is followed by Brian Crowley at 4/1. Check out the rest!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]