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Question: What's the one thing you think you could realistically achieve at European level?

Environmental protection, rural development and trade were listed as important issues for candidates.

In our audit of the Ireland South European election candidates, we asked each candidate to answer questions on nine of the most pressing issues facing Ireland and Europe in the coming years. 

What’s the one thing you think you could realistically achieve at European level that would affect people’s day-to-day life in Ireland?

Deirdre Clune

I think the achievements in the area of environmental protection at European level across the various sectors have done and will continue to affect people’s day-to-day lives in a positive way.

Seán Kelly

I have just finalised negotiations on the EU’s new €650 billion Investment Plan and secured a big focus on SMEs. I now want to make this work for Irish businesses and increase access to EU financing and funds, creating new jobs, particularly in our regions outside Dublin where it is needed most.

Andrew Doyle

Source: Nick Bradshaw

Ireland has received €44.6 billion in EU funding since 1976. We have received more funds from the EU than we have actually put in.

All of this has improved our lives in ways that we now take for granted, such as the freedom to live and work in other EU member states, stronger workers’ rights, along with more equality between men and women in the workplace.

The most important thing for Ireland and Ireland’s citizens during the next five-year ter, however, is for us to build new alliances. With the UK leaving the EU, we cannot find ourselves in a vacuum, cut off from important debates.

The big responsibility for all Irish MEPs now is to identify and build new relationships with allies in the Benelux, Nordic and Baltic countries so that we can continue to grow and position ourselves as a politically influential member state.

Liadh Ní Riada 

Importantly, I will continue to fight against insurance cartels and vulture funds whose thirst for profit damage the lives of people in Ireland on a daily basis and fuel the crushing cost of living crisis.

If re-elected, I would continue to fight for the banning of super trawlers and for the advancement of a single-use plastics strategy.

I will also seek to undo the damage done to the community development sector in Ireland by returning LEADER to a programme that is accessible, so that the funding goes where it’s needed. Only burdensome procedures, often created by our own government, means that millions in funding is not drawn down and this damages the community and voluntary sector.

Over the last five years, Sinn Féin has achieved a number of significant goals. After the Brexit vote, our diplomatic offensive put Ireland’s interests at the core of the EU’s Brexit negotiations. We were the first to present the case and push for designated special status for the north of Ireland in the EU post Brexit. We have been pushing for more and achieving support for initiatives to help create regional balance, whether it is through the WiFi4EU Scheme or advancing the interests of Irish coastal and fishing communities in the European Maritime Fisheries Fund.

I have been our group’s negotiator for both initiatives. We have achieved a great deal. It is just a shame the Irish government does not share our ambition for Ireland’s potential.

Mick Wallace 

If elected we would challenge the current situation where member states and public institutions are acting on behalf of corporate interests instead of those of the people they are supposed to represent.

We want to challenge the dominance that multinational corporations have over trade legislation, environmental legislation, labour rights legislation, financial regulation, and all areas where unfettered neoliberal capitalism has us locked in a race to the bottom in terms of the protections that should be in place to stop the rampant exploitation of labour, resources and the environment.

We need to advance democratic ownership of powerful corporations and financial institutions and start to affect decision making that works from the understanding that inequality and endless growth and not compatible with the future of human life on earth.

Grace O’Sullivan

The first thing when I get to Europe is I will become part of this Green Alliance which is a very strong Green movement.

My objective would very much be how we can decarbonise Ireland’s economy using funding from Europe. So there is funding there and I want to make sure we leverage every possible funding source to mitigate against climate change.

We have 11 years to turn the tide on the whole collapse of biodiversity and climate. So this would be a very strong focal point of mine. I lived in the Netherlands for years. I am a Dutch and Spanish speaker.

I understand living in European countries. So my idea would be to hit the ground running and look to what funding opportunities are available to support farmers, to support schools, anything that we can make to decarbonise. That would be a strong goal, to work on that area.

Jan Van De Ven 

To keep informing the people of Ireland about EU funding schemes for commerce, trade, the arts & education as they become available. To lobby the commission to make funding available for economic sectors negatively impacted by Brexit.

Peter O’Loughlin

Immigration affects everything. Housing, healthcare, culture, jobs etc. We’ll begin the national debate which we should already be having. This affects everyone in the country, even if it’s indirectly.

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Breda Gardner

As a former nurse, I would like to try and replicate in Ireland the healthcare models that work well in the rest of Europe. I’d like to bring this approach to housing and the environment too.

Diarmuid O’Flynn

Declare a climate change emergency and act accordingly, increasing investment in alternative energy sources, beyond wind especially – we’re going to need dependability and reliability, and wind provides neither; b) Fight from inside the European Parliament, on the ECON committee, for bank-debt justice for Ireland, on the ongoing destruction of borrowed billions by our Central Bank, the Anglo/INBS Promissory Note legacy (€4bn destroyed last year, €14bn since 2014, €14bn to be destroyed in the coming few years); Work towards encouraging agricultural production away from cattle and into horticulture – the benefits of this would be manifold.

Liam Minehan

My main thing is the organisation of Europe and I believe this has to be challenged everywhere. The main part of my campaign is to protect rural communities. If you look at the whole thing with broadband at the moment, it is scary with how it’s being done. Broadband has to be delivered. It has to bring with it development and taking the pressure off Dublin. There needs to be balanced regional development and not just urbanisation.

Sheila Nunan


The European Parliament will influence many aspects of people’s day to day lives, but none greater than how seriously we take climate action over the next five years. In the space of the next two five-year parliamentary terms, Europe must cut its carbon emissions in half.

The greatest legacy I could hope to make in the period 2019-2024 would be to ensure there is a majority in the European Parliament acting as a world leader on climate. 

Colleen Worthington

Europe gave us €490 million to spend on a new National Children’s Hospital, the largest sum they ever gave us for a single project.

The price tag on the project is now €2 billion and rising. In Europe, I will advocate for impactful spending. I want to stop the waste, and put that money into the projects it was taken from: a new hospital in Cork, upgrades to University Hospital Kerry and South Tipperary General Hospital, a new 60-bed unit in University Hospital Limerick to cut waiting times on trolleys, and more.

The Dáil voted 112-18 to get a quote on building a better hospital instead, and the government simply ignored the decision of the democratic body.

About the author:

Kathleen McNamee

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