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A candidate for Green Party. View party
Grace O'Sullivan
Green Party
EU alliance
Greens/European Free Alliance

Grace O’Sullivan is a sitting MEP representing Ireland South and has been a member of the EU Parliament since 2019. A former senator, Greenpeace activist and Irish surfing champion, O’Sullivan sits on EU committees covering fisheries and the environment. She is a member of the European Green Party group in parliament.

Question time
What do you deem the most important issue for the European Union now and what would you like to see happen in that area?

We have so much to tackle as the European Union and globally in the coming years; reducing emissions, tackling devastating biodiversity loss, protecting people’s quality of life amid widening wealth inequality, defending democracy and protecting the human rights of all.

There’s an overarching theme in the pushback against all this important work though, and that is the vested interests and big lobbies who have benefited and profited off the current systems for so long, and do not want to see any meaningful change for the wider, common good. Money and profit at all costs seems to be the mantra for too many, including those in the political system.

It’s frustrating to hear some representatives say they stand up for one thing but then speak out of the other side of their mouth with how they vote. I have supported higher levels of transparency in the Parliament and would like to see increased engagement between Irish media and our representatives in Europe so that people can see and understand more clearly what is happening here.

What group will you be aligned with in the European Parliament, should you win a seat? What do you see as their priorities?

I will sit with the Greens/EFA group, who I have worked with over the past five years. The group is a combination of green parties, the pirates, animal welfare and regionalist parties across the EU. As groups go, we are a strong cohesive voice in the Parliament, joined together by our common values. I have enormous respect and close-working relationships with my colleagues from across the continent, many of whom I have brought to Ireland during my term. As a group we have contributed and participated in all committee work and have had a strong impact within the work of the Parliament.

Our priorities for the next term will be to ensure that the EU plays a leading role in tackling the joint climate and biodiversity crises, making big business and polluters pay their fair share and that the EU functions as a political tool to protect and improve people’s quality of life, ensures their human rights and saves lives globally. The EU cannot be another agent of war, but a vessel for peace.

Why should someone vote for you?

All my life I have been an activist; campaigning against nuclear weapons, against the polluting of rivers, protesting for peace and saving and protecting the many species who call our planet home.

I entered politics slightly reluctantly just 10 years ago. What made me take the plunge was being asked by a close friend “As an ecologist, do you want to watch the whales, or save the whales?”.

It was this realisation that my 40 years of activism had given me the skillset and perspective to be an effective politician and negotiator, and so I ran for election and here I am. I am proud of my record as an MEP in this term, where I led on crucial legislation and always voted with the core principles of social justice, human rights and the environment in mind.

After five years in the Parliament, I feel strong and ready for another term to fight the good fight against vested interests and the massive lobbies that are present in Brussels, and to stand up for the people of Ireland South again.

connect with Grace O'Sullivan