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A candidate for Sinn Féin. View party
Kathleen Funchion
Sinn Féin
EU alliance
TD for Carlow and Kilkenny

Kathleen Funchion has been the Sinn Féin TD for the Carlow and Kilkenny constituency since 2016. She is the Sinn Féin Spokesperson on children, equality and disability and sits on the Oireachtas Children and Youth Affairs Committee. She previously served as the Sinn Féin spokesperson for education and skills and was the Chairperson for the Oireachtas Committee on the Good Friday Agreement.

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?

The EU is responsible for instigating 70% of Ireland’s legislation, making it an important level of governance that sometimes gets lost in the media.

Worker’s and social rights, children’s rights, the rights of people with a disability, climate action and defending Ireland’s neutrality are areas where the EU needs to take a positive lead. It is important that the EU remains the driver of social innovation and positive development, for communities throughout Ireland.

With regards to workers and social rights, the European Union plays a huge role in the advancement of the rights of workers. The Platform Workers Directive is a prime example of that. I would like to play a role in ensuring those institutions have the backs of workers, and not big corporate interests.

The EU needs to be strong on supporting national governments in the provision of public services, which have been under attack from centre-right governments and political parties across the bloc. Investment is vital and a Social Europe means more expansive social provision.

Our farming and fisheries industries rely heavily on the EU and their interests must be protected and prioritised to maintain a thriving rural Ireland. We also need to acknowledge the unique role of farmers in the Green Transition and to ensure that they’re supported. We can’t afford to abandon rural and coastal communities and towns that work so hard to preserve our unique rural culture.

The EU’s role in climate action has never been more important and it is vital that the EU leads in a just transition that works for citizens and sectors alike, not just for offsetting big profit polluters. The EU needs to tackle big business and ensure that the average European citizen is not the one paying the price of the transition.

It must also be remembered that the EU was established to avoid war in Europe and, although we see war on the borders, the armament of Europe is not the solution to increasing global instability. The EU must be a movement for peace in Europe and beyond. Irish Neutrality is the cornerstone of our international policy and must be protected.

Finally, Irish Unity is a huge priority for me and for Sinn Féin, there must be a plan in place to seamlessly reintegrate the north into the EU when unity comes. I will work to ensure the EU has a plan in place.

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

The EU is all about cooperation, working with others and reaching a consensus. In my time in the Dáil I have chaired two Joint Oireachtas Committees, both roles requiring a level of cross-party agreement and collaborative work that I can bring to Europe.

I believe my experience has best placed me to ensure any topic or issue I have the skills to bring together the knowledge, skills and expertise of people with opposing political perspectives to solve problems and create better outcomes in the interest of the people of Ireland.

I will ensure existing good relations with MEPs and political groups across Europe continues and I will work proactively for solutions that incorporate what is important for the people of Ireland South. We have not made commitments to any political groups in Europe. Sinn Féin representatives will keep our ear to the ground and align ourselves with the group that best reflects our values and goals.

Why should someone vote for you?

In Ireland South four out of the five MEPs are from government parties, who have not delivered for our people. The same government parties that have failed to deliver affordable homes; failed to tackle the healthcare crisis; and failed to stand up for ordinary workers.

Worker’s and social rights, children’s rights, the rights of people with a disability, climate action and defending Ireland’s neutrality are areas where I have a proven track record.

They are out of touch, don’t understand the challenges ordinary people are facing, and don’t have the solutions to fix them.

I am running in this election because I want to ensure the EU gets back to focusing on the things that matter to ordinary workers and their families – the cost of living, improving workers’ wages and conditions and supporting our farming and fishing families.

Sinn Féin MEPs will have the backs of our coastal and fishing communities and stand up for our family farms.

I will work to ensure the EU is once again a voice for peace, for human rights, for economic prosperity for our vital farming and fishing families, and is proactive on Irish Unity.

connect with Kathleen Funchion