A strong track record
This is a profoundly uncertain time for the European Union and especially for Ireland.
No matter what form Brexit takes it will have an impact on this country. We will need people with experience and judgment to represent us in Europe in the period ahead; people with knowledge of the European institutions and, most of all, people who know how to be effective, how to achieve things – people with a willingness to take responsibility.
In any election there will always be an interest in the candidates views: what do they believe?
But voters also need to know what the candidates can actually do if they are elected.
The world of work is changing rapidly. Apps are replacing traditional means of providing goods and services. Value is being placed on our personal data and information, often without our knowledge. In this new environment technology is advancing at such a rapid pace that it challenges us all. New laws and new regulations are essential.
As a lawyer I have represented employers and employees before employment tribunals and the courts, frequently involving the interpretation and implementation of EU employment laws. I understand the world of work and how it is changing.
I understand that change requires patient negotiation and co-operation.
In government I understood that too. As Minister of State in the Dept of Health I devised the age-based plan for free GP care; brought forward the draft legislation on alcohol as a public health issue; and was instrumental in legislating for the ‘X case’, paving the way for repeal of the 8th.
As Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, I brought Ireland’s National Broadband Plan to the procurement phase, ensuring that rural Ireland will have full access to high-speed broadband. I also had responsibility in government for broadcasting, the postal service, and telecommunications policy, all heavily regulated sectors of our economy.
As Minister for Energy, I authored and published ‘Ireland’s Transition to a Low Carbon Economy’, the government’s blueprint for energy policy in the transition from fossil fuel dependency. I was and still am a strong advocate for renewable energy and energy efficiency, and for a robust policy response to climate change.
I represented Ireland at COP20 in Lima, and also attended COP21 in Paris. I was a regular contributor at meetings of the Council of Ministers of the European Union, and at other fora including the International Energy Agency and conferences of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
My experience as a lawyer will equip me well to be a strong advocate for Dublin. My experience as a parliamentarian and as a legislator will be of great value in navigating the complex Brussels bureaucracy, where change happens slowly, but where a concentrated and tenacious approach pays dividends.