Week’s events; FAC, GAC, Prime Time & D7K

17th May, 2014

This week began with an early morning flight to Brussels, where I spent Monday deputising for the Tánaiste at the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) meeting and Tuesday at my own General Affairs Council (GAC) meeting that I attend monthly.

The FAC was dominated by Ukraine, as expected, as the situation there shows no signs of abating. The Chairman in Office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) – the Swiss President – Didier Burkhalter was in attendance and gave us a rundown of the roadmap the OSCE is undertaking. 

At the meeting it was agreed to expand Phase 2 sanctions. This saw 13 additional individuals being added to the list of 48 who have had travel restrictions and asset freezes imposed on them for violating Ukraine’s territorial integrity. This brings the total list to 61. Sanctions were also imposed on two entities that are deemed to have benefitted from the illegal annexation of Crimea in March. This is the first time companies have been added to the sanction list.

The meeting also reaffirmed the illegitimate and illegal status, in the eyes of the EU, of the ‘referenda’ held in Donetsk and, Luhansk earlier in the week. 

The General Affairs Council meeting, the following day, focused on the European Semester process, regulatory fitness (REFIT), climate and energy policy, Justice & Home Affairs guidelines, and the signing of Association Agreements with Georgia and Moldova. A press conference was also held to mark the tenth anniversary of the accession of the ten new Member States back in 2004.

The rest of the week was spent either in the Dáil, where the Guerin Report was being discussed, among other things, or engaged in further work as the Director of Elections for the Fine Gael Dublin candidate for the European Elections, Brian Hayes TD. As the elections take place next Friday, 23rd May, things are really ramping up. Minister Hayes and I held a photocall with a number of young people on Friday morning at St. Stephen’s Green to encourage people to vote for Fine Gael next week for continued economic recovery and the best chance for a brighter future for our younger generation (http://paschaldonohoe.ie/donohoe-urges-people-to-vote-for-job-creation-and-continued-economic-recovery/).

On Monday night, I featured on Prime Time, discussing the EU and Ireland’s relationship with it. On Wednesday night, I attended the Phizzfest ‘We need to talk about Phibsborough’ event where the Local Area Plan was being examined. This consultation period is crucial for local communities. Unfortunately, I had to leave before the meeting ended to head back to the Dáil for a vote. I was also on RTÉ’s the Late Debate later that night, which was hosted by Audrey Carvill, to talk about the future of the EU and the rise of political parties such as UKIP).

I was delighted to see this week that a Tenement Museum at 14 Henrietta St has been announced by Government. This will give us a greater understanding of what life was like and the conditions that were endured by the men, women and children of that time, 100 years ago, in North Inner City.

Throughout the course of the week I called in to speak to the people of the North Strand, Church Street, North Circular Road and St. Attracta Road to hear about the issues that are most pressing for them.

On Thursday evening, I attended a comedy night fundraiser for Gaelscoil Bharra in Cabra, which was held at the Naomh Fionn Bharra GAA Club. On Sunday morning, I’ll be taking part in the D7K in Phoenix Park which should see hundreds coming out to support Dublin 7 Educate Together.