An Taoiseach, Ministers Donohoe & Hogan launch Fine Gael’s campaign for the European Elections 2014

28th April, 2014

Driving the Recovery through Jobs, Stability and Growth

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, will today (Monday) be joined by the Minister for the Environment and Fine Gael’s Director of Elections, Phil Hogan TD, and the Minister for European Affairs, Paschal Donohoe TD, to launch Fine Gael’s campaign for the European Elections 2014.

Fine Gael is running six candidates across the three constituencies; Minister of State, Brian Hayes TD is running in the Dublin constituency; in Ireland South the Party is running Senator Deirdre Clune, Simon Harris TD and Seán Kelly MEP; and in Midlands North West, sitting MEPs Mairead McGuinness and Jim Higgins are running to retain their seats.

The Taoiseach is embarking on a nationwide tour as part of Fine Gael’s campaign for the Local and European Elections, when he will traverse the country to meet with as many voters as possible between now and polling day on May 23rd.

Speaking at today’s launch, An Taoiseach said: ‘These European elections are the most important for Ireland since we joined the EEC over 40 years ago. On May 23rd, Ireland will choose the women and men to fill 11 of the 751 seats in the Parliament. That’s a Parliament which will have unprecedented powers, with co-decision powers in almost every important decision’.

“So it is more vital than ever that we send the very best people to represent Ireland in Europe. A vote for the Fine Gael candidates is not only a vote for top quality representation; it is also a vote for MEPs who will have real clout. The Fine Gael MEPs will be part of the largest group in the Parliament, the European People’s Party, where they will have direct influence where it really matters.

“Fine Gael wants Europe to prioritise the issues that make a real difference to people’s daily lives. That’s why our national focus on stability, growth and jobs is one that should be replicated by Europe.  Europe supported Ireland during the crisis. Now I want Europe to support Ireland’s recovery.

“In Ireland, we have come through a tough period during which people made difficult and painful sacrifices to rescue our economy from collapse. While our economy remains fragile, there are clear signs now that these sacrifices are making a real difference. The Irish economy is growing again. While we still have too many people out of work, over 1,000 new jobs are being created every week.

“One concrete way of ensuring that we can build on this progress is to elect strong MEPs who will be strong voices for Ireland in the new European Parliament.”

Minister Paschal Donohoe said: ‘It’s now more important than ever that we send strong, committed and experienced politicians to Europe. That’s why Fine Gael is putting forward a team of six dedicated individuals who want to represent Ireland’s best interests in Europe’.

“As the only directly-elected EU body, the European Parliament is accountable to you, the voter, and it is essential that we have a strong team of serious politicians who can ensure Irish concerns are heard in Brussels. Since the last European Elections in 2009, Europe and its citizens have been through some very challenging times. Fine Gael’s MEPs played a vital role in shaping the reforms and policies that safeguarded the euro and will help to prevent the economic crash from happening again.

“At a time when the recovery is beginning to gather pace here at home, Ireland must maintain a strong relationship with Europe. As a small, open economy, our future growth is heavily dependent on what happens in Europe. Fine Gael MEPs will continue to advance the progress being made on job creation and tackling youth unemployment so we can bring more jobs, stability and growth to every community in Ireland.”


Note to Editors:
Fine Gael is launching campaign videos for each of its European Election candidates today, which have been produced by Fine Gael’s in-house digital media team. Please see the links below:
YouTube Playlist:

Links to each video:
Simon Harris:
Mairead McGuinness:
Brian Hayes:
Séan Kelly:
Deirdre Clune:
Jim Higgins:

You can check out more here:
· (@FineGael)

More information on Fine Gael’s European Election Candidates:
Dublin: Minister of State, Brian Hayes TD
Minister of State, Brian Hayes TD, is running for election because Europe matters to Ireland and the European Parliament makes decisions that affect all of us. Brian has 20 years of national political experience, including as a Junior Minister supporting Michael Noonan in the negotiations that helped Ireland get out of the bailout. He will use that experience to represent Dublin in the European Parliament.
As a Minister of State at the Department of Finance, he understands that strong representation in the European Parliament is vital to Ireland’s continued economic development, job growth, and the enhancement of our international reputation. Brian has established a reputation as a politician of real substance with a strong commitment to Dublin.
You can view a picture of Brian here:

Ireland South: Senator Deirdre Clune
Senator Deirdre Clune is Fine Gael Seanad Spokesperson on Enterprise, Jobs & Innovation. A qualified engineer, she is a former TD for Cork South Central and daughter of former Tánaiste, Peter Barry. A former Lord Mayor of Cork, she has held a number of senior spokesperson positions in Fine Gael in the fields of enterprise, research and innovation.
Deirdre wants to provide effective and principled representation in the European Parliament, knowing that this is critical to Ireland’s continued economic development, job growth, and the enhancement of our country’s reputation abroad.
After qualifying as a Civil and Environmental Engineer, Deirdre worked in that area for a number of years before she was elected as a TD for Cork South Central in 1997.
Deirdre believes in representation that makes a real and honest difference to people.
You can view a picture of Deirdre here:

Ireland South: Simon Harris TD
Simon Harris is a TD for Wicklow and East Carlow. He was elected in the 2011 General Election and is the youngest member of the current Dáil; he was honoured to nominate Enda Kenny to the position of Taoiseach on his first day in Dáil Éireann.
Simon first became involved in politics through his work as a disability advocate and is committed to providing a strong voice on issues relating to special needs and mental health. Before entering politics, Simon established the Wicklow Triple A Alliance, a charity to support children and families affected by Autism.
Simon is a member of the Public Accounts Committee, Secretary of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party and Co-Convenor of the Oireachtas Cross Party Group on Mental Health. Simon also sits on the Fine Gael Internal Party Committees on Health & Children, and on Education, Skills & Social Protection.
Prior to his election to Dáil Éireann, Simon was a member of both Wicklow County Council and Greystones Town Council, having been elected in the 2009 Local Elections with the highest percentage vote of any candidate in the country.
You can access a picture of Simon here:

Ireland South: Seán Kelly MEP
Seán Kelly is a former MEP of the Year, consistently ranked amongst the top members of the European Parliament in terms of work on behalf of constituents. He is very active in the areas of regional development, industry, research, energy, culture, sport, North American relations and consumer and data protection.
He was first elected to the European Parliament in June, 2009 for Ireland South, polling 92,579 first preferences. He is a member of the EPP Group, the largest and most influential Group in the European Parliament. Seán is a former President of the GAA and is regarded as one of the most progressive holders of that office in modern times, overseeing the completion of the Croke Park re-development. Seán is also a former Executive Chairperson of the Irish Institute for Sport.
You can access a picture of Seán here:

Midlands North West: Jim Higgins MEP
Jim Higgins MEP was first elected to the European Parliament in 2004, and re-elected in 2009. From Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo, he is a former Minister of State at the Department of Finance and Government Chief Whip. He was a Community School Teacher before becoming involved in politics and becoming a member of Mayo County Council.
Jim has represented Ireland with distinction on the international stage. He understands Europe and knows that effective and principled representation there is critical to our continued economic development, job growth, and the enhancement of our country’s reputation abroad. He campaigns strongly in Europe on issues which make a real difference to people’s lives.
Tá Jim Higgins bródúil as ár dteanga naisiúnta. Sa Pharlaimint, úsáideann Jim an Ghaeilge, chomh minic agus is féidir, ach go háirithe nuair atá sé ag labhairt sa seomra iomlánach.
You can access a picture of Jim here:

Midlands North West: Mairead McGuinness MEP
Mairead McGuinness MEP has championed agriculture, food safety, children’s rights, public health, disability and financial regulation in her work.
She was a lead negotiator on reform of the CAP, successfully challenging efforts to slash the budget. Her work on the demise of Equitable Life led to a UK funded compensation scheme paying out to Irish policy holders. She is currently leading on medical devices legislation.
First elected as an MEP in 2004, Mairead topped the poll and was similarly re-elected in 2009, the only candidate in Ireland elected on the first count.
Mairead was elected Vice-Chairman of the EPP Group in 2013, the largest political group in Europe. She is also Leader of Fine Gael in the European Parliament. An agricultural economist and food policy expert, she is a former MEP of the Year.
Prior to becoming an MEP, Mairead was a well-known journalist, broadcaster and commentator.
You can access a picture of Mairead here: