Category Archives: Mairead McGuinness

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Irish women in the EU

Category : Mairead McGuinness

Ireland’s highest-ranking female EU politician, Mairead McGuinness MEP, Vice-President of the European Parliament, led a call for more women to take up senior positions within the European Institutions.

Addressing a gathering of policymakers, EU staff and stakeholders at an event to celebrate Irish Women in the EU, held by the Irish Permanent Representation in Brussels (2 December), McGuinness highlighted the contribution of Irish women to the work of the EU:

“The first step is to get Irish men and women into positions in the EU institutions and then to ensure that they progress along the line.

“There are traditionally more men than women in EU institutions at higher management levels and this is being addressed.”

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New poll: Majority of Irish citizens positive about EU – MEP McGuinness

Category : Mairead McGuinness

A large majority of Irish people have a positive view of EU membership at 72 percent and an even higher percentage recognise how Ireland has benefited from membership, a new Parlemeter poll released has confirmed, according to Mairead McGuinness MEP.

“This latest survey illustrates a rise in positive sentiment towards the European Union with overall support for membership increasing to 72pc in Ireland (55pc EU-wide).

“82pc of Irish people feel Ireland has benefitedfrom EU membership, above the European average of 60pc, which saw a 6pc increase since June 2013. This is based this view mainly on the Union’s contribution to economic growth, peacekeeping and a strengthening of security, as well as cooperation between Member States,” McGuinness noted.

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McGuinness: action needed to prevent radicalisation of EU citizens

Category : Mairead McGuinness

Over 5,000 EU citizens are known to have left Europe to fight for terrorist organisations in Iraq and Syria where they kill and many return to their home countries in the EU intent on bringing that terror to EU soil, Mairead McGuinness MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament said, following a debate in Strasbourg today (Wednesday).

“The radicalisation of EU citizens poses a real security threat. We need to understand why this is happening and how we can prevent it and we need to do this as a matter of great urgency.

“Today, I supported the Parliament’s recommendations on an EU strategy to prevent the radicalisation and recruitment of EU citizens.

“One measure would involve an EU-wide communications campaign highlighting cases of former European ‘foreign fighters’who have successfully undergone deradicalisation and whose traumatic experiences help expose the brainwashing methods used to hide the true reality of joining terrorist organisations,” McGuinness said.

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Stronger together

Category : Mairead McGuinness

German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the European Parliament, Strasbourg this week (Wednesday) for an historic address to the Parliament with the French President François Hollande. It was the first such joint address by German and French leaders since 1989 when President François Mitterrand and Chancellor Helmut Kohl debated the end of the Cold War with MEPs.

Before addressing the plenary chamber, I joined my EPP Group colleagues for a special meeting with Chancellor Merkel at which she spoke of the need for solidarity and understanding and for courage in pursuing our goals in other areas of EU policy.

“When EPP governments are in place, we see the light at the end of the tunnel,” she said, commenting on the recent election results in Portugal. She also highlighted the success of Ireland in exiting the EU-IMF bailout programme and spoke of how countries can emerge stronger after a crisis, having implemented the necessary economic reforms.

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Heart Health

Category : Mairead McGuinness

While this week’s survey on the nation’s health reveals that obesity levels in Ireland have fallen slightly, they are still much too high at 60%. The Healthy Ireland survey said four out of five people surveyed reported good health, but a further look at findings showed a low take-up of exercise, particularly amongst men.

Surveys such as this, which involved 7,500 households, are a good reminder to be more health aware every day.

I recently had the opportunity to meet Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis in Brussels to highlight the need to raise greater awareness about heart disease ahead of World Heart Day.

Scientific evidence shows that physical activity, a balanced diet and a good environment are all vital factors for a healthy heart.

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Arts in Education

Category : Mairead McGuinness

Creative Engagement exhibition opening
Collins Barracks, 3 October 2015
Speech by Vice President of the European Parliament, Mairead McGuinness MEP

This is an education for me today and a very pleasant one!

We mark the tenth anniversary of Creative Engagement – an arts-in-education programme organised by the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals.

Creative Engagement is a cross department and agency collaboration – co-funded by the Department of Education and Skills, the Department of Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Heritage Council.

It is a celebration of the arts-in-education in Ireland.

I was reminded in coming here today that we are not talking about art education, but a much broader concept of arts-in-education.

With arts-in-education, an outside artist or arts group comes into the school and works with students.

There are many fine examples of that creative collaboration here today.

The creative engagement comes from the interaction between the artist or arts group and the students.

The work that emerges from that interaction is wide ranging: from film and theatre to music and sculpture and dance.

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State of the Union

Category : Mairead McGuinness

In his State of the Union speech in the European Parliament, Strasbourg this morning (Wednesday), European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker showed realism, practicality and with his measures he has called for a more resilient Europe.

The challenge of migration was the focal point of Mr Juncker’s address today. Importantly, he stressed that the current influx of refugees is a direct result of conflict, instability and a terrorist threat in Syria, Libya and elsewhere. The President stated that Europe needs to be stronger in its Foreign Policy. Diplomacy has a key role to play. Globally, there is a need to address the ongoing sources of conflict and other nations must recognise their responsibility in helping these refugees too. Combatting human trafficking and the criminal gangs who profit on human misery is essential, on which Mr Juncker also voiced a commitment. In the long-term, I believe the EU can lead by example but the United States, the Arab countries and democratically governed African countries all also share the responsibility for resolving these issues.

Human dignity and a humanitarian approach were prominent themes in Mr Juncker’s speech this morning, echoing the public’s sentiment. Many Member States, including Ireland, were mentioned as having experienced persecution in the past and having witnessed so many hundreds of thousands or more emigrate in the past. We are all or have historical national experience of being refugees, Mr Juncker pointed out. Perhaps it is that feeling of solidarity that many European citizens are feeling at present that has led to the strong public plea for EU leaders to continue to offer refuge to those in need.

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Refugees and Migration

Category : Mairead McGuinness

The migration crisis hitting Europe is unprecedented. People are risking their lives to get to Europe. Many do not make it and die in the waters of the Mediterranean or in sealed trucks – abandoned by people traffickers.

The normal rules of EU migration policy are in tatters, designed for another time and not fit for purpose today.

It is not true to say that nothing is being done by the EU, perhaps it is more accurate to say that not enough is being done, because of the absence of agreement among the 28 member states about the way forward.

I believe that will change. It must. Sadly, the washing ashore of the bodies of two little Syrian boys has elicited a reaction among the public and political leaders. They are not the first little children to suffer and unless something is urgently done they will not be the last.

It is alarming to watch migrants at train stations shoving children through windows of overcrowded trains, unsure of where they are going or if they will get there.

The EPP Group, to which Fine Gael is aligned, supports responsibility sharing on a European level through a solidarity mechanism in support of those Member States where most migrants are arriving, especially along the Mediterranean coast.

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TTIP NEGOTIATIONS – CONCERNS RAISED BY SLOW FOOD IRELAND DEMOLISHED BY COMMISSIONER IN LETTER TO MEP MCGUINNESS

Category : Mairead McGuinness

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Maelstrom has described as “myths” concerns raised by Slow Food Ireland about the negative impact on high food standards of ongoing TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) negotiations between the EU and the US.

In a letter to Mairead McGuinness, MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament, the Commissioner thoroughly refutes the concerns raised by the movement.

Ms.McGuinness said. “The Commissioner clearly states she is fully committed to retaining the ‘precautionary principle’ which is written into EU Treaties.

“I welcome the Commissioner’s strong reassurance on this point and also her statement that the EU’s farm-to-fork approach will not be challenged by TTIP. She has stated categorically that the discussions on harmonising our EU food regulations with those of the US are focused on cutting regulatory duplication rather than anything more fundamental. And she highlights distinct differences between what she terms ‘distinct social choices’ and those which exist only because the systems are different and in practice could be made more coherent.

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EU INVESTIGATES CONCERNS AROUND CERVICAL CANCER VACCINE

Category : Mairead McGuinness

A review of the HPV vaccine for cervical cancer is to take place in Europe arising from concerns about possible side effects among young women, Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament has said today (Monday) following confirmation she received from EU Health Commissioner Andriukaitis.

The MEP who is leading Europe’s review of medical devices for the EPP, the largest political grouping in the European Parliament, took action following reports in Ireland of young girls experiencing a range of symptoms following administration of the vaccine. She said similar reports have emerged from other member states, in particular Denmark.

“The review being carried out by the European Medicines Agency, will look at available data with a focus on rare reports of two conditions, complex regional pain syndrome and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome associated with heart rate increase,” the MEP said.

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