I wish to pay tribute to Proinsias de Rossa who has indicated that he is to stand down as MEP next month.
Since 1999, the people of Dublin has been very well represented by Proinsias, a man who has given a lifetime to public service as a TD, Minister and MEP. Proinsias has been a tireless campaigner for civil and human rights, both at home and abroad, and in particular has been to the fore in campaigning for workers’ rights and for the rights of women.
He has championed the marginalised and less well off in our society, and as Minister for Social Welfare in the 90s, affected many changes including establishment of the first National Anti-Poverty Strategy. As an MEP he has played a leading role in trying to bring about solutions to the Israeli/ Palestinian conflict. He will be a hard act to follow.
I was deeply honoured to have been elected in March 2009, by members of the Labour Party to go before the people of Dublin as first substitute in the 2009 European Election, and I am delighted to have the opportunity now, to succeed Proinsias as MEP. I am looking forward to taking up the challenge of serving the people of Dublin. I believe that my experience as a City Councillor and particularly as former Lord Mayor of Dublin will be invaluable in representing Dubliners’ interests in Europe. In particular I look forward to taking up the place on the European Parliament Employment and Social Affairs Committee, and bringing to it, the benefit of my own experience from the Lord Mayor’s Commission on Employment which I established in 2009.