BLOG – February 2017

One of the nicer more interesting jobs I do is leading the Irish Parliamentary Delegation to the Council Of Europe. The Council of Europe was formed after World War 2 to keep the peace, protect democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Ireland played a leading role in its inception growth and development. We remain a proud and active member. I am always delighted with the dedicated and very active participation of our current and recent delegations.

We were in Strasbourg last week for the first of this years four plenary sessions. It was a busy week for us all. I presented reports on Bulgaria and Albania to colleagues. I took part in a breakfast meeting with EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policies. I made a strong case to him on Irish concerns with Brexit and our special position. I feel he absorbed it. The really important thing is that we miss no opportunity to make the case and this was a very good one. We had a get together with our UK colleagues where I again raised Brexit.

I spoke in a debate on Social Media and its regulation. It is so important to prevent cyber bullying, defamation, revenge porn, and misinformation. I was proud to be able to cite the commitment of Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald to legislation. The traditional media has well established journalistic standards and regulations. We need to extend this to our new electronic media. I am putting the audio visual of my contribution on my Facebook Like Page. I hope you have a look.

We have an excellent permanent representation in Strasbourg led by extremely able and very personable Ambassador Keith Mc Bean. He is Ireland’s Representative on the Committee of Ministers. The Secretary General of the European People’s Party in Strasbourg is Mayo woman Ms. Denise O Hara. She remains a great friend to Ireland. Ms Tina Mulcahy of the famous and very regarded Mulcahy and Ryan families heads the Youth Section of the Council Of Europe. The Irish Judge of the Court of Human Rights is Dubliner Siofra O Leary. She is making a big impression. We can be very assured that Ireland is making a good impact in Strasbourg.

I notice that the reputation of Ireland is currently very good. There is a collective admiration for our economic recovery and very specifically the halving of unemployment. Happily we are well regarded also in the area of human rights and the rule of law. This palpable good will may be vital capital in the years to come.

Senator Joe O'Reilly representing Cavan & Monaghan 2010. | An ExSite website