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News update from Seán Kelly MEP, Leader of the Fine Gael Delegation in the European Parliament.

 

A Chara,
 
Welcome to my September 2017 newsletter. This past month has been filled with productive meetings and important reflection on a variety of topical issues. Travelling between Ireland, Brussels and Strasbourg I have had a very active few weeks. Below you can read all about the work I have been doing both at home and in the European Parliament during this time.


As always I am continuing to work on a wide range of issues on your behalf and if I can be of any assistance to you at any time, please do not hesitate to contact me.



Is mise le meas,
Seán

Parliamentary meetings
 
Brexit Chief Negotiator Guy Verhofstadt
 
The Fine Gael delegation met with the European Parliament’s Chief Negotiator for Brexit Guy Verhofstadt in Strasbourg. We discussed the on-going negotiations and how to protect Ireland's interests going forward, as well as the potential options for the European Parliament after Britain's exit - for example how seats could be redistributed. MEP Verhofstadt visited the Dáil Eireann later in the month, and highlighted that the European Union will not see Ireland suffer from Britain's decision to leave.

Bottom, left: The Fine Gael delegation and I discussing Brexit with  MEP Guy Verhofstadt
Bottom, right: An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with
MEP Guy Verhofstadt before his address to the Dáil
Speaking in the Plenary on the importance of prioritising Ireland's interests in light of Brexit
Fine Gael in the European Parliament

The Fine Gael Delegation in the European Parliament organised a set of high level meetings in Brussels for FG Parliamentary Party members. The two days were packed with different meetings, including a meeting with EPP Chairman Manfred Weber, MEP Gonzalez Pons (EPP Brexit spokesman), MEP Brok, Committee of Regions and several industry stakeholders, including IFA, IBEC, ICOS and BPFI.


Later in the month I discussed the European Union's strong support for Ireland with Minister McEntee at the Fine Gael Brussels Branch meeting  (pictured: bottom right), and heard further insights on Ireland's prosperous future from the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly (pictured: bottom left).


Pictured, below: top left EPP Chairman Manfred Weber and I; Pictured, top right: (L-R) Senators Frank Feighan and Maria Byrne, Noel Rock TD, Martin Haydon TD, EPP Chairman Manfred Weber, Maria Bailey TD, Senators Joe O’Reilly and Neale Richmond.

Meeting Freight Transport Association Ireland

Representatives of the Freight Transport Association Ireland visited me in the Parliament this month (pictured: below). We discussed, among other things, the need to minimise the impact of Brexit on the Irish freight and logistics industry. It is imperative to prevent, for example, potential delays crossing borders, as this would take a major toll on products that these companies are transporting across Europe. 
It is important that the negotiations move towards finding solutions for Ireland as soon as possible to remove this current uncertainty. #ExitFromBrexit

Events
Dairygold Nutritionals Campus

I was delighted to be present for the opening of Dairygold's new state of the art Nutritionals Campus in North Cork this month. The opening of this wonderful facility should instill great confidence in farmers in the surrounding areas.


Pictured, left: DairyGold CEO Jim Wolfe
and Ger O' Sullivan.
Fine Gael Think-In
 
The Fine Gael Think-In was opened by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Tipperary. I was very pleased that the two-day event was hosted in Clonmel, where I recently opened my constituency office! Fine Gael members came together to reflect on the issues faced during the year, and to define the best possible outcomes we can achieve for Ireland and our constituents.
All of the attendees for Fine Gael Think-In 2017
Minister for Education Richard Bruton TD, Pat Deering TD, Minister of State David Stanton TD, Minister of State and Government Chief Whip Joe McHugh TD, Minister for Employment and Social Protection Regina Doherty TD, Senator Frank Feighan, Kate O'Connell TD
With An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar
The Ploughing Championships
 
The Ploughing Championships has been one of the highlights of Irish tradition since 1931 and its one of my favourite times of the year. I was interviewed by Claire Mc Cormack in the AgriLand stand (bottom right), where we spoke about the issues of farm labour shortages, Brexit, CAP reforms and the beef grading system. It was a pleasure as always to see the mighty Paul O Connell (top) and of course the Clare farmer, Tom Clair, whose cow had four identical calves this year (bottom left).

European Energy Forum

I was very glad to take part in the European Energy Forum, which highlighted the importance of efficient energy use. As Ireland’s representative on the Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) committee, I ensure that Ireland’s interests are always well represented in energy policy discussions.

Science for Development seminar

The Science for Development seminar was an excellent event, and it was clear that Ireland is keen for Europe to foster closer collaborations with the African continent for future science development. These discussions were most productive, particularly ahead of the Africa-EU Summit later this year. #ScienceForDevelopment

Pictured, right: Triona McCormack,
Director of Research, UCD
Kerry Primary Schools' Technology Integration

The Education Centre in Tralee (pictured: below) held a discussion forum on technology integration on primary schools in Kerry. This coincided with the publishing of the Digital Learning Framework for Schools, issued by the Minister for Education, Richard Bruton this month. This framework is part of a strategy aimed at further integrating technology and digital learning tools in primary and post primary schools by 2020. Ireland has been a leading player in the development of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry and we are a major exporter of hardware and software. We must ensure that young people are given the opportunity to develop ICT skills from an early age, especially in light of the huge demand in this sector in Europe with half a million ICT jobs to be filled by 2020.

 

European Week of Sport

The 23rd September marked the start of the European Week of Sport! Sport Ireland was our national coordinating body, and over 400 events took place nationwide, as well as several flagship initiatives. One of these excellent initiatives was the #BeActive Schools’ Campaign, which aimed to include school communities in a Run Around Europe challenge. Congratulations to all of the pupils and teachers who got involved. Schools were asked to pick a European capital city and to work together to run the distance from Dublin to that city (1 lap = 1km). There’s a huge amount of cross-curricular learning potential in initiatives such as this and of course it’s a resource that can be used throughout the school year, not just during the European Week of Sport.

 

The European Week of Sport is a great initiative promoting sport and physical activity! #BeActive
Freedom Drive 2017

Freedom Drive is one of the key campaigns of the European Network on Independent Living. Campaigns such as these further highlight the urgent need for Ireland to protect the rights of those with disabilities such as Dermot Hayes (pictured: left), and to finally ratify the United Nations
Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD). #FreedomDrive

 

Pop-Up Gaeltacht

Bhí ‘Pop-Up Gaeltacht’ againn anseo sa Bhrúiséil. Ba déis iontach é an Ghaeilge a labhairt agus a spreagadh. Mar is eol daoibh úsáidtear an Ghaeilge mar theanga anseo san Aontas Eorpach. Bhain an Ghaeilge aitheantas amach mar theanga oifigiúil agus oibre ar an 1 Eanáir 2007. De bharr sin tá grúpa mór Gaeilgeoirí anois sa Bhrúiséíl agus is iontach an rud é teacht le chéile chun an teanga a chur chun cinn!

Tidy Towns
 
Congratulations to Ireland-South constituents of Birdhill, Co. Tipperary (pictured: left) which won Supervalu Tidy Towns Title 2017 and the Title of Ireland's Tidiest Village! A very well done  also to Clonakility, Co. Cork, Ireland's Tidiest Small Town and  to Ennis, Co. Clare which was named Ireland's Tidiest Large Urban Centre.

All-Ireland Minor Final
 
There was great success for Kerry at the All-Ireland minor final this month. An excellent game was played in Croke Park - huge congratulations to Captain and fellow Fossa man David Clifford (pictured: right) and all the team.
 

News from Brussels to Ireland
 
Renewable Energy Directive

Further revision of the Renewable Energy Directive has been on-going this month. As lead negotiator for the EPP Group, I have been working rigorously for the progress of this Directive since the beginning of this year. It is crucial for the promotion of renewable energy resources in the EU, establishment of national targets, and reduction of harmful emissions in the energy sector, thus tackling climate change. Also, as a key part of the Clean Energy Package, we are looking to improve the efficiency and competition in the energy system, and thereby reducing energy costs for all users.

Below, left: Leading the discussion with other rapporteurs for the Renewable Energy Directive
Below, right: Speaking at the
Eurofuel Thinking Ahead event. The event focused on Renewable Energy in Heating and Cooling - a particularly big challenge for Ireland!
Wi-Fi access for all!

This month the Members of the European Parliament approved a wonderful initiative called WiFi4EU, which will regulate the promotion of internet connectivity in local communities. Free WiFi terminals in public spaces will be financed, improving access to the Internet for all citizens.

We must aim to bridge the digital divide across Europe, and WiFi4EU will contribute significantly to reducing this divide. 
Parts of my constituency see some of the lowest broadband speeds in Ireland, so I am delighted that connectivity in both rural and urban areas will be greatly helped with this initiative.
Speaking in the European Parliament on Internet connectivity in local communities
#EUCanBeFireSafe

As you all know, a great tragedy occurred  in June when a fire in Grenfell Tower in London killed at least 80 people, and injuring more than 70 others. We must take action at EU level to ensure the safety of buildings and develop a European Fire Strategy. The people at Fire Safe Europe - FSEU are doing some wonderful work on this issue and are currently seeking signatures on their petition, which you can find here: http://bit.ly/2xJ9FQQ. There are over 5,000 fire incidents in Europe each day; 70,000 fire-related hospitalisations each year; it is vital that we work to ensure the utmost safety of EU citizens in the buildings in which they live.
#EUCanBeFireSafe
Robust cybersecurity needed to counter attacks

In his State of the European Union speech to MEPs in Strasbourg this month, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker listed improving cybersecurity as a priority and proposed new tools to combat cyber-attacks. I welcome any steps towards a robust common EU cybersecurity strategy to be able to repel cyber-attacks against our energy supplies, aviation sector, commercial sectors, and governments.
Read more here...

Ibrahim Halawa acquittal

Irishman Ibrahim Halawa was acquitted of all charges by the Egyptian authorities this month. Having raised the issue in the European Parliament throughout the last two years, I am relieved that we finally have a verdict in this case, which with all the postponements has turned into a saga. Whatever the circumstances, every person is entitled to fair and independent hearing. Between constant postponements and the use of the mass trial format, Ibrahim has been denied his basic human rights over the past four years.

Read more here...
It has been a very productive month indeed! I look forward to the coming months both at home and in the European Parliament where I continue to work on behalf of the people of Ireland South. If you have any enquiries please do not hesitate to contact me.

Slán agus Beannacht, 
Seán Kelly

 


Copyright © *2017* *Sean Kelly MEP*, All rights reserved.

Do not hesitate to contact me:
sean.kelly@europarl.europa.eu

Brussels Office:
ASP 08F349,
European Parliament,
Rue Wiertz 60, 1047,
Brussels, Belgium


Constituency Office:
43a Upper Gladstone Street,
Clonmel,
Co. Tipperary


Or visit my website:
http://www.seankelly.eu/
https://twitter.com/seankellymep?lang=en
https://www.facebook.com/sean.kellymep/


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Seán Kelly MEP, European Parliament · 4 Harbour House, Locke Quay · Dublin Road · Limerick, · Ireland