Name: Frances Fitzgerald
European Constituency: Dublin
Preferred pronouns: She / Her
Party: Fine Gael
Have you held a previous elected position?
Yes. I have served as a TD for Dublin Bay South and Dublin Mid-West (where I was also appointed Tánaiste and Minister for Children & Youth Affairs; Justice & Equality; and Business, Enterprise & Innovation). I have also served as a Senator and Chair of the National Women’s Council of Ireland.
What are your reasons for running?
I’m standing to represent Dublin strongly and effectively in the European Parliament. My immediate priority if elected will be to ensure Ireland’s perspectives are best represented during the European Parliament’s approval of the UK’s Brexit deal. In addition to Brexit, I want to develop future infrastructure, help businesses and protect our environment. I also want to make sure that good childcare, education, support for the elderly and quality jobs are shared between all. I’m standing for both economic success and social progress.
What parliamentary group will you sit with in the EP and why?
If elected, I will sit with the European People’s Party group in the European Parliament. Fine Gael is a founding member of the EPP, and they share our pro-European values and our place as the party of Europe.
What do you think are the biggest issues facing young people in Ireland and what do you intend to do about them?
I think one of the biggest issues for young people in Ireland is mental health. While this is not an area that the EU has direct competence, I will aim to deliver an EU budget which invests in public awareness of positive mental health, mental health problems and de-stigmatisation. I also think that youth unemployment is still a problem for many young people, and I will advocate for enough funding to ensure that quality jobs are created for young people in Dublin.
What will you do to ensure funding for opportunities for young people (e.g. Erasmus & Youth Employment Initiative) is increased in the next Multi-annual Financial Framework?
I think that the budget for Erasmus needs to be increased and I will advocate for the tripling of the funds available for the programme. In relation to the DiscoverEU initiative as part of Erasmus, I will work to expand the programme beyond 2019 and ensure that an ‘inclusion and diversity’ strategy meets the needs of applicants. In relation to the Youth Employment Initiative that will become part of the next European Social Fund +, I will also advocate for the earmarking of funds for quality jobs in the next programme.
Any other comments?
As the first senior cabinet Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, I understand the priorities of young people and the ambition that young people have for the European Union. Through my work on the Children’s Referendum and the Referendum for Marriage Equality, I saw first hand the excellent contributions of young people and NGOs to making a positive change to the future of Ireland. Young people are also crucial to the future of the European Union and if elected, I want to work with you to build a sustainable and prosperous Europe.