A candidate must either be nominated by a party, pay a financial deposit or be nominated by sixty members of the public who are on the electoral register for that constituency. At the Smock Alley Theatre in Temple Bar this morning, a diverse group of sixty Dublin voters (assentors) gathered to collectively nominate Alice-Mary Higgins as a candidate. A Commissioner of Oaths was also in attendance to witness the forms.
Speaking this morning Alice-Mary Higgins said, “I chose this method of nomination because it reflects what I want for the EU, a more direct connection with the public. Europe is more than its institutions, it is made up of places and people and shared principles.”
“The Dubliners who have gathered here today are nominating me because they know I have a track record of championing the best ideas from Europe while also pressing for positive reform. If elected I will work to represent Ireland’s best interests but also ensure Ireland makes its voice heard in key European debates on equality, environment, economy and peace. We are in a time of change. While Brexit is centre stage, other important decisions are also being made. A new post-2020 EU strategy will soon be negotiated and this offers possibilities as well as dangers. I will be fighting for the inclusion of fundamental rights, climate change targets, social commitments and the Sustainable Development Goals in any new strategy. Europe has historically played an important role in improving quality of life in Ireland, raising employment standards and supporting equal rights. However, during the years of austerity, ground was lost and trust eroded. The problems currently facing communities in Dublin around housing, childcare, poverty and precarious work are echoed in cities across Europe. They have similar causes and demand collective solutions. To restore social cohesion and tackle climate change, we cannot rely on business as usual. Responding to these challenges will require imagination and investment.
If elected, I will press for better resourcing of public services and sustainable infrastructure and for stronger Directives on work-life balance, decent work and equality. I will also work to reform Europe’s economic mechanisms to better deliver for the common good. My recent Seanad bill to promote quality in our implementation of EU Procurement Directives is one practical example.
As an Independent Senator, I have worked to strengthen links with civil society and this is something I will continue if elected to the European Parliament. I see great positive potential in those campaigns and movements cooperating across borders on issues like workers' rights, gender equality or climate change. The building of new solidarities is one of the most powerful antidotes to any politics of division or hostility.
The next chapter for Europe must be written by its people, including the people of Dublin, I will be asking them to elect me as an energetic, informed and determined advocate for and with them.”
Senator Higgins will be formally launching her election manifesto over the coming week.