EM Ireland: the European Parliament numbers game
After five exciting days of counting, the 13 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) elected by people in Ireland have not yet been fully confirmed, and might not be for up to another month. This is because a full recount will be carried out in the Ireland South constituency, since only 327 votes separated two candidates for a seat. To put this in context, there are over 1.4 million registered voters in Ireland South, and almost 756,000 of them turned out (53%).
Following full confirmation of Ireland’s 13 MEPs, however, two of them will have to “play in the Europa League” as Virgin Media journalist Gavan Reilly described it, until the UK leaves the EU.
This was a special election campaign for us at European Movement Ireland. Ahead of the election, we held twelve public meetings around the country over three months: to encourage people to vote, and to debate the issues with their MEP candidates, (all 59 candidates across the three constituencies were invited to speak at our “Meet the Candidates” meetings).
Based on those events, it probably should not have been surprising that the Green party performed better than most pre-election polls had predicted, since climate change was a recurrent theme at our events. Other regular topics included the future of the Common Agricultural Policy, the EU’s role in helping develop national infrastructure, corporate tax, migration policy, humanitarian assistance in Africa and the Middle East, EU security policy, and how to make the EU more democratic.
Another welcome aspect at our public meetings was how often MEP candidates mentioned their European Parliament group affiliations, and indeed criticised the positions of other groups. Domestic issues were widely discussed too. But in general, most MEP candidates fused those national challenges with trying to find European solutions.
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