Seán Kelly MEP and Leader of Fine Gael in the European Parliament was joined this week in Brussels by Ireland South constituent group. Following an unfortunate cancellation of the proposed visit last month due to Storm Ophelia, MEP Kelly had the opportunity to welcome his visitors from Cork, Limerick, Clare and Tipperary and show them the inner workings of the European institutions and the work of their local MEP.
Among others, many farmers and teachers joined MEP Kelly on a tour of the European Parliament, where they engaged in a discussion on various issues, such as Brexit and its effects on Ireland, agriculture, energy and climate change, fisheries, Erasmus + and many others. The group also met Phil Hogan, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, where the Commissioner discussed plans on agricultural policy and how best to protect Irish family farming particularly in light of Brexit. IFA members in the group exchanged views with the Commissioner on unfair trading practices, budget pressure and funding strategies post-Brexit, the varying needs of younger and older farmers, rural development programmes, and more.
As well as Brussels, the group paid a visit to some of Belgium’s other beautiful cities and towns. The constituents travelled to Ghent, Bruges, and Ypres, where they went sight-seeing, took a trip to the various museums and enjoyed guided tours.
“Welcoming my constituents of Ireland South to Brussels is always a great opportunity for me. Although I spend 3-4 days a week in my constituency, the other days in Brussels are filled with legislative activities, various meetings and sessions. Therefore, it was a pleasure to have my constituents experience this aspect of my work as well.” MEP Kelly noted, “We have been discussing Brexit and its impact on Ireland, data protection and cybersecurity, national and international trade developments, among other things. I am very grateful to the group for coming to visit Brussels and spend time in the European Parliament with me this week, and I hope that their time here was as much of a pleasure as it was for me to host them.”