Published: Mon, 10 May 2021
Seán Kelly MEP has welcomed the publication of a new Government strategy to increase Ireland’s representation in the European Union’s institutions and agencies.
“We are fast approaching the 50-year anniversary of Irish membership of the EU. To date, we have been very well represented. However, our numbers are starting to drop,” said Kelly, the leader of the Fine Gael delegation in the European Parliament.
“The Brexit negotiations showed us how important it is for the Irish perspective to be understood in the EU. We need Irish people in the EU institutions to ensure that Ireland maintains its influence,” he continued.
Mr. Kelly, who is a former secondary-school teacher, is working to increase awareness of EU career opportunities among students.
“A common misconception is that the EU only employs people from a limited range of professional backgrounds. That is not the case at all. The opportunities available are as wide-ranging as the work of the EU, and there’s a demand for everyone from scientists and lawyers to IT specialists and economists.”
“The Programme for Government committed to increasing Irish participation in Erasmus+. This will be key in encouraging the next generation to pursue a career in the EU. Not only does the program offer a chance to improve language skills, but it also broadens the perspectives of participants,” said Kelly, a vocal advocate of the EU’s educational exchange program.
“Languages have proved a barrier, as to secure a permanent post you need to be fluent in at least two of the EU’s 24 official languages. However, it’s worth noting that Irish is one of the official languages. As a temporary measure, not all EU documents are currently being translated into Irish. This is going to change at the end of this year, when Irish will become a full working language. As a result, the demand for Gaeilgeoirí is increasing”, said Kelly, who regularly speaks in Irish in European Parliament debates.
“A career in the EU is challenging and highly rewarding, as you’re working on behalf of almost 450 million people,” said Kelly, who has represented Ireland South as an MEP since 2009.