I am Saoirse McHugh from Achill island, Mayo, and I am the Green party candidate for the Midlands-Northwest region in the European elections this May. I am an environmentalist, a democratic socialist, and a grower. Climate breakdown is the most critical challenge that humanity has ever faced. However, it presents an enormous opportunity to the sometimes forgotten communities in the Midlands-North-West (MNW).
After acquiring my Bachelors of science in Genetics in UCD, I gained practical knowledge of the environmental challenges facing our planet by working with people saving seeds, planting trees, and restoring soil. Motivated by that I completed a Masters in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security in Lancaster University. I focused on the politics of food production and ended up working with the Irish Seed Savers Association in Co Clare where I became acutely aware of the fragility of our food system. This awareness led me to get involved with Food Sovereignty Ireland and I am also on the committee of the Organic Growers of Ireland.
I see the policies that govern how we interact with our environment as crucial leverage points in our fight against climate change and have engaged with the international panel of experts on sustainable food systems (IPES-Food) on creating a proposal for a Common Food Policy for the EU to replace the Common Agricultural Policy. I have been working with the community environment legal defence fund (CELDF) in the US on the possibility of getting a ‘Rights of Nature’ bill into the Irish constitution and have been relentlessly badgering politicians about issues such as climate change, community resilience, and biodiversity loss
As the green party candidate for the MNW constituency I will prioritize climate actions that will benefit the more rural parts of Ireland. I believe in the need for a just transition and a sustainable and resilient agricultural system and I know that unless everybody is involved and working toward the same goal we are doomed to a very difficult path.
Politics was never part of my plan and to be honest, I am afraid. More than fear, I feel determined and confident that I can be a progressive voice that speaks for the MNW and embraces positive change as opposed to resisting it. I’m exercising my citizenship and I encourage everyone to do the same.
If elected to the European Parliament I will become a member of the Greens/European Free Alliance
(Greens/EFA). The Greens/EFA is a political group established in 1999 in the European Parliament made up of Green, Pirate, and Independent MEPs as well as MEPs from parties representing stateless nations and disadvantaged minorities.
The Greens/EFA project is to build a society respectful of fundamental human rights and environmental justice, to deepen democracy by decentralisation and direct participation of people in decision-making that concerns them, and by enhancing openness of government in Council and Commission, and making the Commission
fully answerable to Parliament. To build a European Union of free peoples based on the principle of subsidiarity who believe in solidarity with each other and all the peoples of the world. The Greens/EFA aim to re-orientate the European Union, which currently over-emphasises its economic conception at the expense of social, cultural and ecological values.
The Greens/European Free Alliance is working for :
- economic and social reforms to make development sustainable for both human beings and the natural
world; a democratic process linking trade, security, economic and social issues to environmental, cultural
and democratic rights;
- high ecological, social and democratic standards to ensure the quality of life; solidarity, guaranteed
human and citizen’s rights for everybody, including people who have come from non-EU countries ;
- a foreign policy designed to resolve problems by peaceful means rather than by military force;
- improved structures for democratic participation in political decision-making, involving NGOs, Trade
Unions, citizens and civic authorities at all levels, with measures to ensure equal participation of women;
- guaranteed equal rights and opportunities, as well as cultural and linguistic diversity
- a policy of employment and redistribution of work with special attention to gender issues, in order to end
the existing unbalanced division of labour and share the workload more fairly between women and men, ensuring that women are fully able to take part in the formal labour market as well as in political life.
- the involvement of the relevant elected authorities that have constitutional powers in the decisions
of the Council of Ministers relating to matters that fall within their competence.
The Green Party in Ireland was formed in 1981 as a response to the damage being caused by human activities. We believe in the need to balance social and economic health with the health of the environment upon
which we are dependent.
Candidates for election and party policy are decided on by the members of the Green Party.
Our founding principles are
- The impact of society on the environment should not be ecologically disruptive Conservation of resources is vital to a sustainable society
- All political, social and economic decisions should be taken at the lowest effective level
- Society should be guided by self-reliance and co-operation at all levels
- As caretakers of the Earth, we have the responsibility to pass it on in a fit and healthy state
- The need for world peace overrides national and commercial interests
- The poverty of two-thirds of the world’s family demands a redistribution of the world’s resources
To read more about the Green Party or our policies see our website: https://www.greenparty.ie/
The Green Party, 16/17 Suffolk Street, Dublin 2, Ireland.
T: +353(0)1 679 0012