Taoiseach Micheál Martin will travel to Strasbourg for engagements in the Council of Europe and in the European Parliament today and tomorrow.
Today (Tuesday) he will meet with representatives of the Council of Europe to mark Ireland’s Presidency of the body (from May to November of this year). He will also pay a visit to the European Court of Human Rights.
This evening he will join the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, in unveiling a bust of John Hume which has been donated to the Parliament by the Government. It marks the contribution he made during his 25 years as an MEP, and the inspiration he took from the European project in his work for peace in Ireland.
On Wednesday, the Taoiseach will address the plenary of the European Parliament, reflecting on the 50 years since Ireland decided to join the European Union, what membership has meant for us as a country and how we hope to see it develop in the period ahead. He also hopes to meet the Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament, who will also be visiting the European Parliament.
Speaking ahead of his visit the Taoiseach said:
I greatly look forward to my visit to Strasbourg, the seat of a number of vital European Institutions. Ireland currently holds the Presidency of the Council of Europe, a body which does vital work to support democracy, the rule of law and human rights across our Continent. I look forward to discussing its work, especially in the context of the war in Ukraine.
At the European Parliament I will unveil a bust to mark the career of John Hume, a giant of Irish politics, who drew such inspiration from the European project in his work for peace in Ireland. I will also have the honour of addressing the Parliament’s Plenary to mark 50 years since the Irish people decided to join the then European Community. That decision was hugely transformative for the country and I will be expressing my view that those looking to join the EU now, including Ukraine, should be able to benefit from the same opportunities.
Notes for editors:
The European Parliament is one of the three main EU Institutions, along with the Commission and the Council. The Parliament has legislative, supervisory and budgetary responsibilities. The Parliament is made up of 705 MEPs and has been led by President Roberta Metsola since January 2022. Ireland has 13 MEPs.
The Council of Europe is Europe’s oldest multilateral organisation, predating the European Union from which it is entirely separate, having a different function and a significantly broader membership. The primary purpose of the Council of Europe is to defend and strengthen Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law across its member states. The European Court of Human Rights is one of its constituent bodies. In 1949, Ireland was one of its ten founding members, and today it comprises 46 states. Russia was excluded in March 2022.