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Grace O'Sullivan
Grace O'Sullivan
Green
Party 7


Incumbent : No

Main message to voters:

Climate change and the collapse in biodiversity are the primary challenges facing Ireland, Europe and the world. The EU Parliament is the best forum for change in this regard, to fight for real change. I want to see Ireland leading the way in this+in making the EU fairer+more transparent.

Election history:

European Candidate 2014 Senator 2016-Date

Priorities:

  1. Other Tackling climate change and minimising the damage from human activities on the environment will inform my approach to all policy areas.
  2. Other I want to see transport alternatives to cars and planes subsidised, supported and taken seriously in national planning, and EU funding applications
  3. Other I come from the community and voluntary background, and belief unlocking local talent and initiative is a key part of tackling Ireland's challenges

Candidate positions on the election issues:

EU

Ireland should remain in the EU

Some people believe that Ireland should leave the EU, particularly in the wake of Brexit, as the UK is our most important trading partner. Others argue that EU membership continues to be beneficial for Ireland, both economically, socially, and in terms of our political influence.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"Membership has contributed enormously to our development +has helped us in our journey to becoming a strong, independent, modern State. It’s through that we can continue to benefit into the future–in tackling climate change, trading sustainably, fighting economic inequality and exchanging ideas"

European integration has gone too far

Some people argue that the EU interferes too much in the affairs of member states, and powers should be returned to the national level. Others argue that further integration is necessary to tackle shared challenges like climate change and internet privacy rights and for economic stability.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion

Ireland should cooperate with other EU member states on defence

Ireland has recently joined the PESCO framework, which seeks to increase defence cooperation in the EU. It commits members to work together on military planning and to increase defence spending. It does not create an EU army, but some oppose it because they see it as a step in that direction.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"Ireland’s best asset is our neutrality, opening doors+allowing us to influence international affairs more than the small contribution we can make militarily. That's an asset to the EU as well. Increased defence spending runs the risk of bolstering a profit-focused European arms industry. "

If an EU member state is overwhelmed with asylum applications, other member states (including Ireland) should share the burden

There is an unequal distribution of asylum seekers across EU member states. In 2015 the EU introduced a one-off relocation scheme, moving asylum-seekers from Greece and Italy to other member states (including Ireland). Some have argued that a permanent relocation scheme should be introduced.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"The Dublin system has almost torn the EU apart during the migrant crisis. We have an obligation to help share the challenge, and to better integrate and assist those fleeing crisis and harm."

Ireland should defend its low corporation tax in the face of pressure for EU harmonisation

Ireland's low corporate tax makes it an attractive location for multinationals, which are a major employer in Ireland. It has also led to accusations of Ireland being a ‘tax haven’. The European Commission has proposed harmonising corporate tax rules to create a level playing field across the EU.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"Ireland is expending big political capital in the fight to maintain the 12.5% rate at any cost. We want to see full enforcement of the rate+the closing of remaining loopholes. Ireland should only consider a common tax framework with EU acceptance of a ‘discount’ to recognise our peripheral status"

Brexit

In the wake of Brexit, a referendum should be held on Irish unity

The Good Friday Agreement allows for a unification referendum (‘border poll’) in Northern Ireland and the Republic, if there is evidence that it is desired by a majority. Some have argued that, in light of Brexit, this should now be put on the agenda. Others believe that it would be divisive.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"The Green Party is an all-island political party. Under the Good Friday agreement, this is a matter for the people of Northern Ireland. If that is the wish of a majority, we do not oppose it. The priority at the moment is to minimise the damage from Brexit and maintain the hard won peace."

Ireland should refuse to install checks on the border with Northern Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, Ireland would have different customs and regulatory requirements to Northern Ireland. The EU may require that Ireland establish border checks with Northern Ireland to ensure the integrity of the EU’s single market.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"We must do everything possible to prevent a customs border, but as an EU member state that has been so strongly supported by our allies during the Brexit process, we have an obligation to adhere to the law in this regard. Ireland should all possible to avoid a hard border scenario in the meantime. "

Tax and Spending

Wealthy people should have to pay more tax than they do now

Some believe that there should be greater redistribution of wealth from rich to poor, achieved through taxes on income or wealth. Others believe that taxes are high enough already, and increases could be bad for the economy.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"Inequality in Ireland is growing+must be tackled; taxation is one of the best tools we have to do this. Ireland has some of the lowest tax rates in the OECD. We have to develop a stable tax base to allow government invest in better public services that are a means of tackling inequality+disadvantage"

Increases in public spending should be prioritised over tax cuts

During the recession, new taxes were introduced (e.g. USC) and spending was cut on public services. Some argue that the government should now cut taxes to put money back into people’s pockets. Others argue that the priority should be to increase public spending in areas such as housing and health.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"Public services in Ireland are underfunded; our challenge is not to cut funding further but rather to stabilise the tax base to allow us refocus budgetary planning for decades. We have got to invest more in a multi-annual programme of building the capacity of those delivering these services."

Environment and transport

Increases to carbon tax should be opposed

Carbon tax is a tax on fossil fuels such as oil, petrol, diesel, and gas. Currently, Ireland has a carbon tax of €20 per tonne of CO2. The Climate Change Advisory Council recommends that this is gradually increased to €80 per tonne in order to reduce emissions and tackle climate change.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"A well-designed carbon dividend, with money being returned to households, is an important tool in incentivising low carbon options. It’s only 1part of what needs to be a massive Just Transition in our society and economy, but will lower prices+increase availability of less polluting fuels"

The government should prioritise spending on public transport and cycle lanes over roads

Some argue that we need to reduce our dependence on cars, and invest in sustainable transport instead. Others argue that failing to invest in our road network will damage the economy. The current capital investment plan includes more spending on roads than on public transport and cycleways.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"Spending on transport infrastructure urgently needs to be rebalanced towards 2 to 1 in favour of public transport, walking and cycling versus roads. We urgently need to rebalance towards a less carbon intensive transport model that incentivises and subsidises public and active transport"

Social issues

More should be done to provide accommodation for Travellers, even if there is local opposition

The Department of the Environment provides funding to local authorities for Traveller accommodation (e.g. halting sites and group housing schemes), but many local authorities have been reluctant to build these sites due to local opposition, and much of the money allocated for this remains unspent.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"Travellers continue to face very significant social, legal, economic, healthcare and educational obstacles. One of the major issues faced relates to accommodation. Local Authorities must do more to provide adequate standard accommodation; but this must part of a wider package of support."

There should be mandatory sentencing for violent crimes

A mandatory sentence is one which must be imposed regardless of the individual circumstances of the case. Currently, murder carries a mandatory life sentence in Ireland, and some drug trafficking and firearm offenses have mandatory sentences. For other crimes, judges have discretion on sentencing.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"The Green Party believes that sentencing guidelines should be revised to create a greater consistency of sentencing for violent crimes, however judges should retain the ability to consider the facts of each individual case when deciding an appropriate sentence. "

The liberalisation of abortion in Ireland has gone too far

The legislation introduced after the 2018 referendum allows for terminations for any reason up to 12 weeks in a pregnancy. Terminations are only permitted after this date (and before the foetus becomes viable) if there is a serious risk to the health of the pregnant woman.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"The current law is appropriate and has been developed to safeguard the right to make all available choices related to pregnancy, including access to safe, free terminations. We campaigned for the removal of the 8th amendment +voters backed the change knowing what kind of law would follow."

A lot more religious-run schools should become multi-denominational

96% of primary schools in Ireland are religious-run. There is an ongoing ‘divestment’ process, designed to change some schools with a religious patron (such as the Catholic Church) to become multi-denominational schools. Some schools and religious leaders oppose the plan.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"Parental and student choice should inform any service provided for with public money. Irish people are opting more and more for a non-religious or a multidenominational educational ethos, + the Green Party strongly supports the right of individuals to not be required to follow a particular model. "

International

Ireland should boycott Israeli goods produced in the occupied territories

The ‘Occupied Territories’ bill will make it an offence to import goods from an occupied territory. Supporters say this will show solidarity with Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. Critics say it discriminates unfairly against Israel, and threatens important economic links with the US.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"I co-signed Frances Black’s Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018. Imports from many such areas at a preferential rate are already illegal – all the bill seeks is for the enforcement of international and EU law, in the interests of peace and justice."