Kilcock man Seanán Ó Coistín, 33, is seeking to be nominated by Fianna Fáil to be one of the candidates to stand in the Midlands-North-West constituency in the European elections in May.
Supporting job creation and being a champion of human rights and justice are the two themes that he wishes to work on as an MEP. From being a supporter of human rights' campaigns, an anti-racism activist and as someone who had to leave his country to find work, he wants to challenge the puke politics of the Far Right in the European Parliament. The Front National in France and the Freedom Party in the Netherlands are expected to win many seats in the elections and will whip up fear about migrants.
He says: "Ireland is going to have one less MEP after the European elections in May therefore it is very important that people who know about the EU are elected. I am putting myself forward as a candidate as I work in the European Commission in Luxembourg. As part of my work I read official EU documents all the time. Along with that I studied the EU and how it works in university."
"If elected I want to focus on helping people get jobs and to be a champion of human rights. As someone who had to move abroad to find work, I know exactly how difficult it is to find work and why migrants need to be treated fairly. I want to challenge the puke politics of the far right who will oppose migration into Europe. I am very disappointed to see the National Independent Party in Ireland calling for immigration to be curtailed. I will readily challenge them about this topic."
Seanán Ó Coistín
Seanán Ó Coistín (pronounced Shan-awn O Cush-teen) is from Kilcock in Kildare but works as an Irish proofreader in the Publications Office of the European Union in Luxembourg. He proofreads the Official Journal of the European Union and other documents in Irish and English. This means he is familiar with the work of the EU and as such is a suitable candidate for the European elections.
Seanán left Ireland in June 2012 to take up a job in the European Commission in Luxembourg. As Ireland is the EU member state that has suffered the most emigration in the last five years (more than 300,000 people have left), Seanán feels that it is especially important that an MEP from Ireland should stand up for migrants and challenge the anti-immigrant views of the far right in the European Parliament.
Over the years Seanán has been involved with different organisations including being a member of the committee of Burma Action Ireland and being a director of Show Racism the Red Card. During Aung San Suu Kyi's visit to Ireland on June 18th 2012, he was responsible for media relations for Burma Action Ireland.
Prior to working with the European Commission in Luxembourg, Seanán worked as the Public Relations Officer for the Spiritan Asylum Services Initiative (SPIRASI) in Dublin on a JobBridge scheme placement. He spoke up for the most maligned type of migrants, asylum seekers, during a recession. From his time spent working with Spirasi he has a strong understanding of the asylum procedures in the EU, and as part of his focus on human rights, would like to see fairer treatment of migrants. Seanán finds it morally repulsive that hundreds of people should drown trying to get to Europe in overcrowded boats.
There should be safe and legal way for migrants to be able to arrive in the EU.
Seanán has a degree in history and politics from the University of Limerick. Most of the subjects he studied were European politics and history. As part of his degree, he studied in Rotterdam, the Netherlands where he took a class in how to lobby the EU in Brussels.
The teacher of the class, Rinus van Schendelen wrote the bible on how to lobby the EU, 'Machiavelli in Brussels: The Art of Lobbying the EU' which was a class textbook.
If elected, Seanán wishes to focus on two main areas - job creation
and being a champion for human rights and justice.
Jobs - small and medium-sized enterprises are the largest group of
employers in the EU. Everything must be done to make it easier for
them to hire new staff, especially young people under 25. SMEs can be
started faster and can hire new workers faster than large firms.
Seanán would like to see them getting access to funding and being
encouraged to employ new staff. The funding from EU programmes should
be made available as easily and as quickly as possible so that SMEs
can expand and hire new staff.
Human rights - Seanán will always be a champion for people demanding
their human rights, freedom and justice. He wants the European
Parliament to take a firm stand on the need for human rights to be
respected by all states.
A cleaner environment - in November 2013 the European Commission
adopted a policy for the EU member states to reduce the amount of
plastic bags being used. Seanán would like more to be done by having
legislation passed that would get producers to cease using plastic
packaging completely. It is in Ireland's interest to do this as a lot
of the plastic is entering the Atlantic ocean and will after some time
end up on the Irish coastline where it will be much more expensive to
remove. He knows how much of a problem plastic litter is. When helping
clean the litter in Kilcock with the Kilcock Tidy Towns' group, it was
plastic litter that was the biggest problem.
No to the militarisation of the EU - Seanán is completely against the
current moves to militarise the EU. The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded
to the EU for promoting peace in Europe. To militarise the EU would
be to negate the founding idea of the EU. Seanán will challenge
Catherine Ashton's and other EU leaders' opinions and moves to
militarise the EU. The citizens of the EU do not want money to be
spent on military operations, they want money to be spent on creating
Privacy - Seanán wants the EU to pass legislation that ensures the
privacy of people's communications is not breached by governments or
business. The European Parliament Civil Liberties' Committee has
called American and British electronic surveillance of ordinary
people's communications illegal.
Languages - as the constituency with the largest amount of Gaeltachtaí
(Conamara, Donegal, Mayo, Meath) Seanán wants to see more use of the
Irish language in the EU. The current derogation on the Irish language
should be dropped. On languages in general, Seanán will support
language learning throughout the EU as language skills are often
crucial for getting jobs.
If elected, Seanán pledges to only take half (?45,000) of the current
MEP salary per year, excluding legitimate travel and work expenses.
Being elected to the European Parliament is not about drawing a big
salary but about making a positive impact helping others.
Previous European election experience:
This is not Seanán's first involvement in European elections. He made
history as the youngest ever Irish MEP candidate in the 2004 European
elections. He was 23 years of age. He stood as an independent
candidate in the East constituency in Ireland. Not only was he the
youngest candidate he was the most nominated candidate in the election
as he was nominated by 99 voters in four counties.
For the 2009 European elections, Seanán was a driver for the Lord
Mayor of Dublin, Eibhlin Byrne, one of the Fianna Fáil candidates in
Dublin. It was Seanán who drove her to the Dublin sheriff's office in
Finglas so that she could hand in her nomination papers. He also
assisted in her campaign by hanging up posters and participating in
Pitch to Fianna Fáil members:
Along with the right professional and academic background, Seanán is
also well placed geographically. As the constituency covers thirteen
counties that stretches from Buncrana to Ballymore Eustace, it is
essential that Fianna Fáil have candidates on the western and eastern
sides of the constituency. With the current MEP Pat the Cope Gallagher
being from Donegal, Seanán is well placed being from Kildare to be a
candidate from the east.
If selected as a candidate, Seanán aims that to ensure that the
European election campaigns will be focused on Europe and not local
issues in Ireland, that they will be multilingual considering Irish
and English are official languages of the EU and the Midlands, North
and West constituency has the largest amount of Gaeltachtaí and will
be focused on the future with the aim of improving the lives of Irish
More information can be found on his bilingual website www.seanan.info