With the European elections taking place this Friday, the people of Ireland will be taking to the polls to vote for the candidates they would like to represent their constituency in the European Parliament for the next five years.
With 23 candidates ling out for Ireland South, which takes in County Wicklow as one of its 12 counties, three of the constituency’s four outgoing MEPs will be seeking re-election.
These candidates are former Sinn Féin presidential candidate, Liadh Ní Riada, and Fine Gael duo Séan Kelly and Deirdre Clune. Fianna Fáil’s Brian Crowley has announced his retirement from parliament due to ill health and will not be seeking re-election.
However, due to the minimum supervision of the roles, many voters seem unsure of what the role of an MEP entails, as well as the duties undertake in their five year term.
With this in mind, with the aid statistics released by European Parliament – Get the Data, we can measure the activity of our three outgoing MEPs seeking re-election on Friday, in hope of giving voters a better understanding of the activities of the role.
The following activities are listed as main and other activities on the European Parliament website. As MEPs can be sitting members of other committees and initiatives, these figures are not a total representation of their workload, but a partial measure.
Fine Gael’s Séan Kelly boasts a near perfect attendance in parliament in the last five years with a 96% attendance, being absent for only 11 of the 279 plenary sessions. Kelly’s part colleague Deirdre Clune has a 91% attendance rating, attending 253 sessions.
Liadh Ní Riada of Sinn Féin had a notably lower attendance with 73%, having being excused by the Parliament President for four of her missed sessions.
Ireland’s MEPs came 15th in the overall attendance rankings with an 88.90% attendance rate. Malta ranked highest with with their MEPs being present 94.73% of the time for parliament sessions.
In terms of contributions, Séan Kelly only ranks behind Mairead McGuinness in the number of contributions made by Irish MEPs with 819.
Deirdre Clune has just over 200 fewer than her colleague with 611, while Liadh Ní Riada made 519 contributions in five years.
NUMBER OF MOTIONS FOR RESOLUTION PUT FORWARD
Motions for resolution are also listed by the European Parliament as a main activity and are tabled on topical issues, at the request of a committee, a political group or at least 5 per cent of the members.
Séan Kelly was again the most active Ireland South MEP when it came to putting motions forward for resolution in parliament. The Kerry based MEP put 202 motions forward in five years.
Deirde Clune had 157, with Liadh Ní Riada having put forward significantly fewer than her fellow constituents with 39 motions put forward.
NUMBER OF ORAL QUESTIONS ASKED
Oral questions must also be tabled by a committee, a political group or at least 5 per cent of the parliament’s members. These questions must be answered orally and can be addressed to the European Commission, the Council or the vice-president of the Commission/High Representative of the Union.
Despite ranking below her fellow outgoing MEPs in other areas, Ní Riada asked the most oral questions in the parliament in the last five years with 19.
Séan Kelly asked nine questions, while Deirdre Clune asked five.
NUMBER OF TIMES PROVIDED WRITTEN EXPLANATION FOR VOTE
MEPs can submit an explanation on why they voted in a particular way, or why they abstained on any of the votes held in the plenary.
Deirdre Clune provided the most written explanations with 1048, with Ní Riada and Kelly providing 904 and 542 respectively.
NUMBER OF QUESTIONS PUT FORWARD FOR A WRITTEN ANSWER
Questions can be put forward by an individual member, group, or parliamentary committee to the president of the European Council, the Commission or the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
Liadh Ni Riada requested the most written answers with 163. The Fine Gael MEPS, Séan Kelly and Deirdre Clune, requested 57 and 135 answers in writing respectively.
Polling for Local and European elections will take place this Firday, May 24.