The Minister of State for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne T.D., launched the National Report of Ireland on the Conference on the Future of Europe today, which documents Ireland’s citizen engagement and participation with the Conference.
Launched on Europe Day, 9 May 2021, and concluding on Europe Day 2022, the exercise canvassed citizens’ views with reference to nine broad themes. The themes included climate change and the environment, health, digital transformation, and European democracy.
Ireland’s National Report captures the perspectives and overarching recommendations advanced by a diverse cross-section of people across Ireland within a yearlong nationwide programme of 70-plus events that ran from June 2021 to March 2022.
The programme’s engagements included extensive Ministerial outreach and saw the Department of the Foreign Affairs work in close collaboration with European Movement Ireland to facilitate a series of regional and sectoral consultations that included a set of town halls in all four provinces.
Commenting on the launch of the report, the Minister of State for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne T.D., said:
“I am delighted to launch Ireland’s national report on the Conference on the Future of Europe. Reaching this milestone was not without its challenges. The Conference launched as Europe was beginning to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and this current final phase is taking place as we confront the terrible reality of war on our continent.
“I want to express my thanks and genuine appreciation to all those citizens who so freely gave of their time to take part in Conference events and whom I had the pleasure of meeting either virtually or in person. This includes the sixteen Irish citizens who participated in the Conference’s four EU-wide Citizens’ Panels. The enthusiasm and rich perspectives people in Ireland brought to the process is an excellent reflection of our strong tradition of citizen engagement.
“I would also like to commend Senator Alice-Mary Higgins; Neale Richmond T.D.; Niamh Smyth T.D., and Ruairí Ó Murchú T.D. for their work as Ireland’s four national parliament representatives to the Conference’s Plenaries.
“Citizens across Europe and in Ireland are in agreement. They want an EU that proactively confronts the major challenges our continent faces, upholds the fundamental values upon which our Union is founded, better informs citizens about the decisions that impact on their lives, and affords citizens an ongoing role in shaping the Union’s future.
“Ireland is committed to working with our EU Partners and Institutions in actively following up on the 300-plus recommendations arising from the Conference on the Future of Europe to deliver a better, more citizen-focussed Europe in future.”