The Irish section of AWEPA, which has over 160 members in the Irish parliament, is regarded as one of the most active sections in Europe. It has been active since 1984, which were the days of AWEPA’s original anti-apartheid campaign.
In mid-2011, the AWEPA Irish Section elected a new leadership team in the Oireachtas, the Irish parliament. This consists of independent MP, Maureen O’Sullivan TD, as Head of the Irish Section, supported by Olivia Mitchell TD, as a member of the AWEPA Executive Committee. A new MP, Michael McNamara TD, has become a member of the AWEPA Governing Council, along with Denis Naughten TD and Katharine Bulbulia, two greatly respected Irish AWEPA members.
Head of Section
Maureen O’Sullivan (born 10 March 1951) is an Irish independent politician. She has been a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dublin Central constituency since June 2009. She was first elected to Dáil Éireann on the 6 June 2009 in a by-election.
Deputy Head of Section and AWEPA Vice-President
Olivia Mitchell TD
Olivia was elected for the fourth consecutive General Election with 9,635 first preference votes. Olivia has been a TD for Dublin South since 1997 and has in that time been front bench spokesperson for Arts, Sport & Tourism, Transport, Health & Local Government.
Connect with Hon. Olivia Mitchell: Website Twitter
The Irish section of AWEPA is composed of TDs, Senators and former Oireachtas Members who are dedicated to “keeping Africa high on the agenda of the Oireachtas”. Members come from across the political spectrum in the Oireachtas and the Irish Section is regarded as one of the most active sections of AWEPA in Europe. The section has carried out a number of high-profile campaigns in recent years, raising human rights and humanitarian concerns in Darfur, Zimbabwe and Somalia.
The AWEPA Irish Section usually holds at least one main meeting or campaign event every month while the Oireachtas is sitting. It also holds many more regular, smaller policy briefings on issues related to Africa, usually with a visiting speaker in attendance. The AWEPA Irish Section uses all of the procedures of both Houses of the Oireachtas, and the joint committees, to discuss Africa-related issues and Ireland’s relationship with Africa.
The Irish Section has been active in 2014 by organising a visit of parliamentarians from Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia and Libya to Ireland to discuss their new constitutional arrangements, at the same time as Ireland is carrying out a review of its constitution. Details of this event can be read here. The recommendations for parliamentary action that were agreed among the delegates from Ireland, Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia and Libya can also be read here.
The major ongoing concern of the Irish Section of AWEPA is Development Effectiveness and, along with the AWEPA secretariat and Irish Aid, it has created the AWEPA “Joint Monitoring Teams” – small teams of parliamentarians working from country-to-country to carry out oversight of development resources. This programme has now created teams of Irish MPs and MPs from Mozambique and Tanzania in order to jointly monitor development resources in their respective parliaments. This initiative has great potential to deliver new development results and we look forward to reporting its results in 2014 and 2015.