EU elections

Ireland South MEP Sean Kelly sets out his stall for upcoming poll

Years ahead 'to be challenging'

Tipperary Star reporter

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Ireland South MEP Sean Kelly sets out his stall for upcoming poll

Sean Kelly: has set out his stall for upcoming EU elections

MEP for Ireland South Sean Kelly has outlined his priorities for the upcoming EU elections, which take place on Friday, May 24.

Mr Kelly was selected by Fine Gael last month to join the race for a European Parliament seat in the Ireland South constituency, having previously been successfully elected in 2009 and 2014.

He has served as Fine Gael’s leader of the European Parliament for the last five years, having been appointed to the role by then Taoiseach Enda Kenny in 2014.

“Over the last decade as Ireland South’s representative, I have had the privilege of getting to know the people and issues of what is now a vast 12-county constituency.," he said.

Mr Kelly said that as a senior member of the EPP Group, he had helped to deliver several important EU actions, notably the abolition of roaming charges, targets that will see the EU reduce emissions by 40% and meet a 32% Renewable Energy target by 2030, and important trade deals with Canada, Japan and Singapore.

 “Additionally, following several years of hard work as Ireland’s only member of the European Parliament’s Working Group on the clock change, I was delighted to see parliament recently vote to abolish it from 2021, with the support of over 80% of EU citizens," he said.

Mr Kelly said that the years ahead were set to be challenging.

“I want to see the establishment of a comprehensive EU Just Transition Plan, to ensure that we tackle climate change in a way that is fair for all, and that workers in carbon-intensive economic sectors are adequately supported," he said.

The outgoing MEP said that he will continue the fight against the budget cuts to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) until an adequately funded CAP for all Irish farmers can be ensured.

“I recently negotiated and finalised the EU’s new €650bn investment plan. It is now time to ensure that Irish businesses and communities feel the benefit. I continue my work to connect local businesses with opportunities for support at EU level," said Mr Kelly.

He also said that trade was vitally important to the Irish economy. With continued uncertainty around Brexit, the next five years will be vital to strengthen trade ties with Asia and the USA in particular. I

“Finally, I will work to ensure that child safety is maintained as a key priority of the EU’s digital agenda. In an increasingly digital world, we must make sure our children are safe when using online apps and browsers; I will ensure that every digital policy we put in place puts child safety front and centre of its objectives," said Mr Kelly.