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Another Green Week

A Green Week is when there is no parliamentary business in Brussels and MEPs can use the time to spend in their constituencies or conferences or study visits.

Last week, I was confined to the Capital owing to a busy schedule in another part of the Andrews family. So here is an outline of another busy Green Week in Dublin.

On Monday, I was delighted to join Minister Darragh O’Brien for the launch of the largest ever older Person’s housing schemes in Crumlin. These are wonderful places to live close to all amenities. Shockingly, ‘older person’ is anyone over 55 - I turned 55 in May.

On Tuesday I had a meeting with the ambassador of Georgia and discussed the pathway to Georgia becoming a member of the EU. I also took the time to sign a book of condolences at the Office of the Representation of Palestine in Ireland following the death of journalist, Shireen Abu Aqleh.

That evening, I attended a Table Quiz fundraiser for the Irish Red Cross at the Marker hotel. It was organised by RTE staff and had more than 70 tables raising about €30,000. We struggled a bit but finished a point behind the winners after a strong finish. We called our table ‘Micheal’s favourites’ however the source of that name remains classified.

Also on the team were Senator Gerry Horkan, Jim O’Callaghan TD and Padraig O’Sullivan TD.

On Wednesday morning, I revived an old practice of MEPs attending and participating in Oireachtas committees. The occasion was a sitting of the EU Affairs Committee to hear evidence on the conflict in Ukraine.

While in Leinster House, I wandered over to Buswells where a huge amount of lobbying goes on. I met with representatives of Ronald McDonald House, with an energy company seeking to develop a wind farm on the Kish bank and with TUS students’ union on financial barriers to education.

Back in Leinster House, I met with students of Ardgillen Community College accompanied by Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee.

In the afternoon I attended a ceremony at the Custom House with the Dublin Fire Brigade to mark 101 years since the burning of the Custom House. There I met Dougie Doyle an old friend of my father’s, now 23 years retired from DFB.

Finally I strolled back to Leinster House with Paul McAuliffe TD and Councillor Briege MacOscar to attend a discussion on SNAs and Childcare with the Fianna Fail Dublin Parliamentary Party.

On Thursday I did what’s called a ‘Policy call’ for a UK public affairs company explaining where I thought things were going with the Northern Ireland Protocol. All they wanted to know was if there was a Trade War coming.

Then I met winners of the Frontline Defenders annual awards from places as diverse as Mexico, Zimbabwe and Sudan. They were hosted by Cormac Devlin TD.

On Thursday afternoon, I attended a ‘stakeholder forum’ on Youth in Sport at the National Indoor Arena in Blanchardstown with Minister Jack Chambers. Afterwards we had a good chat with Kellie Harrington who is as clear-eyed about reforms to the administration of Boxing as she is in the ring. The star of the show was James Casserly who exuded positive energy despite his disability. See @james22034777 for more.

Finally on Friday, a heart-warming event organised by Andy O’Callaghan and other local community activists to provide information to Ukrainians in Dun Laoghaire, Monkstown and Blackrock about jobs, schools, housing and much more.

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