Where I Started

I first became involved in politics in 1985. As a nurse and midwife in Ireland and the United Kingdom, I had a unique insight into what really matters to people. I wanted to do more, and I became convinced that politics would be a way to contribute more to the lives of families nationwide. After almost thirty years in politics, I still believe that.

I was born in County Kilkenny, where I was a midwife at South Tipperary General Hospital for over twenty years. While there I was an active member of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation and served on the Executive Board in 1994.

I was first elected to Clonmel Corporation in 1994 as a member of the Workers and Unemployed Action Group (WUAG) and twice served as Mayor of Clonmel. I was elected to South Tipperary County Council in 1999 and served as a Senator in Seanad Éireann from 2007.

My Work in Europe

I have been MEP for Ireland South since 2011, which has given me a brilliant opportunity to see the incredible and complex work of the EU on a daily basis. In Parliament, I sit with the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, which has developed progressive and worthwhile policies that I believe in and which allow me to represent Labour ideals at European level.

I sit on the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, and I am a member of the Delegation for relations with the United States.

I’m a substitute member of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, the Committee on Petitions and the Delegation for Relations with Switzerland and Norway and to the EU-Iceland Joint Parliamentary Committee and the European Economic Area (EEA) Joint Parliamentary Committee

Consumer Rights

My place on the Consumer Affairs Committee in Parliament allows me to have an impact on issues that are diverse but also universally applicable to Irish people. Everything from copyright law to public body transparency comes before the committee. One recent example was our response to claims that mobile service providers charged too much for roaming. After reviewing the claims, we decided that legislation had to be introduced to limit these charges.

Consumer protection is not simply a matter of passing laws though. As the recent horse meat scandal demonstrates, proper enforcement of existing laws across the EU is equally important. I am working with my colleagues to ensure that people can rely on the guaranteed quality and safety of the products they buy.

Economy and Personal Debt

Ireland is in the midst of a crisis. Today, more than 600,000 Irish adults are at risk of poverty, and personal debt is crippling families. It's a vicious cycle. People are afraid of losing their homes and so they cut back on spending. This, in turn, slows economic growth which forces companies to cut jobs. This is why, for me, the domestic economy is the most important issue.

Now is the time to protect social services, and to call for greater transparency and accountability. I will continue to work with the S&D Group to push for financial sector reform, enacting policies that discourage the same reckless behaviour that created the current economic crisis. 

Access to Healthcare

Everyone has the right to healthcare, but in Ireland today, a lack of availability and access to affordable services are threatening that right. There has been an unacceptable decline in the number of health facilities and professional staff serving the community. The resulting longer wait times ultimately lead to higher medical costs. Those who can afford it to turn to private health services, and those who cannot are effectively shut out of the health system.

I am fighting to improve timely access to affordable health services by supporting a cross-border healthcare law that puts patient rights first.

If you want to find out more or contact me, send me an email on phil@philprendergast.ie, check my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @prendergastMEP

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