EDU Secretary-General received at Dáil Éireann
On a recent return to Ireland, the Secretary-General of the Intergovernmental Organization EDU was honored with an invite to the Dáil Éireann, the national parliament of the Republic of Ireland, at Leinster House in Dublin.
His Excellency Irving Le-Vance was received and accompanied throughout his visit by Áine Collins TD, one of 27 females out of a total of 166 Members of Dail Éireann (who are called Deputies or TDs) and who are are directly elected by the people. Citizens aged 18 years and over may vote. By law, a General Election to Dáil Éireann must be held at least every five years.
For electoral purposes, the country is divided into areas known as constituencies and provides an essential democratic link between constituents, Government and Parliament. A Deputy can be a member of a Government Party, an Opposition Party or can sit as an Independent.
The main parliamentary function of Deputies is to enact legislation. The Constitution also provides that the Government shall be accountable to Dáil Éireann and various mechanisms are used to discharge this function.
The principal mechanisms are parliamentary questions and motions. Members also spend a great deal of their time acting and making representations on behalf of members of the public and interest groups.
Áine Collins is from the Fine Gael political party was elected to represent the Cork North-West constituency. She has proven to be a hardworking and highly respected Deputy who is a member of the Public Accounts Committee and the Joint Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Vice-Chair of the Fine Gael Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. She brings over 20 years of valuable private sector experience in business development and management consultancy. She is a a qualified accountant and auditor, has run her own practice and worked in both start-up and established companies.
His Excellency was impressed by Áine Collins' commitment to the strengthening of the Irish economy following the financial crisis, her support for Small and Medium Enterprises and her contribution to the Action Plan for Jobs.
As the Head of an organization that promotes the empowerment of women and challenging the “glass ceiling” it was a particular delight for the Secretary-General of EDU to see the success story that is Áine Collins.
The two discussed at length the unique challenges that women encounter in balancing traditional family life with the demands of public service.
The visit included a delicious lunch and guided tours of both Houses of the Oireachtas; composed of Dáil Éireann (House of Deputies) and Seanad Éireann (Senate) and a visit to the personal office of the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny.
Unfortunately pressing affairs of state prevented a face to face meeting but His Excellency enjoyed a pleasant phone call with the Taoiseach and the possibility of a future meeting was discussed.
His Excellency Irving Le-Vance was most grateful to receive the signal honor of being photographed with Áine Collins on the famous Ceremonial Staircase at the Department of the Taoiseach.
The beautiful beechwood staircase is reserved for visiting dignitaries and leads up to a luminous stained glass window, designed by Evie Hone. The design depicts the 4 provinces of Ireland and is entitled “My Four Green Fields”. The Window was originally commissioned for the Irish Government's Pavilion at the 1939 New York World Fair. Artist Mary Fitzgerald designed the vibrant carpet.
With the formalities of the visit concluded, Áine Collins brought the comprehensive day to an unexpectedly pleasant close by arranging a tour of the famous Guinness Storehouse where they ended the day, and His Excellency's visit to Dublin, in true Irish style. The two enjoyed a drink of the world famous brew in the stunning “Gravity Bar” which provides patrons with a stunning 360° view of the city.
The Secretary-General of EDU thanked Áine Collins for the generous gift of her time and for the hospitality of the visit and told her that he intends to investigate future cooperation with Irish NGO's in areas where capacities and aims coincide.