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 TD
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.
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’s Members have set several campaign objectives for 2012-2013, including a special focus on upcoming elections in Africa, detailed work on delivering greater aid effectiveness in Africa, and a new focus on land rights and land purchases in Africa.