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First Vice-President of the European Parliament Mairead McGuinness

Mairead McGuinness discusses the European Green Deal at DCU’s Virtual Water Cafe

First Vice-President of the European Parliament Mairead McGuinness today spoke about the European Green Deal at DCU’s Virtual Water Cafe.

Discussing the key policy areas of the Green Deal; biodiversity, farm to fork, sustainable agriculture, clean energy, construction and renovation, sustainable mobility, eliminating pollution and climate action, Ms. McGuinness said

"The European Green Deal is about using our resources in a more sustainable way for the benefit of society and the natural environment, and water is included in that. 

Through the circular economy, by using our resources more efficiently and by protecting more terrestrial and marine areas the European Green Deal aims to make the EU's economy more resilient and ready to face the challenges that climate change presents.”

She also spoke of the social dimension to the Deal and how fairness and ensuring that no one was left behind were core tenets of the agreement.

She also noted that even in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission has stressed its determination to prioritize the European Green Deal and that the proposed Recovery Find - Next Generation EU - would focus investments on sustainability and ensuring that member states invest in future sustainability. Now is the time to invest in a future that is more sustainable.

“Across Europe there is an understanding that we can’t keep going in a linear fashion, extracting resources, producing goods and services and dumping waste... And even though this is going to be a challenge for member states, Ireland included, I think it’s also a fantastic opportunity.”

Ms. McGuinness spoke also about “the science of carbon capture, the role of carbon sinks, [and how] one of the issues for Ireland is our peat lands. There’s been a lot of announcements of Bord na Móna pulling away from the harvesting of peat… and in the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, one of the proposals is that there should be a rewetting of wetlands” and the myriad of sensitivities around this, after decades of policy being one of draining of these areas.

Ms. McGuinness was introduced this morning by DCU President Prof. Brian MacCraith.

Prof. MacGraith said

“We’re delighted to welcome First Vice-President Mairead McGuinness to the Virtual Water Cafe. We are very proud of the work being done by the Water Institute, which aligns with the university’s own commitment to sustainability. DCU has been ranked number 12 in the world for each of the past two years in the UI GreenMetric World University Rankings.

Here in DCU we believe that we have a responsibility to create knowledge and to advance society. The Water Institute exemplifies this approach with very clearly defined goals focusing on safe secure drinking water, healthy aquatic ecosystems and reliable, energy efficient water supplies for a sustainable economy and the work of the Institute is highly relevant to the European Green Deal.”

About Mairead McGuinness

Mairead McGuinness is the First Vice-President of the European Parliament and represents the Midlands-North-West constituency in Ireland.

She oversees relations with national parliaments, in particular with the EU affairs committees of Member State parliaments. She has responsibility for the Parliament’s dialogue with churches, religious associations or communities, and philosophical and non-confessional organisations on EU policies and legislative proposals. She is also Vice-President with responsibility for North America.

Mairead is a member of the Parliament’s Committees on Agriculture and Rural Development, the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, and Constitutional Affairs.

As an influential member of the Agriculture Committee since 2004, she has worked on CAP reform and has defended the position of farmers in the food supply chain – most recently in achieving new EU legislation to tackle Unfair Trading Practices.

Mairead was elected First Vice-President of the European Parliament in January 2017 and was re-elected to the post in July 2019. She has been a Vice-President of the Parliament since July 2014.

About DCU Water Institute

The DCU Water Institute is a cross-faculty initiative of research and education on water. It aims to work with all stakeholders, across academia, industry, agency and society in its research and development work. Through research and capacity building, the Water Institute develops solutions to national and global problems in water. It specialises in technology developments across science, engineering and computer science domains with strong communications focus and policy and business drivers. These areas are reflected in its academic members, who come from all faculties of DCU.


More information on the European Green Deal is available here.