Stoneybatter’s Green MEP on why he’s seeking re-election 

Ciarán Cuffe talks about his work in Dublin and Europe as the June 7th European Parliament election nears.

“I think it’s important to protect green spaces as we build more in the inner-city and I think it’s important that there are affordable homes for local people. We’ve a lot of improvements happening with more shops and places to go to, but we need to make sure that there’s good community facilities.” 

Since joining the Green Party 43 years ago, architect Ciarán Cuffe has served in various roles – two terms as a TD for Dún Laoighaire, with a very brief stint as Minister for State, five years as a Dublin City Council member, and the last five years in the European Parliament.

After completing degrees in urban planning and architecture at University College Dublin, Cuffe became interested in preserving historical landmarks in Dublin after the controversial destruction of the Viking settlement at Wood Quay. 

Though he grew up in Shankill, a suburb in South Dublin, Cuffe moved to Stoneybatter 20 years ago, and has spent much of his career working on projects in Dublin’s north inner-city. 

He also took part in a campaign for re-development of the iconic and controversial Iveagh Markets and is also an advocate of revamping the fruit and vegetable market near Capel Street. 

“It would be fantastic to become part of the regeneration of the city, and the taking of cars off Capel Street has been a step in the right direction,” Cuffe says. 

“I also worked on trying to find a site for the Coláiste Mhuire school on Dominick Street, and that’s a project that is close to my heart because my kids went to that school, which is currently in a rented building on Parnell Square,” Cuffe adds.

In 2019, Cuffe became one of 47 Green Party members across Europe to earn a seat in European Parliament.

“My work in Europe is helping the half a billion people that live in Europe, but it is also focused on making our cities better places. On the transport committee I’m constantly trying to work on issues like lower speed limits that improve road safety, public transport that takes cars off our roads and higher air quality standards so that less people get sick from poor air quality.”  

Last September, Cuffe announced his intention to run for re-election this June. His campaign, as in 2019, is largely focused on climate change and he and his party have set ambitious targets for reducing emissions across Europe.  

“Climate action is still of the utmost importance, and we want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Europe by 90% by 2040, so that will need new laws on transport, energy, and on agriculture – so I want to work on those. We also need to protect nature, and biodiversity is the other side of the climate change coin.” 

He also supports laws that would oppose the actions of authoritarian governments and the rise of the far right in many member states. 

“That means standing up to dictators in countries like Hungary, and making sure that people’s right to vote is protected, and that we don’t see democracy suffer in the forthcoming elections. That will require laws to control hate speech, to control the internet and make sure that people are given clear information.” 

The Green Party are not expected to see the same success as they did in the previous election, but Cuffe says we must continue efforts to reduce emissions. 

“I think climate change is still very much on the agenda and we can see the crazy weather that’s happening around the world and we really need to take action and we need to go further than we did in 2019.”

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