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Speakers and presidents of parliaments in Europe meeting today in Dublin

SPEAKERS AND PRESIDENTS of parliaments of the 46 member states of the Council of Europe will gather in Dublin for their bi-annual conference.

Over 60 speakers or deputy speakers will be present at the European Conference of Presidents of Parliament, hosted by the Oireachtas this year, as well as around 400 delegates from around the continent.

Among them are Ceann Comhairle of the Dáil Seán O’Fearghraíl and Cathaoirleach of the Seanad Jerry Buttimer – who will also be opening the event later this morning for their European counterparts.

This year’s conference focuses on three themes, with keynote addresses from national speakers. The topics include; The war in Ukraine, Democracy in Volatile times and equality and diversity in public representation.

Ukraine’s chairperson of parliament, Rusian Stefachuk and speaker of the House Of Commons in the United Kingdom, Linsday Hoyle will discuss the rebuilding of Ukraine, and the consequences of the war later today.

A pre-conference event will also discuss hate speech and threats of violence against elected officials with ex-Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan, who was tasked with chairing a task force on protecting politicians from such abuse earlier this year.

IMG_2021_10_21_296 EECP Picture from the EECP in Athens, 2021. EECP

The first European Conference of Presidents of Parliament was held in 1975. It takes place every two years, hosted alternately in Strasbourg and in the capital of a Council of Europe member state.

The event run as part of the remit of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) – the parliamentary division of the EU’s Human Rights watchdog.

Ó’Fearghaíl said, ahead of the event yesterday, that the Oireachtas is “honoured” to host the event. 

He said: “As legislators, it is our role, and that of our parliaments, to act as guardians of democracy which is demonstrated by this large gathering of Speakers.”

The event will be held over the next two days in the Convention Centre in Dublin. Tomorrow morning, the secretary generals of PACE will gather for their own biannual meeting.

The last conference took place in Athens in October of 2021 which discussed the Covid-19 pandemic, sustainability and the future of European citizens.