At the end of an official visit to Ireland on 11 and 12 June, PACE President Anne Brasseur, urged Ireland to use its experience from its own troubled history, to help solve some of Europe’s ongoing conflicts, such as the one that has developed between Russia and Ukraine.
In her address to the Irish Seanad she praised Ireland for being one of the great supporters of the 47 member state Council of Europe, and its values based around the rule of law, democracy and human rights. “Support for these ideals is not to be taken for granted at a time of economic woes, political upheavals and troubling security issues,” she said.
On the issue of the implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights in Ireland, she recognized that the country had had to execute judgments of the Court on extremely sensitive issues, such as abortion. “In doing this, Ireland has taken its international obligations seriously and has not sought a “pick and choose” approach to human rights,” she said. “While Ireland is in many ways a model member state of the Council of Europe, there are, nonetheless, still steps it can take to ratify certain European Conventions, such as those relating to sexual abuse of children, domestic violence, non-discrimination (Protocol 12 of the ECHR), money laundering and cybercrime. She also urged the Irish authorities to take action on recommendations of the different monitoring bodies of the Council of Europe, highlighting the need to tackle conditions of detention, the situation of Irish Travellers and the position of asylum seekers and refugees.
“During my visit, I had the honour to meet with the President of the Republic, Michael D. Higgins whom I have invited to address the Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg. Speaking with him reminded me that human rights should never be regarded as “business as usual” and that passionate political voices have to be heard.”
Alongside her address to the Seanad and meeting with the President of the Republic, Ms Brasseur met with the Speaker of the Dáil, the Speaker of the Seanad and the Minister for Foreign Affairs. She also held a series of exchanges of views, with the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Joint European Union Affairs Committee, as well as with the Irish delegation to PACE and political Party leaders.