While Christian Democrat parties across Europe had a good election, in Ireland, the results from a pro-religion, pro-family perspective were distinctly mixed. Gay Mitchell and Brian Crowley have strong pro-life and pro-family track records.
Fine Gael’s Mairead McGuinness and Fianna Fáil’s Liam Aylward have been generally reliable on such issues, with Ms McGuinness standing up for the right of Rocco Buttiglione to be appointed as a European Commissioner after the last Euro elections. Marian Harkin, who was elected in the North West has voted consistently to protect life while in the European Parliament.
However, the views of some of the newer MEPs on such issues are less auspicious.
For example, Joe Higgins in Dublin comes from a Marxist-Leninist background, although this side of his political persona is rarely probed. This does not bode well for the role of religious believers in public life.
The Labour party – no defender of traditional values – gained two MEPs, Alan Kelly in South and Nessa Childers in East.
It is not absolutely clear where these individuals stand on family issues, or on religious freedom. However, Labour’s current MEP, Proinsias De Rossa, has consistently voted to promote the radical secular agenda in the European Parliament, voting with Socialists on over 90 per cent of the time.
Meanwhile, Alan Kelly got his seat at the expense of Kathy Sinnott, who has been another reliable pro-life, pro-family vote.
However, the replacement of Fine Gael’s Colm Burke with his running mate Sean Kelly in the South constituency is probably a positive development for pro-family campaigners. In an interview during the campaign, Kelly expressed his opposition to same-sex marriage and same sex adoption. Mr Burke’s views on these issues are much more radical.
All in all it was a decidedly mixed election for those who are concerned about family and life issues. It is incumbent upon those who do care about freedom of religion and the right of a child to a mother and father to monitor how our representatives in Europe vote on these sensitive matters.