Senator Erin McGreehan made her maiden remarks in the Seanad Eireann on Monday evening, telling her new colleagues in the higher chamber that it was her dream to one day be a member of the Oireachtas, while she also hit out at those who have been critical of the 11 new senators who were selected by An Taoiseach Micheal Martin.
The mother of four from Castletowncooley in the north of the county spoke on the floor of the Seanad – temporarily removed from Leinster House to a venue more suited to social distancing, the Convention Centre – shortly after 6pm, marking her first official remarks as a member of the 26th Seanad.
“I am incredibly proud to be standing here as a Taoiseach’s nominee, a worthy Taoiseach’s nominee – not just a party member,” she said. “Some Senators want to put down these nominees. We are hard working people. We are here with a voice and we are here with a voice worth listening to. I am here to serve my country, my county and my people.
Senator McGreehan moves to the Senate from Louth County Council, where she leaves behind a vacant Fianna Fáil seat. She was first elected to the local authority as a first time candidate in the Dundalk-Carlingford electoral area in May 2019. It had been suggested that An Taoiseach may nominate former TD Declan Breathnach to the Seanad, following his own succesful run back in February and March. However, McGreehan received the nod.
“The honour of being elected to this house is not gone past me,” she continued. “I was a little girl called Erin who was convinced, as a child, that she was meant to be in the Oireachtas, in Dail Eireann. Maybe my parents knew more than I did. As a little girl, I would stay up late at night and sneak into the kitchen to watch Oireachtas Report. I was in awe of the speakers.
“I am so privileged to stand here with you all as an equal member, not just a party member. I am here to represent everyone. I take umbrage that we are not all inclusive,” she said.
“I know what it is like to live in rural Ireland, I went to college in Galway, I know what it’s like to live in a rural city, I know what it’s like to a mother with a young family, to be struggling with bills, to live with your parents until you can afford to move into a house. These are all important things. I am so proud to be here with that voice today.”
Newly elected Seanad Cathaoirleach Mark Daly commended Senator McGreehan on her remarks and suggested future public office may be in the offing for her.