Rónán Mullen

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Rónán Mullen
RonanMullen2010.JPG
Mullen at the Council of Europe in April 2010
Senator
Incumbent
Assumed office
July 2007
Constituency National University of Ireland
Personal details
Born (1970-10-13) 13 October 1970 (age 43)
County Galway, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Political party Independent
Alma mater NUI, Galway (B.A.)
Dublin City University (M.A.)
King's Inns (B.L.)
Religion Roman Catholicism
Website www.ronanmullen.ie

Rónán Thomas Mullen (born 13 October 1970) is an independent Irish Senator and delegate to the Council of Europe. He was elected by the National University of Ireland Seanad constituency in July 2007 and re-elected for a second term in 2011.[1] Mullen is a frequent media commentator on social and political topics. The first National University of Ireland senator appointed to the Council of Europe, he received international coverage for his role in defeating the controversial McCafferty Report which sought to limit the right to conscientious objection for medical staff in the case of abortions.

Mullen was born and educated in County Galway, in the west of Ireland, and studied French and English at National University of Ireland, Galway, where he was also president of the Students' Union. Then, in 1993, he moved to Dublin and studied for a Masters' degree in journalism, after which he worked as a teacher and press secretary. In 1999 he began training as a barrister in the King's Inns, during which he won the Irish Times Debate. He was called to the Bar in 2003. Since 2001 he has been a lecturer in the Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown.

Background[edit]

Mullen was born in County Galway, son of Maura Hobbs and Tom Mullen. He grew up in Ahascragh, County Galway.[citation needed] After primary school in Kilglass National School and secondary school in Holy Rosary College in Mountbellew, he obtained a BA degree in English and French from the National University of Ireland, Galway. Mullen was elected president of UCG Students' Union (now NUI, Galway Students' Union) in 1991–92.[2] He then obtained a Masters Degree in Journalism from Dublin City University in 1993.

After working as a teacher for a year in Liberties Vocational School, Mullen was appointed in 1994 to the post of Administration Officer for Academic and Student Affairs in Dundalk Regional Technical College (now Dundalk Institute of Technology) where he worked until March 1996.[citation needed] From 1996 to 2001, Mullen worked in the Communications Office of the Archdiocese of Dublin and appeared as a spokesperson for the Archdiocese and Cardinal Desmond Connell.[citation needed] In 1999, he began studies for a Diploma in Legal Studies and a Barrister-at-Law degree from King's Inns. While studying, he and Michael Deasy were the members of the victorious King's Inns team in The Irish Times debating final in 2000.[3] Mullen is the only former winner of that competition to be elected to the Oireachtas.[4] Mullen was called to the Irish Bar in 2003.[5]

In October 2001 he began a weekly column with the Irish Examiner and later moved to the Irish Daily Mail. He also writes occasionally for other publications, including The Irish Catholic. He teaches courses in Law, Communication and Personal Development in Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown in Dublin, where he has been on the staff since 2001.[6]

Council of Europe[edit]

In 2010, Mullen replaced the late Deputy Tony Gregory as an independent member of the Irish parliamentary delegation to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, where he joined the European People's Party (Christian Democrat) group,[7] the largest political group represented in the Council of Europe. He became the first NUI Senator to be appointed to the Council of Europe, and only the second Independent Senator to be appointed.[8][9] Mullen is a member of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population and an alternate member of the Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee.[7]

With other European MPs Mullen tabled amendments to protect the right to life of the unborn[10] and has also been vocal on behalf of migrants’ human rights, freedom of conscience and victims of human trafficking in the Council. In October 2010 Mullen together with the Chairperson of the European People's Party at the Council of Europe, Luca Volontè, led the way in pushing through 29 amendments to the McCafferty Report. The McCafferty Report initially intended to severely restrict the right of medical staff to refuse to participate in procuring an abortion, but in the end was transformed into a resolution affirming the right to conscientiously object to abortion. Christine McCafferty, a former British MP and main author of the original resolution, said during deliberations that she sought to force private and religious hospitals and clinics to perform abortions. The report was widely expected to carry in its original form.[citation needed]

The final resolution of the report read: “no person and no hospital or institution shall be coerced, held liable or discriminated against in any manner because of a refusal to perform, accommodate, assist or submit to an abortion [...]”. Remarkably, McCafferty, the original author of the report, was forced to vote against the final resolution due to its radical transformation.[11] The report was eventually entitled “The right to conscientious objection in lawful medical care”.[12]

Other interests[edit]

Mullen is a fluent Irish speaker and contributes regularly to RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and TG4, Ireland's Irish language radio and television channels, as well as on other Irish-language TV and Radio programmes. He has appeared frequently to review newspapers on the independent radio channel Newstalk.

Mullen is a member of the Board of Directors of CEIST (Catholic Education Irish Schools Trust) Ltd,[13] a trust body for over 100 secondary schools around Ireland, including his former school, Holy Rosary College in Mountbellew.[14] He is also a member of the Corporate Board of Management of Daughters of Charity Community Services, an education and community development agency in Dublin's inner city.[15] He is a first cousin of Fine Gael Senator Michael Mullins.

Seanad Éireann[edit]

In 2007, Mullen ran for the Seanad on the National University of Ireland Seanad Panel; he obtained the second-highest number of first preference votes (4,661)[16] and after a two-day count secured the third seat behind sitting Senators Joe O'Toole and Feargal Quinn, edging out Labour Senator Brendan Ryan after the transfer of Valerie Bresnihan’s votes.[17][18] In 2011 he was re-elected to the Seanad, topping the poll with 6,459 (19%) of first preference votes. He was deemed elected on the 24th count having exceeded the quota with 9,023 votes.[1] In his contributions to date he has emphasised issues, such as opposition to abortion,[19] protections for the victims of human trafficking,[20] support for improved end-of-life care in hospitals,[21] maintaining Ireland’s commitment to Overseas Development Aid,[22] and social welfare protection for the economically vulnerable.[23] Mullen is also member of the Joint Committees on Social Protection as well as the Joint Committee on European Affairs. Mullen has also supported the extension of the franchise for senatorial elections to all university graduates.[24][25][26][27]

In November 2008 Mullen introduced to the Seanad his Stem Cell Research (Protection of Human Embryos) Bill .[19] The Bill sought to protect the right to life of human embryos in the context of embryo stem cell research. While it would have meant the banning of embryo research, the Bill allowed for adult stem cell research.

In June 2009 Mullen introduced a Private Members' Motion on Human Trafficking calling for, among other things, criminalising the user of prostituted and trafficked women. The motion was based on legislation in place in Sweden and Norway and received the support of NGOs such as Ruhama and the Immigrant Council of Ireland.[28] The then Green Party Senator Déirdre de Búrca abstained from voting with the Government as a show of support for Mullen's motion.[29]

In the aftermath of the defeat in referendum of the first Lisbon Treaty Mullen was appointed to a sub-committee on European Affairs charged with investigating the political impasse.[30] Mullen dissented from the Sub-Committee’s final report, citing the Sub-Committee’s failure to take seriously potential clashes between EU law and Irish Constitutional law on socio-ethical issues as his reason for doing so.[31] Mullen proposed that in order for the Lisbon Treaty to be passed by a referendum legally binding guarantees would have to be attached to the Treaty re-affirming sovereignty with regard to Ireland’s Constitutional position on the right to life of unborn children, the family, education and religion. He also proposed that both European law and the Constitution of Ireland incorporate such limits to prevent "competence creep" in the future.[32] The suggestion concerning legally-binding guarantees was eventually taken up by the Irish Government in its negotiations with the EU in preparation for a second attempt at a referendum.[33] By the time of the second Lisbon referendum the Government had secured the guarantees but no other constitutional amendment was proposed as part of the plebiscite. The Treaty of Lisbon passed at the second time of asking by 67.1% in favour to 32.9% against.[34]

During the Committee Stage debate in the Seanad on the Civil Partnership Bill 2009, Mullen and Senator Feargal Quinn tabled 77 amendments. Mullen spoke at length on amendments dealing with freedom of conscience in what Government Senators claimed was an attempt to obstruct the Bill.[35][36] For the first time in two decades the Cathaoirleach then closed the committee stage debate, after less than ten hours of discussion.[37] Mullen denied the filibuster claim, describing the cloture as “an attack on democracy”.[35][38]

However, other senators claimed that Mullen was attempting to stifle the bill through repetition and fillibuster, that the debate "had developed into an exercise in absurdity. It had become meaningless and futile due to arguments which did not relate to tabled amendment."[35] Labour Senator Ivana Bacik said that no one wanted to stifle debate. “What we have seen today in the last four hours is not genuine debate but an attempt to obstruct and to filibuster the passing of this important legislation, with which the vast majority of the House are agreed.”[35] He had earlier alluded to the lack of scrutiny given to the Bill in the Dáil.[38] The Sunday Business Post noted that personalised attacks on opponents of the Bill, including Mullen, were an unusual feature of the Seanad debate.[39]

In September 2010 Mullen introduced the first ever Private Members' Motion in the Oireachtas dedicated to the issue of hospice care.[21] The motion focused primarily on facilitating personal choice on dying at home and also on making end-of-life care a core hospital competence. The motion was based on the Irish Hospice Foundation's Audit of End of Life Care. The audit documented that over half the 1000 patients profiled died in multi-bed rooms, only 20-30% of persons received specialist palliative care, and that as many as 25% may have died alone.[40] Speaking to the motion Mullen claimed that “implicit sometimes in our thinking on this issue is the view that policy focus should centre on those with the majority of their lives ahead of them; that dying is a taboo subject better skirted around for the sake of avoiding awkwardness and offence; and that as people gradually lose memory, consciousness, bodily control and even hope, they also lose their dignity”.[41]

Mullen involved in a controversy in April 2012, when he was accused of being "extremely unsympathetic" at a meeting with women who recently travelled outside of Ireland to have their pregnancies terminated after they were diagnosed with abnormalities "incompatible with life".[42] Mullen rejected the accusations and said he sympathised with the women.[43][44] In November 2012 The Irish Times printed an apology to Senator Mullen because their original account of the meeting was "not complete and was unfair to Senator Mullen" [45]

In December 2012, Mullen expressed his sympathy with the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting but warned that his colleagues should "not slip into a double-think where we forget a whole category of children in our own country", in reference to proposed legislation on abortion and comments made by children's minister Frances Fitzgerald with regards the A, B and C case.[46] His comments drew criticism from colleagues including Seanad leader Maurice Cummins and Susan O'Keefe who described them as "disgraceful."[47]

2014 European Parliament election[edit]

Mullen ran as an independent candidate in the Midlands–North-West constituency for the 2014 European Parliament election.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b De Bréadún, Deaglán. "Norris elected after Seanad recount". The Irish Times. 
  2. ^ "Union History". NUI, Galway Students' Union. Retrieved 12 July 2010. 
  3. ^ Paul Tanney (26 February 2000). "King’s Inns, Solicitors of Ireland take honours". The Irish Times. Retrieved 12 July 2010. 
  4. ^ Frank McNally (20 February 2010). "An Irishman’s Diary". The Irish Times. Retrieved 12 July 2010. 
  5. ^ "RONAN MULLEN". The Bar Council - Barristers' Database. Retrieved 12 July 2010. 
  6. ^ "Staff Directory". Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown. Retrieved 12 July 2010. 
  7. ^ a b "Mr Ronan Mullen". Council of Europe. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  8. ^ Kennedy, Michael; O'Halpin, Eunan (2000). Ireland and The Council of Europe - From Isolation towards Integration. Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing. pp. 161–164. ISBN 978-92-871-4243-6. Retrieved 17 August 2010. 
  9. ^ "Ireland (all Members since 1949)". Council of Europe. Retrieved 17 August 2010. 
  10. ^ "2010 ORDINARY SESSION - Amendment No. 34". Council of Europe. Retrieved 12 July 2010. 
  11. ^ Hilary White (7 October 2010). "Breakthrough: Pro-life Lobby Soundly Defeats EU Attack on Conscience in Dramatic Reversal". Campaign Life Coalition. Retrieved 15 November 2010. 
  12. ^ COE (7 October 2010). "The right to conscientious objection in lawful medical care". Council of Europe. Retrieved 15 November 2010. 
  13. ^ "CEIST Ltd.". CEIST. Retrieved 12 July 2010. 
  14. ^ "Holy Rosary College, Mountbellew". CEIST. Retrieved 12 July 2010. 
  15. ^ "CEIST Board of Directors" (PDF). Daughters of Charity Community Services. Retrieved 15 November 2010. 
  16. ^ "Rónán Mullen". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 16 March 2010. 
  17. ^ "Mr. Rónán Mullen". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 16 March 2010. 
  18. ^ Marie O'Halloran (27 July 2007). "Mullen defeats Ryan for final NUI Seanad seat". The Irish Times. Retrieved 12 July 2010. 
  19. ^ a b "Stem-Cell Research (Protection of Human Embryos) Bill 2008". Oireachtas. Retrieved 3 August 2010. 
  20. ^ "Human Trafficking: Motion". Seanad Éireann. Oireachtas. 10 June 2010. Retrieved 17 November 2010. 
  21. ^ a b "End of Life Care: Motion". Oireachtas. Retrieved 17 November 2010. 
  22. ^ "Order of Business". Oireachtas. Retrieved 17 November 2010. 
  23. ^ "Order of Business.". Oireachtas. Retrieved 17 November 2010. 
  24. ^ "Seanad Éireann - Volume 194 - Seanad Reform: Motion". Seanad Éireann. Oireachtas. 11 March 2009. Retrieved 15 November 2010. 
  25. ^ "Independent Senator Ronan Mullen and Enda Kenny discuss the relevance and effectiveness of the Seanad". RTÉ Prime Time. 20 October 2009. Retrieved 15 November 2010. 
  26. ^ "Seanad Reform: Motion". Seanad Éireann. Oireachtas. 20 January 2010. Retrieved 15 November 2010. 
  27. ^ "Seanad Reform: Motion". Seanad Éireann. Oireachtas. 3 November 2010. Retrieved 15 November 2010. 
  28. ^ Ronan McGreevy (10 June 2009). "Call to criminalise act of paying prostitutes for sex". The Irish Times. Retrieved 3 August 2010. 
  29. ^ "Human Trafficking: Motion". Oireachtas. Retrieved 17 August 2010. 
  30. ^ "Sub-Committee on Ireland’s Future in the European Union to hold First meeting today". Oireachtas. Retrieved 3 August 2010. 
  31. ^ "Ireland's place in Europe diminished: report". RTÉ. 27 November 2008. Retrieved 17 August 2010. 
  32. ^ Rónán Mullen (19 February 2009). "Lisbon Treaty: Getting the guarantees right - Rónán Mullen". The Irish Catholic. Retrieved 17 August 2010. 
  33. ^ Micheál Martin (15 December 2008). "Agreement paves the way for a fresh look at the Lisbon Treaty". The Irish Times. Retrieved 17 August 2010. 
  34. ^ "Ireland votes Yes to Lisbon Treaty". RTÉ News. 3 October 2009. Retrieved 17 August 2010. 
  35. ^ a b c d Jimmy Walsh (9 July 2010). "Guillotining of Bill described as outrageous". The Irish Times. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  36. ^ "Civil Partnership Bill passes the Seanad". RTÉ News. 8 July 2010. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  37. ^ Harry McGee (7 July 2010). "Seanad passes Partnership Bill". The Irish Times. Retrieved 3 August 2010. 
  38. ^ a b Jimmy Walsh (8 July 2010). "Partnership Bill passes without vote". The Irish Times. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  39. ^ Pat Leahy (11 July 2010). "Agreement in the Dáil, acrimony in the Seanad". The Sunday Business Post. Retrieved 11 August 2010. 
  40. ^ "Audit on end-of-life care in hospitals". RTÉ News. 20 May 2010. Retrieved 17 November 2010. 
  41. ^ "Motion calls for more attention to end-of-life care in communities". The Irish Times. 30 September 2010. Retrieved 17 November 2010. 
  42. ^ "Senator Mullen 'not sorry' about his abortion stance". Evening Herald. 24 April 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  43. ^ "Senator Ronan Mullen rejects claims over women in abortion discussions at Leinster House". Irish Independent. 23 April 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  44. ^ "The Journal.ie". Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  45. ^ The Irish Times http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2012/1112/1224326473584.html |url= missing title (help). 
  46. ^ "Mullen warns on 'double-think' on X case after Newtown massacre". thejournal.ie. 18 December 2012. 
  47. ^ "Outrage as killings linked to abortion". Evening Herald. 19 December 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 

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