Kathy Sinnott

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Kathy Sinnott
Kathy Sinnott.jpg
Member of the European Parliament
In office
June 2004 – June 2009
Personal details
BornKathy Kelly
(1950-09-29) 29 September 1950 (age 68)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Political partyIndependent
Alma materSaint Mary-of-the-Woods College,
University College Dublin

Kathy Sinnott (née Kelly; born 29 September 1950) is a disability rights campaigner and a former politician. She represented the South constituency in Ireland in the European Parliament from 2004 to 2009.[2]

She is secretary of the Hope Project,[3] a charity that helps people with disabilities. Sinnott founded the Hope Project in 1996. She married Declan Sinnott when they were both aged twenty one, and had 9 children (3 daughters and 6 sons) together, they are now separated.[4] In 2000, she took a court case to force the Irish government to provide a primary school education for her son Jamie who has multiple disabilities. In 2001, High Court ruled that every person in Ireland had a constitutional right to free appropriate primary education based on need.[5] The judgement confirmed that this was a fundamental right which was not limited by the availability of resources. The government did not challenge the High Court decision for children 18 years and younger but successfully appealed its application to persons over 18 years of age to the Supreme Court.[6]

Public office[edit]

She was elected as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the South constituency at the 2004 European Parliament election. She campaigned on disability and education issues, euroscepticism and social conservatism.

She had stood previously at the 2002 general election for a seat in the Cork South-Central constituency, and narrowly losing the fifth and final seat to John Dennehy of Fianna Fáil. In the election count, she was initially ahead by 3 votes but lost by 6 votes after two recounts.[7] She was an unsuccessful candidate at the subsequent Senate election in 2002 she had been nominated by 4 sitting Independent TDs,[8] losing out by 3 votes to a Fine Gael Candidate. She required a high court judgement to allow her to run for the seanad on the Labour Panel.[9]

She is a former co-chair of the European Parliament's Eurosceptic Independence/Democracy group. Sinnott was a member and Vice-President of the EUDemocrats – Alliance for a Europe of Democracies.

On 8 June 2009 Sinnott lost her seat in the European Parliament. She received more than 30% fewer votes than in the 2004 European Parliament election.

On 21 September 2009 her son Kevin drowned in a swimming accident in Georgia.[10] He was a final year philosophy student at the Southern Catholic College in Dawsonville, Georgia.[10]

In 2012, Sinnott campaigned against the Children's Referendum, claiming it would "lock in" the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to the Irish Constitution and that a "child is six times more likely to die in care at the hands of the State, than in the care of their parents."[11] Her statistics drew criticism from Leo Varadkar who labelled them "incredible" and "made up."[11]

As part of the "First Families First" campaign group Sinnott campaigned against the 2015 Marriage Referendum on same-sex marriage, alongside fathers' rights campaigner John Waters.[12]

Current as of 5 November 2016 she is the host of Celtic Connections; a programme on EWTN Radio.[13]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "Kathy Sinnott". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 12 May 2009.
  3. ^ The Hope Project Archived 2009-02-10 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "Declan Sinnott: Guitar star hits the right chords". Enniscorthy Guardian. 6 May 2009.
  5. ^ "Kathy Sinnott". Archived from the original on 22 October 2007. Retrieved 12 May 2009.
  6. ^ "News At One". RTÉ News. 12 July 2001. Archived from the original on 6 December 2011. Retrieved 12 May 2009.
  7. ^ "General Election: 17 May 2002 – Cork South-Central". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 12 May 2009.
  8. ^ Sinnott Nominated for the seanad www.rte.ie
  9. ^ Chapter 10 The Subterranean Election of the Seanad Michael Gallagher and Liam Weeks UCC
  10. ^ a b Body found in US lake is son of former MEP, Michelle McDonagh, The Irish Times, 24 September 2009
  11. ^ a b Hugh O'Connell (28 September 2012). "Sinnott accused of engaging in "hysterical hyperbole" over referendum". TheJournal.ie.
  12. ^ First Families First take up the fight for the no side by Kathy Sheridan, Irish Times, May 1, 2015.
  13. ^ http://www.ewtn.com/radio/

External links[edit]