Ballinteer man is Dublin’s newest MEP

Joe Higgins, searing political wit and staunch defender of the working classes, is a tough act to follow. But 27-year-old Paul Murphy is quietly confident that he can fill the shoes of the great Socialist when he takes over as Dublin MEP next month.

A native of Ballinteer who has been assistant to Joe Higgins since 2009, Paul Murphy is the Socialist Party’s choice to fill the seat left vacant at the European Parliament since Higgins regained his position in the Dáil.

Subject to final approval by MEPs, he is due to attend his first plenary session of the parliament in April as Ireland’s youngest ever MEP. Despite his tender years, Paul is already a seasoned activist and political advisor, having campaigned on Socialist issues for over ten years.

Although he was down the list of substitutes to replace Joe Higgins, Paul Murphy was the only candidate free to assume the role. Former Councillor Clare Daly won a seat in the Dail, while second substitute Councillor Ruth Coppinger had family obligations which prevented her accepting the job in Brussels. Paul insists there was no power struggle involved in his selection, and dismisses claims that anyone had been “shafted”.

Paul Murphy MEP

“This is the Socialist Party, no-one is in it for the career gains or the money! There is no dispute between any party members,” he said.

In line with his predecessor, Paul Murphy will claim less than one third of his annual MEP’s salary estimated at €90,000. He will only accept an average workers’ wage of about €24,000, plus travel expenses, and will donate the rest of his earnings to workers’ groups and human rights campaigns.Murphy is determined to continue Joe Higgins’ work in Brussels of exposing what he described as the “predatory nature” of the EU’s trade policy.

“I will take over from Joe as a member of the International Trade Committee, where I will fight against the exploitation of under-developed countries for the benefit of European multinationals,” he said.

He will also keep a hand in domestic politics by campaigning against water charges, home taxes and other threats to working people. And Paul will also keep in close contact with mentor Joe Higgins, who was happy to give his blessing to his young colleague.

“Paul is highly competent and will be a very energetic EU parliamentarian, he will carry on with the same crucial issues that I fought for myself,” said Higgins.

Article by journalist Jessie Magee for Eurolink, which is funded by the European Parliament.

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