Congress has four nominees to contest Labour Panel Seanad seats

24 Feb 2020


The ICTU has four nominees for the Labour Panel to contest the Seanad Elections. Paul Gavan (SF) Martina Harkin-Kelly, (Non-Party) Michael Smyth,(FF) and Marie Sherlock (Labour Party) 

Paul Gavan (Sinn Féin) is currently one of the ICTU’s nominees to Seanad Éireann having being elected in 2016.  He is Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers’ Rights & Education.  He is also a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.  Paul has consistently campaigned on international issues such as neutrality and rights for refugees and migrants.  At home, Paul has campaigned on issues in relation to Irish Unity, Precarious Work, Trade Union Rights and the need for a Living Wage.  He was a pro-choice member of the Oireachtas Committee dealing with the 8th Amendment.  Paul has been to the forefront in developing and advancing legislation to protect Tips for workers in the hospitality industry.  He is also working on developing party policy to support Worker Co-operatives and Church-State separation.  Paul holds a degree in European Studies from the University of Limerick. Nominated by:  SIPTU    Union Member:  Yes - SIPTU                                                                           

Martina Harkin-Kelly (Non-Party) is the serving President of the INMO and a member of the INMO National Executive Council.  Professionally, Martina is a nurse and educator.   She strongly believes in the principle of trade union solidarity and the rights of workers to organise and bargain collectively with their employer.  Martina has been an active member of the ICTU Woman’s Committee, working on issues such as violence against women, access to health care, affordable housing, access to work and availability of childcare.  She fundamentally believes that the voice of working people and those seeking refuge in Ireland needs to be strengthened in political institutions.  She has made submissions to various Oireachtas Committees and has spent time lobbying domestic and international political institutions on health needs. Martina has a Masters in Humanities from Sligo Institute of Technology and a BA Honours Degree from St. Angela’s College, Sligo.  Nominated by:  INMO   Union Member:  Yes - INMO        

Michael Smyth (Fianna Fáil) is a co-ordinator of a School Completion Programme in Dublin 20.  He is committed to the ideals of equality and fairness for all workers and has always been a member of a trade union. Michael is also currently a Senior Vice-President with Fórsa.  While President of the Students’ Union in college, he joined the Fianna Fáil party and has been a member for the past twenty years. Michael also spent five years as a Town Councillor in Ballybay, Co Monaghan and was Mayor of the town for a year.  He believes in the right of workers to organise and to improve their pay and conditions through collective bargaining.  Michael is committed to a referendum being held to keep Irish Water in public ownership and undertakes to keep in regular contact with ICTU to appraise himself of ongoing concerns and to help find solutions to these issues. Nominated by:  Fórsa Union Member:  Yes

 Marie Sherlock (Labour Party) is Head of Equality and Policy in SIPTU.  She is currently also an elected Labour Party Councillor with Dublin City Council (2019). She has thirteen years’ experience as a trade union researcher and advocate and has contributed to policy formation and campaigns at the highest levels within SIPTU and across the trade union movement.  Maire has also served on the Executive Council of ICTU as well as being a Congress nominee to several Government appointed bodies.  She has been an advocate for workers’ rights and a regular contributor to the national, international, print and broadcast media on working conditions and social & economic conditions for workers and their families.  Marie has also been head of Manifesto Development with the Labour Party and a policy advisor to the members of the Economic & Monetary Affairs Committee for the Party of European Socialists in the European Parliament.   Marie has a degree in Economics and is also a University of Cambridge graduate.  Nominated by:  SIPTU   Union Member:  Yes - SIPTU