Fine Gael’s Maria Byrne has been re-elected to Seanad Éireann.
Limerick Senator Byrne, who was elected to the Seanad today, said: “Having spent more than two decades in elected politics, I’m honoured to be re-elected to serve in Seanad Eireann and I thank the electorate for placing their trust in me.
“I want to see more women involved and elected in politics both locally and nationally. I am a great supporter of the Fine Gael women’s network and the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus.
“I will be working to encourage and ensure more women play their part in Irish politics,” she said.
“Currently, there are many exciting projects happening in Limerick and I look forward to playing my part in seeing them progress.
“From the Opera Centre to the development of the former Cleeve’s factory site, there are many developments underway to make the Mid-West an even more attractive place to live and work.
“Limerick is also lucky enough to have three excellent third level institutions. The outcome of the joint application between LIT and Athlone IT to become a Technological University is expected shortly.
“This upgrade combined with the current work been taken by LIT around the area of apprenticeships will result in an even more highly-skilled pool of talent and excellent employment opportunities for Limerick and the Mid West region.
“These improved educational facilities together with the proximity of Shannon Airport will continue to bring economic investment to the area and ensure Limerick remains the key driver for the region.”
Senator Byrne said: “The agriculture sector has faced huge challenges in the last year with the double demands of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I look forward to continuing my work with the agri-food sector and the IFA to ensure the voices of farmers are heard clearly in Seanad Éireann and this vital sector receives the support it needs.”
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said: “Senator Maria Byrne will make an excellent Senator and member of the Seanad and Oireachtas.
“I know she is a passionate politician and has worked extremely hard as a public representative, previously as a Senator in the last Oireachtas and prior to that, from her first election to Limerick City Council in 1999 through to its amalgamation with Limerick County Council in 2014, as a councillor.
“In 2019, she successfully spear-headed Fine Gael’s plebiscite campaign for a Directly Elected Mayor for Limerick city and county.
“I have been quite clear that I want to see more women serving in the Oireachtas. My party, Fine Gael, is working hard to achieve this and will continue to do so.
“Today is a stepping-stone on that path to ensure our Dáil and Seanad accurately reflects Irish society.
“I wish Maria Byrne the best in her return to the Seanad and look forward to working with her on several issues and challenges for our country.”
Maria was elected to the Agricultural Panel of the 25th Seanad in 2016 and served as Fine Gael Seanad spokesperson on Education and Skills.
She previously served as a Councillor on Limerick City and County Council from 1999 up until her election to Seanad Éireann. During her time on the Council, Maria was Mayor of Limerick from 2010 to 2011.
Maria is involved in many sporting organisations locally and in a voluntary capacity with Our Lady of Lourdes, the Special Olympics and also St. Gabriel’s School and Centre. She has also previously served on the Governing Bodies of both Limerick Institute of Technology and the University of Limerick. She is also a current member and past president of Limerick and Shannon Rotary Club and is the Chairperson of the Board of Management of Gaelcoláiste Luimnigh.
She has heavily promoted the economic development of Limerick as one of Ireland’s major cities enhancing the capacity of the region to attract investment thereby providing substantial job creation for Limerick.
She successfully led the Fine Gael campaign on the plebiscite for a Directly Elected Mayor for Limerick in 2019.