Moate-based Irish Rural Link CEO re-elected as European body president

Moate-based Irish Rural Link CEO, Seamus BOland, has been re-elected president of a key European consultative group.

Members of the Civil Society Organisations’ Group of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC ) recently re-elected the Ballycumber native as president of the group for a further two and a half years, by acclamation.

Séamus Boland will chair the group for his second half-term, from April 2023 to September 2025. Mr Boland, who is a farmer and represents an organisation for rural and community development at the committee, has chaired the group since October 2020, having been a member of the committee since 2011.

The eradication of poverty and the role of civil society organisations (CSOs ) in combating poverty will remain the overarching priority during his presidency.

“Poverty is heading for an all-time high as a consequence of Covid-19, climate change and the geopolitical turmoil due to the war in Ukraine. It affects all spheres of life and prevents us from achieving a sustainable future for all.

“Poverty eradication therefore remains the overriding priority of my presidency and civil society organisations play a pivotal role in combatting poverty. CSOs help voice local concerns, define local needs and find local solutions. This is crucial for attaining the first Sustainable Development Goal, which is to eradicate extreme poverty everywhere,” Mr Boland stated.

For 2023, Séamus Boland proposes concentrating the work of the group on the following priority areas:

· Resilient European health and care systems;

· Climate change, energy poverty and vulnerable groups;

· Skills, digitalisation and vulnerable persons;

· The role of civil society organisations (CSOs ) in defending and strengthening European democracy;

· Empowering young people and protecting children.

During his first half-term, it was unanimously decided to change the group’s name from the ‘Diversity Europe Group’ to the ‘Civil Society Organisations’ Group’.

“Our new name – Civil Society Organisations’ Group – provides our stakeholders with more clarity about the Group’s composition and mission.

“The renaming was especially timely, in light of the final report of the Conference on the Future of Europe, which proposes enhancing the institutional role of the Committee and empowering it as facilitator and guarantor of participatory democracy,” Mr Boland concluded.


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