Alice-Mary Higgins has been "a remarkably effective and progressive" member of Seanad Éireann, "with a sharp eye for human rights", and who has the potential to continue "invaluable and reforming work" in the upper house.
This is the view of Prof Donncha O’Connell of the School of Law, NUI Galway, who is among those to nominated Independent senator Alice-Mary for re-election to Seanad Éireann on the National University of Ireland panel.
Sen Higgins first won a seat in 2016, in the process becoming the first woman elected on the NUI panel in 35 years. Since then she has led Seanad debate son issues of equality and environment and proposed, and won, amendments on a wide range of legislation.
She sponsored and co-sponsored 10 Bills in total, including the Occupied Territories Bill and the Family Reunification Bill which have already passed all stages in the Seanad and currently await a ‘money message’ in the Dáil.
She also served as leader of the Civil Engagement Group in the Seanad, a group of Senators committed to strengthening the links between civil society and policy-making; she was a member of the Joint Committee on Employment Affairs and Social Protection and the Joint Committee on Climate Action. She also chaired the cross-party group on Peace, Neutrality and Disarmament.
Sen Higgins acknowledged the recent General Election was a demand for change from the public. "This opens up new possibilities and the next Seanad will have a crucial role to play in shaping our direction as a country," she said. “When I was elected in 2016, I promised to bring care, creativity, and long-term thinking into the heart of political debate. That approach will be more important then ever in the next Seanad. I am ambitious for action on equality, environment and a rights-based approach to public services.”