In 1962 Emmetsburg, Iowa and Dublin, Ireland were officially declared "Sister Cities." It has since been a privlege and honor for the St. Pat's Association to host a member of the Irish Parliament to reign over the three day celebration. Through this association, many lasting friendships have been formed.
While visiting in the states, the Parliamentarians are given the opportunity to watch Iowa's governing bodies at work, and are invited to address both sessions the state legislature. Although some have left political life and returned to sucessful businesses, they keep actively in touch with affairs of the government, both at home and abroad.
Having been a community activist all my life and a lifelong member of Fianna Fáill in 2014 I successfully contested the Local elections in the Comeragh area and won a seat. I served as a Councillor for 2 years and enjoyed my role as a public representative immensely.
In 2016 after securing the nomination from the Fianna Fáil party in Waterford I contested the general election, I was delighted and humbled to receive 10,603 votes, topping the poll and being elected on the first count. I also had the honour of being the first female Fianna Fáil TD to be elected for the party since 2007.
I have a strong grounding in the retail sector having worked as both an employee and an employer. I successfully ran the family business a grocery shop in Portlaw for 17 years and continued my career working in John Martin Jewellers in Waterford City for 10 years.
I was honoured to be asked to Chair the Oireachtas Committee on Business Enterprise and Innovation which scrutinizes many pieces of very important legislation and has produced many reports in relation to the cost of doing business, Brexit and apprenticeships among others. I feel that my practical experience in retail gives me strong grounding for this role.
I am Fianna Fail Spokesperson for Older People and Health Promotion, an area I am passionate about. I work closely with the Alzheimers Society, Age Action, Nursing Homes Ireland and the Carers Association as well as many others. I also Chair the All Party Oireachtas Group on Dementia raising awareness for people with memory difficulties as they grow older. I have produced several pieces of legislation in relation to Fair Deal and Mandatory Sentencing for Crimes against Older People which are currently progressing through the Oireachtas.
I am married to Mick and have three children and I am lucky to have a great family support network. Having constituency offices in Waterford City and Dungarvan, I believe in representing all of my constituents in Waterford City and County to the best of my ability.