Patricia McKenna (born 13 March 1957) is an Irish former Independent politician who served as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the Dublin constituency from 1994 to 2004. She is a practising Barrister having been called to the Bar in 2016.
|Member of the European Parliament|
1 July 1994 – 20 May 2004
Patricia Mary Margaret McKenna
13 March 1957
Castleshane, Monaghan, Ireland
|Green Party (until 2009)|
|Spouse(s)||Martin Gillen (m. 1995)|
|Alma mater||Trinity College, Dublin|
A native of Castleshane, a small village in County Monaghan. McKenna was formerly a member of the Green Party. She became the first Green Party candidate in Ireland to be elected to the European Parliament. She was elected to the European Parliament at the 1994 election and was re-elected at the 1999 election, but lost her seat at the 2004 election. She acted as one of the Dáil advisers to Ireland's first Green Party Teachta Dála (TD), Roger Garland. In 1997, she called for a boycott of Dunnes Stores when it was reported to be selling clothes produced in a state-run factory in Burma.
McKenna has been involved in many campaigns as an MEP and politician. She is perhaps best known for her victory in the Supreme Court in 1995, in which she argued successfully that it was unconstitutional for the Government of Ireland to spend taxpayers money promoting only one side of the argument in referendum campaigns. This led to the setting up of the Referendum Commission.
McKenna also campaigned against the Irish government's plan to join NATO's "Partnership for Peace". She is a strong advocate of Irish neutrality and the Shell to Sea campaign, and was widely associated with the Eurosceptic wing of the Green Party.
McKenna ran as Green Party candidate at the 2007 general election for the Dublin Central constituency, but was not elected. She also strongly opposed the 2007 Programme for Government between the Green Party and Fianna Fáil. After the election, she declared herself a candidate for the leadership of the Green Party, but the position was won by John Gormley. She was elected to the Green Party National Executive in April 2008.
In 2014, she graduated with a degree in Law and Political Science from Trinity College, Dublin. She was called to the Bar in 2016.
2009 European Parliament election
In May 2009, after the Bank bail-outs, McKenna announced her intention to run as an Independent candidate at the 2009 European Parliament election in Dublin - attacking her party colleagues as "nothing but hypocrites" due to their role in the coalition government, and that she would be "embarrassed to stand as their candidate".
Reactions by former party colleagues to McKenna's departure from the Green Party were mixed. According to Green Party Senator Déirdre de Búrca, "The pity about Patricia McKenna's move is that she did not do it at least a year ago and spare herself and her party colleagues a lot of time-wasting and strife. It has been increasingly clear that she does not share the same views on many issues with Green Party members."
McKenna was not elected at the 2009 European Parliament election. She received 17,521 first preference votes (4.3%). She was eliminated at the fifth count, after her former party colleague Déirdre de Búrca, who was eliminated at the third count.
In June 2010, she attended meetings with a number of former Green Party members to facilitate the formation of a new political party, Fís Nua.
Involvement in the UK European Union referendum, 2016
In 2016, McKenna campaigned with Green Leaves, an EU critical faction of the Green Party of England and Wales whose members include Baroness Jenny Jones, for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union in the run up to its membership referendum. She argued that the EU is unreformable and criticised its neoliberal policies.
- "McKenna to quit Green Party". The Irish Times. 6 May 2009. Retrieved 6 May 2009.
- "Burma goods pledge by Dunnes after boycott call". The Irish Times. 2 August 1997. Retrieved 1 December 2010.
- The Green Party Archived 13 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- "McKenna to leave the Green Party". RTÉ News. 6 May 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2009.
- "Ryan says Green voters need not transfer to Fianna Fáil". The Irish Times. 7 May 2009. Retrieved 21 May 2009.
- New Political Party - Fís Nua www.irishcentral.com