Citizen’s voice: Europe wants to hear EU

13 Aug 2009

The European Commission has unveiled a new interactive website to encourage dialogue with Irish citizens. Local Eurocrats promise they will listen.

The new site,, is just one element of the year long ‘TalktoEU’ programme created in response to research carried out which highlighted a lack of knowledge amongst the Irish public on the European Union and its policies.

The new website is designed to promote open dialogue with Irish citizens and ultimately foster greater mutual understanding between the EU and the Irish public.

The Irish population is invited to log on, ask questions, give opinions, voice concerns and also find out more about what the EU is doing for their own local area and for Ireland as a whole.

By listening to the views of Irish citizens with regard to the EU and its policies, and explaining how the EU may play a role in addressing those concerns, the Commission believes that it can encourage public interest and participation in EU affairs and as a result shape policies in tune with the needs of Irish people.

“We believe that it will provide an invaluable resource for Irish citizens who want to share a concern or an opinion, or just learn more about the EU actually does for Ireland,” Martin Territt, director of the European Commission Representation in Ireland explained.

“Whatever you throw at us, we’ll listen! We want to encourage debate and dialogue not only through the website, but also through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Bebo – all designed to educate, inform and most importantly, listen to the views of Irish people of all ages and walks of life.”

Over the coming months, the Irish population will have a number of opportunities to make their voices heard. ‘TalktoEU’ video message booths will be placed in high footfall areas all over the country from the end of August, giving passers-by the opportunity to ask questions and give their views on the European Union – on anything from legislation and funding to the European Institutions and how they work.

‘TalktoEU’ will also be touring the country, holding a series of local ‘listening’ events and public discussions in venues all over Ireland during the next six months. The next three events will take place next week in the following venues:

17 August, 8pm: Bray Town Hall

18 August, 8pm: Central Hotel, Dublin (with a special focus on environmental issues)

19 August, 8pm: Skylon Hotel, Dublin

24 August, 8pm: Clarion Hotel, Limerick

26 August, 8pm: Jury’s Hotel, Cork

27 August, 8pm: Granville Hotel, Waterford

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years