The 1% Podcast

Helen McEntee


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    Helen McEntee

    Brexit, the EU and Career to Date The 1% Podcast


My guest today is the Minister of State for European Affairs Helen McEntee.

It was great to get the opportunity to speak with the Minister of State for European Affairs Helen McEntee in a week where one of the most important national issues of the last 50 years is being debated in Ireland, the UK, and across Europe.

Minister McEntee has held the European Affairs portfolio since 2017 a big part of which placed her at the center of the EU negotiations around the Withdrawal Agreement.

In this episode, Minister McEntee reflects on her early days in politics, being a woman in politics, her thoughts on being both European and Irish, her future in politics, and of course ―Brexit.





Show Summary


2.15   Early years

  • Minister McEntee’s farming background
  • Coming from a family of strong women
  • Community and activism exposure in her childhood helped shape her approach in life
  • Early days in politics


5.48   Being a woman in politics

  • Dealing with the age bias when first elected
  • Thoughts on gender quotas
  • This importance of “Creating an environment where its normal and acceptable for women to be in politics”
  • Making politics more accessible for women
  • Inspiring younger women to get involved in politics
  • Women in politics who inspire Minister McEntee


10.32   Her work on Mental Health 

  • Thoughts on how Ireland is progressing in relation to raising awareness on mental health issues


15.57   On Europe and being European

  • Thoughts on being both Irish and European
  • The importance of being European today
  • Thoughts on why Irish people have such a positive image of the EU


20.25   The EU

  • The importance of Ireland’s strong relationship with its European colleagues
  • Upcoming European elections
  • Challenges ahead for the European Parliament
  • The importance of pro-European voting today
  • The various EU working groups and Minister McEntee’s involvement in each of these
  • Building alliances with other members states in the wake of the UK’s withdrawal, Ireland’s closest ally
  • Thoughts on ‘corridor consultation’ in Brussels
  • Ireland’s pro-enlargement stance in the EU and the need to provide support to countries looking to join the EU
  • Thoughts on Turkey’s planned accession to the EU “I don’t think we should be progressing until the human rights issues are addressed”


33.28   Brexit

  • The difficulty in predicting what will happen next
  • It is time for the House of Commons to figure out what it wants “We are negotiating and engaging with a parliament that still doesn’t know what it wants”
  • Preparations are well under way for Brexit, but there is only so much that could be done until a definite outcome is known
  • The impact of a no-deal on the Irish economy, the stark negative economic predictions
  • Impact on business in Ireland – the importance for businesses to look at their markets, supply chain and legal structures in preparation for Brexit; “Anybody who hasn’t been looking at their business before this, they are now”


41.40   Challenges facing the EU

  • The difficult issue of migration and Ireland showing solidarity and support
  • Climate change, the importance of Europe coming together to tackle the issue. Ireland needs to do more


43.40   Work life balance the thoughts on her future

  • The importance of her team around her
  • Taking personal time when possible
  • Her love for football in Meath
  • Thoughts on her future in politics