Union leader Sheila Nunan to run for Labour in European elections

First female leader of INTO, who played key role in pay talks, will run in Ireland South

Sheila Nunan: ‘We need a better balance between workers and the needs of the market.’ Photograph: Laura Hutton

Sheila Nunan: ‘We need a better balance between workers and the needs of the market.’ Photograph: Laura Hutton

 

Trade union leader Sheila Nunan has been selected by the Labour Party to contest the European elections in Ireland South.

She saw off competition for a place on the ticket from former Labour TD for Clare Michael McNamara.

Ms Nunan was elected as general secretary of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation in 2010, becoming the first woman to hold the post.

As head of one of the country’s largest teacher unions during the recession, she was a leading figure during negotiations of public-service pay agreements.

She is the current president of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu).

In a statement, Ms Nunan said that the “tide is turning in this country”. “Ordinary people see the need for strong Labour values at the heart of government decision-making, here and in Europe. Brexit has exposed the fragility of our relationships with our neighbouring countries and the need to ensure Europe delivers for the many and not just the few”.

Thanking “grass-roots members”, she said there was a need to create a “European social floor, beyond which no one can fall. We need a better balance between workers and the needs of the market, standing firm in the face of exploitation and supporting communities”.

In a statement, the Labour Party said Ms Nunan was a “strong advocate for decent work, decent pay and quality public services”.