“In my political and professional work, I have been dedicated to helping people and working with others to tackle the many problems in our society.”
In 1987 I graduated from Trinity College Dublin with an Arts and Psychology degree, and two years later received a postgraduate diploma in Psychotherapy from University College Dublin. I then established a private practice as a psychotherapist and worked as a self-employed person for twenty years. In 1993, along with colleagues, I established the M. Sc. course in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy in Trinity College Dublin, between 2001 and 2006 I was course director. I also served on the board of the Office of Tobacco Control from 2006 to 2008.
In 2004 I was elected to represent the Blackrock area on Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council as a Green party councillor and during this time I served on the Dublin Regional Authority. I resigned my council seat in August 2008 and then joined the Labour Party.
In the following year I was elected as a Member of the European Parliament for the Ireland East Constituency.
However, I came to believe that my ability to work for the policies I support, and was elected on, was no longer compatible with membership of the Labour party. That the party in government supported a policy of never-ending, pointless austerity. Accordingly, I resigned from the party in July 2013.
Since I was first elected to the parliament in 2009, I have worked in support of progressive and social democratic policies that are designed to put people, jobs and fairness at the heart of Europe. While sometimes opponents accuse me of chopping and changing from different parties – and I have changed parties, and then became an independent – but who I am, and what I stand for has never changed.
In May 2014 I stood for election in Dublin, and was re-elected as an independent member of the European parliament. I then joined the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats as a non-party member, and I had been a member of this political grouping during my previous term of office in the European Parliament.
I have been interested in politics and current affairs from an early age. Even in my childhood, we often had lively political discussions at home between my father and mother. My father, Erskine Childers, was a hardworking and effective minister in several Fianna Fáil governments from 1951 to 1973 and he was elected as a much-loved President of Ireland. My mother, Rita Childers, held strongly progressive views of her own. Public service and integrity are the hallmark of the Childers family for several generations. I am proud that my grandfather, Robert Erskine Childers, was mainly responsible for carrying out the Howth gun running which was an essential part of the preparations for the 1916 Rising. He was a member of the First Dáil and Director of Publicity for Sinn Féin during the War of Independence and was executed during the Civil War. However, in his condemned cell he forgave those who sentenced him and bade my father to do so as well. I have been inspired by their example but I have tried to advance their values in my own distinctive way.
I live in Clonskeagh in South Dublin and have two grown up children – a son and a daughter.