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*Senator Martin Conway. Photograph: Natasha Barton

ENNISTYMON Senator, Martin Conway (FG) has been appointed to a panel within the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to promote political participation of people with disabilities.

After completing an interview one month ago, Senator Conway was informed this week that he was appointed to the advisory panel of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) after impressing the panel with his commitment in encouraging people with disabilities to become involved in politics.

Conway became the first visually impaired member of the Oireachtas following his election to the Seanad in 2011. “It is so important to me that all people with disabilities are given the chance to participate in political and public life to ensure there is full representation when it comes to policy making and the enacting of laws”.

He explained of his four year term on the OSCE, “My role will involve providing advice, guidance and recommendations to ODIHR, and through ODIHR to the OSCE participating States, on matters related to the political participation of persons with disabilities. The work includes the implementation of relevant OSCE commitments; legislation, policies and state practices, contributing to material related to the international framework for political participation of persons with disabilities; and educational and capacity building efforts”.

He was first elected to Clare County Council in 2004 where he remained for seven years until his election to the Seanad where he is Fine Gael’s Seanad Government Spokesperson on Justice and Equality. He contested the General Election for the first time in February of last year, he was eliminated on the sixth count.

Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar (FG) believed the new role would allow Martin “to pursue his dedicated work on disabilities issues on a global stage, in addition to his work in Ireland. I wish him every success in his new role”. The Fine Gael leader said, “I have known Martin for many years and he is a passionate advocate for the disability community, ensuring their views are represented not just within the Fine Gael party, but also in the Seanad”.

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