The Civil Engagement Group in the 25th Seanad. From left to right: Senators Frances Black, Colette Kelleher, John Dolan, Grace O’Sullivan MEP, Senators Alice-Mary Higgins, Lynn Ruane.

The Civil Engagement Group is an alliance of members of Seanad Éireann with a background in non-governmental or civic engagement organisations. Originally founded after the election of the 25th Seanad in 2016, by independent Senators Frances Black, John Dolan, Alice-Mary Higgins, Colette Kelleher and Lynn Ruane, and Green Party Senator Grace O’Sullivan. In the current, 26th, Seanad, Senator Eileen Flynn joined Alice-Mary Higgins, Lynn Ruane and Frances Black. Senator Alice-Mary Higgins serves as the group’s leader.

All members of the group have an activist background and are interested in pursuing progressive policy. The group is working towards a more inclusive approach to policy-making, with a stronger focus on equality.

The group meets weekly, shares speaking time and committee appointments, shares resources and very often collaborate to advance shared positions, but the group does not exercise a whip, and members are free to speak, vote and advocate as they wish.

In the few short years of the group’s existence they have achieved considerably more than any similar grouping in the history of the Oireachtas.

If you would like to get in touch with any of the Senators, please see their profile pages on this website. If you would like to contact the group’s secretariat, you may email us at