29-10-2015 | Former MEP Gay Mitchell receives EFNA award

Gay Mitchell receives the award for "Patient Advocacy by a European Policy-Maker" which is an  initiative of the European Federation of Neurological Associations.

Gay Mitchell has had a long association with Epilepsy Ireland. He is a former Fine Gael politician and was a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the Dublin constituency from 2004 to 2014.

Mr. Mitchell was very involved in the success of the first European Epilepsy Day (EED). He hosted a lunch discussion on epilepsy attended by a number of MEPs. This provided another opportunity for raising epilepsy awareness and the discussions highlighted MEPs interest in learning more about the problems faced by people with epilepsy.

(L-R Mary Harney, Former MEP Gay Mitchell Award Winner, TV Presenter Nick Ross, EFNA President Ann Little)

At the launch of European Epilepsy Day, Mr Mitchell suggested creating an ad hoc group of MEPs to support epilepsy in the parliament and this was the beginning of the European Advocates for Epilepsy Group, which had almost 50 members by the end of the parliamentary term.

The Written Declaration on Epilepsy was submitted in 2011 by Gay Mitchell, Chair of the European Advocates for Epilepsy Group, and co-signed by four other MEPs including Irish MEP Marian Harkin. The Declaration was approved in September 2011 and was signed by 459 MEPs, making it the third highest number of signatures of all disease related declarations since 2004 - which are the earliest available records.

On his retirement from the European Parliament last year, Mr Mitchell agreed to become a member of the International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE)/ International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) joint task force on epilepsy in Europe – Epilepsy Advocacy Europe – which is the group that coordinates the IBE EU-related activities.

 Source: International Bureau for Epilepsy