Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Martin Dunn from Failte Ireland to give some advice for people considering this job:


Martin Dunn

Activities Manager

Failte Ireland

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  Martin Dunn
  • Qualities & Values - Patience, hard work, like meeting people, enjoy providing good customer service, desire to do a good job for yourself and your employer 
  • Client Skills - Qualification both education qualifications and practical ability to the job
  • Interests - to be generally interested in the field you are working in. I think that it is easy for people to look at the job and think its great and must be loads of fun because you get to go on the high ropes all the time. That is just a small part of the job and generally you are watching others having fun and playing on the activities and you only go on them to do staff training or to do safety checks. You must also be prepared for the paper work that goes along with a job where you are responsible for that safety of people and this cannot be overlooked.

Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalists interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.

Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results, and prefer action to talking and discussing.
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Parliamentary Assistant - EU

Job Zone

Most occupations in this zone require job specific training (vocational training) related to the occupation (NFQ Levels 5 and 6 or higher), related on-the-job experience, or a relevant professional award.

Related Experience
Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, electricians typically complete four years of training in order to perform the job.

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Job Zone Examples
These occupations usually involve using communication and organisational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include restaurant managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, hairdressers, and web developers.

€31k >  
Parliamentary Assistant - EU
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€31 -  
Related Information:
MEPs can choose their own staff within a budget set by Parliament.

Accredited assistants, based in Brussels(or Luxembourg/Strasbourg) are administered directly by Parliament’s administration, under the conditions of employment for non-permanent EU staff.

Pay commences on Grade 1 (€2,654 monthy) of the 16 point pay-scale.

Assistants’ contracts are managed by the parliamentary authorities in accordance with the Assistant’s Statute. Expenses and a per diem are paid by parliamentary authorities in addition to the salary.

Assistants based in MEPs’ Member States are handled by qualified paying agents, guaranteeing the proper tax and social security arrangements.
Data Source(s):
Official Journal of the European Union & EPSO

Last Updated: April, 2015

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
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At a Glance... header image

Works as assistant to an MEP elected to the European Parliament.

Videos & Interviews header image

1Total Records: 1

Kevin Keary
Parliamentary Assistant  
Kevin Keary is Parliamentary Assistant to MEP Sean Kelly. He recieved his BA International in Spanish and Sociological Political Studies from NUI Galway. His job is based in Brussels where he has worked on projects such as the International Fund for Ireland.
Go to Interview  

The Work header image

There are about 1,500 assistants who assist MEPs. Parliamentary Assistants undertake a variety of work, reflecting the particular interests and engagement of their MEP. The following wide-ranging activities are typical of the work involved in this role:

  • Management of the Brussels office with high volume and complex administration
  • Providing secretarial and office support to MEP, including: managing and responding to mail; managing MEP’s diary; responding to information requests; booking meetings; organising travel arrangements; and providing general office support
  • Drafting, coordinating, political strategy and lobbying work to influence relevant legislation via Parliamentary Committees and plenaries
  • Liaising with researchers of the political group, staff in the constituency office, Brussels-based NGOs and delegations, and other institutions
  • Speech writing and press work as appropriate
  • Desk research for reports, speeches, Parliamentary questions/letters and constituent queries
  • Recruitment, management and training of stagiaires
  • Organising and overseeing group visits, seminars and receptions
  • Administering and overseeing expenditure of budget line for publications

Personal Qualitiesheader image

The tasks of Parliamentary Assistants vary enormously and are typically a mixture of several roles, from secretary-advisor-press-officer to tour guide for visitors, all rolled into one.

This multitasking job role requires flexibility, ability to react fast and adapt quickly, and patience, as well as language skills, good time management skills, organisational skills and problem solving.

Entry Routesheader image

Parliamentary assistants are selected at the discretion of each sitting MEP, as a result no strict qualification framework is applicable.


Each of the 751 MEPs elected to the European Parliament work with at least two Parliamentary Assistants.

The employment of Parliamentary Assistants is the responsibility of each sitting MEP.  

If you are interested in working for an MEP, do some research and identify those MEPs you think you would like to work with, taking into account their political affiliations, interests and background etc., and then contact them directly.

It is also worth looking beyond Ireland when applying for these roles.  Irish graduates have worked successfully as Assistants to MEPs from different Member States.  This can allow you to make the most of your language skills or an expertise background in a certain field which matches the profile of a specific MEP.

See the European Parliament's website for information about Parliamentary Assistants working for Members of the European Parliament.

Also, the European Parliament Information Office in Ireland is available here.

Political Groups

Another pathway for those wanting to work in the European Parliament is through the Political Groups. Each European Political Group employs research and administrative staff as well as offering their own traineeships.  Vacancies for these positions are generally advertised on the group's websites.

See the individual websites of the Political Groups for specific information about their own recruitment procedures.


Last Updated: July, 2014

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Contactsheader image


Organisation: EU Careers - European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO)
  Address: Candidate Contact Service, Office C-80 00/40, B1049 Brussels
  Tel: +32 (0) 2 299 3131
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: European Movement Ireland
  Address: 8 Lower Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin 2,
  Tel: (0)1 662 5815
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: European Parliament Information Office in Ireland
  Address: 43, Molesworth Street, Dublin, 2
  Tel: 01 - 605 7900
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: European Parliament Information Office in Ireland
  Address: 43, Molesworth Street, Dublin, 2
  Tel: 01 - 605 7900
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: EU Jobs Ireland
  Address: Department of the Taoiseach, Government Buildings, Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2
  Tel: 00 353 1 619 4335
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


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Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...

...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Civil & Public Service, Local Government, Politics & EU

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