Europe was outraged after the murder of Sunday Independent journalist Veronica Guerin, the president of the EU Parliament Roberta Metsola has told the Dáil and Seanad.
“When journalists, like Veronica Guerin, are killed for speaking up, we share your outrage and your determination for justice,” she said.
Ms Metsola addressed both houses of the Oireachtas yesterday as Ireland celebrates its 50th year as a member of the EU.
She said Europe also mourned when nearly a dozen people were killed in an explosion in Creeslough, Co Donegal.
“When 10 people lost their life in Creeslough, we cried with you,” she said.
In her address, she said the EU “will not leave your side” on Brexit issues.
She said the European Union “has not wavered in its solidarity with Ireland” and the EU can learn from how Ireland continues to deal with the challenges of Brexit.
Ms Metsola said Brexit was “something the European Union regrets but respects as a democratic choice of a majority of the British people”.
She listed what she said were the shared common values between the EU and Ireland, including brokering peace and securing the Northern Ireland protocol.
“The European Union is not some faraway entity deciding for you, it is you. Ireland is you,” she told TDs and senators.
“When Ireland faced uncertainty in the immediate aftermath of Brexit, your position was our position. We went through all of that together and we will stay together.
“The story of Ireland is one of beating the odds, of struggle, sacrifice, defiance and emerging stronger – lessons that Europe will need … to face the year ahead. Because make no mistake, we are living in times of polycrises.”
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar responded to say that EU membership had “amplified” Ireland’s voice in the world, and that funding for local communities and access to the single market had transformed the country.
Ms Metsola also said both Europe and democracy cannot be “taken for granted” and vowed the EU will keep supporting Ukraine “for as long as it takes”.
“The European Union will continue to support Ukraine with financial aid, humanitarian aid and financial assistance, military support and practical solidarity.”
The Maltese MEP is on a two-day visit to Dublin to mark 50 years of Ireland being in the European Union.
Irish MEPS and Sinn Féin deputy leader Michelle O’Neill were present in the chamber for Ms Metsola’s address yesterday.
She also added: “Europe is not without imperfections or frustrations. I share many of them. I think we have to be honest about our failings as much as our successes.”
The visit comes amid reports of a possible deal between the EU and UK over the contentious protocol arrangement, which sets out post-Brexit trading rules in Northern Ireland.
Businesses have been reporting some problems with how the protocol is operating. As a result, the DUP has boycotted the power-sharing institutions until they are resolved or the rules are removed entirely.
A deal on customs data sharing struck in recent weeks has hinted at a possible breakthrough between the two sides, as efforts intensify to restore Stormont ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in April.
She is also due to meet Irish president Michael D Higgins as part of her visit.
In December, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen addressed a joint sitting of the Houses of the Oireachtas in Dublin to mark Ireland’s 50 years in the EU.