It was with immense pride, joy and sadness that I learned today of the appointment of current EESC member Jillian van Turnhout (Irish/Various Interests Group) as a member of the Irish Senate. I began working closely with Jillian on communication issues just as soon as I arrived at the Committee in the autumn of 2003. She went on to become Vice-President of the Committee and President of its Communication Group, but she was always deeply rooted in domestic affairs (as every good EESC member should be) and in particular in forwarding the interests of the Irish Children’s Rights Alliance, of which she is Chief Executive. Her personal statement can be read here. We are all happy for Jillian and immensely proud of her. I have no doubt that she will be a brilliant Senator, just as she has been a brilliant EESC member, and that she will remain a good and passionate European. But, hell, we’ll miss her. She has been a good friend to me personally and I wish her all the very, very best.