All politicians get a tough time in the media and from the general public and while weíve every right to criticise itís often because we donít know exactly what theyíre doing.
Itís even harder for MEPs who are often out of the public eye, but being a politician in Europe is probably a lot harder than you think.
Itís not unusual for Irish MEPs to work 12 or 14 hour days, and when they finish their working week it can take them the best part of a day to get back to their families.
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- A typical MEPís day will start at 8am in the office and by 9am theyíll be attending meetings of their political group, parliamentary committee meetings or meetings with lobby groups.
- MEPís usually attend several meetings during the day before returning to their office in the evening to catch up on paperwork, the dayís news and check their emails.
- MEPís typically work a four week cycle. Two of the weeks will be spent working with their political groups to lay the groundwork for a week of plenary sessions in Strasburg and a week of meetings with the parliamentary committees that theyíre members of.
- Irish MEPs work from Monday to Thursday in Brussels Ė or Strasburg when thereís Plenary sessions Ė and usually travel back to Ireland for the rest of the week
- Travelling home is often a job in itself. An MEP living in the west of Ireland, for example, may have to catch a flight to Dublin, grab a taxi to the city centre, hop on a train to Galway and arrange to be picked up and driven home
- MEPs are well paid but they put in long hours and do sacrifice a lot of their personal life for their job.