|Lord Mayor of Dublin|
|Assumed office |
29 June 2020
|Preceded by||Tom Brabazon|
|Chairperson of the Green Party|
|Assumed office |
12 December 2019
|Preceded by||Roderic O'Gorman|
|Dublin City Councillor|
|Assumed office |
24 May 2019
|Political party||Green Party|
|Domestic partner||Patrick Costello|
Hazel Chu (born 1980) is an Irish Green Party politician who has served as Lord Mayor of Dublin since June 2020, having been a member of Dublin City Council since May 2019. She is also Chairperson of the Irish Green Party since December 2019. She was the first Irish-born person of Chinese descent elected to political office on the island of Ireland.[a]
Chu's parents, Stella Choi Yau-fan and David Chu Tak-Leung, from villages in the New Territories of Hong Kong, both immigrated, individually, to Ireland in the 1970s. They met while working in the kitchen of a restaurant in Dublin and subsequently married, launching a takeaway fish and chip van and other enterprises. Hazel Chu Chung-fai was born at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin in November 1980. She was raised initially in the suburb of Firhouse in southern County Dublin, where up to 9 members of the extended family shared a 3-bedroom house, and, from age 6, Celbridge, County Kildare. A brother, Joseph, was born when Chu was about 10. Chu attended a local primary school, and for secondary school, Rathdown School in Glenageary, followed by boarding at Mount Sackville School in Chapelizod when her parents had a busy working period, finishing with the Institute of Education. After her parents divorced, her mother established a chain of four restaurants, employing around 100 staff, while her father returned to his home village to run a café there. She visited Hong Kong regularly from age 15.
Chu studied Politics and History at University College, Dublin (UCD) while working two jobs. She was active in college debating and was Auditor (Chairperson) of the Politics Society. She then completed a legal diploma and barrister-at-law degree at the King's Inns, becoming in 2007 the first Irish-born person of Chinese descent to be called to the Irish Bar, although she did not practice as a barrister.
After graduating from the King's Inns, Chu worked as a fundraising manager for St Michael's House and an artist and production manager for Electric Picnic. She spent six months travelling and working in Australia and New Zealand, and part of a year as a volunteer teacher in a remote village in China, near Guilin, in 2009. In 2010 she secured a fellowship as a marketing consultant in New York for Bord Bia. She returned to Ireland in 2012 and worked for Forfás and in the Office of the Chief Scientific Advisor, before working for the NDRC, and then Diageo Ireland, where she headed communications for five-and-a-half years.
Chu managed the campaign for her partner Patrick Costello's successful election at the 2014 Dublin City Council election, in which he topped the poll in the Rathgar–Rathmines LEA as a Green Party candidate. Chu became a member of the Green Party in 2016 and was subsequently elected to serve on the party's National Executive for three years running. In 2017, with Catherine Martin, Grace O'Sullivan and others she founded Mná Glasa, the party's woman group, and became its Co-Chair. She was elected National Coordinator of the Green Party and became its Spokesperson for Enterprise in 2018.
Dublin City councillor
Chu stood as a Green Party candidate in the Pembroke LEA in the 2019 Dublin City Council election. She was the first candidate in the country to be declared elected. She topped the poll, receiving a historic 33.1% of the first preference vote. Later that same year she was elected as Chairperson of the Green Party, beating Pauline O’Reilly of Galway West.
Lord Mayor of Dublin
On 29 June 2020, Chu was elected the 352nd Lord Mayor of Dublin, succeeding interim mayor Tom Brabazon. Chu is the first person of colour to hold the role, and the first ethnic Chinese mayor of a major European capital.
On 22 March 2021, Chu announced her candidacy as an independent for a Seanad Éireann by-election. Ten days prior, the Green Party executive council, as well as the majority of their TDs and Senators, had agreed to not run candidates for the by-election, but to leave each of the larger two parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, to run one candidate each, in line with an informal agreement between the government parties. As a result, Chu's own party leader indicated that he would not vote for her on this occasion, and further that her role as chairperson of the party might be discussed internally.
Chu received the signatures of six of twelve Green Party TDs as part of this nomination, including deputy leader Catherine Martin, with six Green Party TDs and another four senators opposing her candidacy, including party leader Eamon Ryan, who are instead expected to vote for government candidates.
During a parliamentary meeting on 24 March, a motion of no confidence was tabled against Chu by senators Pippa Hackett, Pauline O'Reilly and Róisín Garvey. During the meeting, Eamon Ryan is reported to have confirmed there is no formal pact to support the candidates of the two other coalition parties, which was contradicted by O'Reilly, saying "If you call a spade a spade, we're in Government, that's a pact".
Chu resides in Dublin. She met her partner, Patrick Costello, before her UCD studies, and they have been together since her time at King's Inns. Costello is now a TD, and they have one daughter. Chu speaks Cantonese fluently, and some Mandarin.
Chu has spoken of racism and harassment while growing up. Subsequent to her election to the council and the media attention around it, Chu became a target of racist online harassment, particularly on Twitter. Some of her harassers targeted her skin colour but others labelled her a migrant and denied that she could be an Irish national. Further, some claimed that she was a product of the so-called "great replacement", a conspiracy theory propagated by the alt-right. The harassment later escalated to phone calls to her home. Justin Barrett, leader of the far-right fringe group the National Party, publicly indicated that if he ever got into power, he would attempt to strip Chu of her citizenship, despite her Irish birth. Chu stated her resolution to not be intimidated by the harassment and to continue with her political career.
- McCarthy, Mary (16 July 2020). "This Working Life: The stress of politics? I'm thinking of taking up boxing gloves next". Irish Independent. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
- Quann, Jack (29 November 2019). "Hazel Chu elected Cathaoirleach of The Green Party". newstalk. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
- O Neill, Bronwyn (31 May 2019). "Woman of the Week: How Hazel Chu made history this election season". evoke.ie. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
- O’Donoghue, Denise (12 August 2019). "'This is happening in our own country': Dublin councillor Hazel Chu hits out at racist abuse and Nazi salutes". BreakingNews.ie. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
- Carney, John (5 August 2020). "Dublin's first ethnic-Chinese mayor on racism, her parents' work ethic, and teaching poor children in China". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
- Fegan, Joyce (12 August 2019). "Presidential bid could be next as Hazel Chu pledges never to let racism stop her". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
- "Hazel Chu". The Ryan Tubridy Show. 12 August 2019. RTÉ Radio 1. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
- McMahon, Áine (13 August 2019). "My education journey: Hazel Chu – Dublin City councillor and Green Party co-ordinator". Irish Times. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
- Tam, Jimmy (28 September 2020). "Dublin Lord Mayor: Hazel Chu and her Chinese heritage". BBC News. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
- "Hazel Chu". ucd.ie. March 2019. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
- "2013 Archive". Hard Working Class Heroes. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
Hazel Chu was recently appointed the Head of Corporate and Trade Communications for Diageo. Prior to joining Diageo, Hazel held the position of interim Head of Communications at NDRC (National Digital Research Centre), managing the overall marketing and communications strategy for the organisation while advising multiple start-ups on how to build their brand.
- "Hazel Chu MSc '11 | UCD Business Alumni". www.ucd.ie. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
- O'Donoghue, Niamh (22 December 2018). "Women in politics: Hazel Chu could be the first ever Irish Born Chinese politician to be elected in the Irish State". image.ie. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
I was politically active throughout college, but when I started my career I had less time to be involved in politics. That was until I met my now-husband, Councillor Patrick Costello, who wanted to run in the local elections at the time. We ran for the 2014 elections and were persistent with on-the-ground campaigning, and I did everything from his social media, to pitching to press and door-to-door canvassing. He topped polls that year and that spurred me on to think, “oh, I’m really good at running campaigns" … Running for election is the next natural course of action.
- Lord Mayor of Dublin [@lordmayordublin] (29 June 2020). "Cllr @hazechu has been elected the 352nd Lord Mayor of Dublin" (Tweet). Retrieved 29 June 2020 – via Twitter.
- RTE (29 July 2020). "Green Party's Hazel Chu is new Lord Mayor of Dublin".
- Moore, Aoife (22 January 2021). "Lord mayor of Dublin harassed at her home by far-right protestors". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
Chu: "If it comes down to one thing – you don't like a woman of colour in this office – then we have a huge problem."
- "Seanad Bye-Elections". www.gov.ie. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
- McQuinn, Cormac. "Eamon Ryan 'tells Greens' no pact on supporting Coalition candidates for Seanad". The Irish Times. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
- Correspondent, Harry McGee Political (22 March 2021). "Green Party leader Eamon Ryan will not vote for Hazel Chu in Seanad byelection". The Irish Times. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
- Hosford, Paul (22 March 2021). "Hazel Chu to run as independent candidate in Seanad by-election". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
- O'Connor, Rachel (30 September 2019). "Irish far-right National Party leader doused with milkshake during event in Galway". Irish Post. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
- "'Whether I'm Irish or not has nothing to do with them' - councillor Hazel Chu hits back at online trolls after 'threatening' messages". Irish Independent. 10 August 2019. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
- Hickey, Margaret (15 August 2019). "Hate is wrong, but it should not be criminal". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
- "Chu 'fears for daughter's safety' amid racist abuse". 22 January 2021 – via www.rte.ie. Cite journal requires
| Lord Mayor of Dublin
29 June 2020