Sinn Féin today officially submitted the party’s submission to the EU Boundary Committee.
Speaking following the lodgement of the submission European candidate Matt Carthy criticised the failure of successive Irish governments to stop the erosion of Irish representation in the EU parliament. The number of MEPs in the 26 counties has been reduced from 15 in the in 1975 to just 11 to be elected next year.
“Sinn Féin is proposing a three seat constituency in Dublin, a four seat constituency comprising of the North West and North Leinster and a second four seat constituency of Ireland South comprising of the current South EU constituency along with the counties of Wicklow, Laois, Kilkenny, Carlow and Wexford.
“This proposal is made within the constraints contained in the terms of reference set out for the Boundary Committee. We are however, extremely concerned at the continued erosion of Ireland’s representation in the European Parliament and of the failure of successive governments to halt this erosion.
“In 1975 we had 15 MEPs representing the 26 Counties. At next year’s election we will elect just 11 despite a significant rise in population. That is a reduction of more than 25% and it is about time that an Irish government stood up and challenged this erosion of our democratic entitlement.
“When this latest seat was taken away the current Fine Gael/Labour Government didn’t even bat an eyelid.
“However, even more important than the numbers of MEP's elected or the makeup of the constituencies is the need for those MEP's elected to stand up for Irish interests rather than meekly accept every diktat to emerge from the European Commission. Providing a critical voice and promoting the interests of the Irish people first and foremost will the central platform of Sinn Féin's EU election campaign.
“One of the issues that struck me when looking at this submission is the fact that we could end up in a situation in which we have one EU constituency made up of one county and another made up of fifteen counties.
“This is a sad reflection of the failure of regional development strategies and the over-concentration of population in Dublin over many decades and it highlights a significant problem that will have to be faced up to by this and future governments as the continuation of this trend will have detrimental consequences for the regions and for the future of rural Ireland in particular.”