Sinn Féin's all-Ireland team of four MEPS have this morning taken their seats in the new European Parliament and stressed that the people of Ireland have given them a mandate to fight for change.
Speaking from Strasbourg, Lynn Boylan MEP said:
"There is no doubt that the ordinary people of Ireland are suffering immensely due to the policies of austerity being pushed by the institutions of the European Union. Those people voted in their droves for Sinn Féin at the European Elections in May because they saw that our candidates would stand up to the establishment in Brussels and Strasbourg. They recognised that we would a demand a fairer and more socially progressive way of doing business.
"The policies of at the heart of the European Union have been adopted by compliant governments across the EU in the form of sweeping cuts to social infrastructure and unjust stealth taxes.
"This has had disastrous consequences for the areas of health, education and social protection. The policies endorsed by the European Union have fostered an unequal society. They have strengthened the two-tier union by forcing member states to the periphery and in doing so they have disenfranchised the economic and social interests of their citizens.
“The EU should not be about protecting the privilege of banks, the wealthy and big corporations. It should be about ensuring that citizens have a decent quality of life, education and healthcare at home, not forced to scatter to the four corners of the world in search of a better future.
"The Sinn Féin all-Ireland MEP team has arrived. We have a mandate to fight for a better deal for all the people of the island and we will be setting about this work from day one. We will not be part of the austerity consensus in Brussels.
"We see our job as delivering change for the communities that we represent. That is the ethos of Sinn Féin and it doesn't change whether we are in local councils, the Dáil or the European Parliament."