Sinn Féin MEP for the North of Ireland Martina Anderson has said that an All-Ireland Charter of Rights, implications for Ireland of a British referendum on EU membership and increasing access to funding for NGOs, the voluntary sector and SMEs will be important elements of her work on EU committees.
This week, Anderson secured positions on three EU committees dealing with Civil Liberties, Constitutional Affairs and Regional Development.
Speaking from Strasbourg this evening Martina Anderson MEP said:
"Work can be carried out in these committees that will ensure a better future for all the people of Ireland. That is my aim.
"As a member of the Civil Liberties committee, I will be highlighting the fact that the All-Ireland Charter of Rights and a Bill of rights, as agreed under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, have yet to be honoured. It is clear that we must see movement on these aspects of the agreement given that, in recent times, we have seen serious violations of the rights people both north and south.
"The vast majority of the people on the island voted for the Agreement. It is unacceptable that it is still be cherry-picked fifteen years on. The European must play a role in addressing the outstanding aspects of the Good Friday Friday Agreement.
Turning to her position on the constitutional affairs committee, Anderson said:
"The prospect of a British Referendum on EU membership will have implications for the whole of Ireland. It would be ridiculous that our already partitioned island would be further divided with the north being removed from the EU in the event of Britain voting to leave. This will impact heavily on All-Ireland trade and it will create great difficulties in terms of the north being able to access the single market. I would have great concerns about the potential for a huge economic and social disparity emerging in the aftermath.
"A border poll will be needed more than ever should Britain decide to leave the European Union. I will be pushing that need through this committee."
Anderson concluded by saying her objective as a member of the Regional Development Committee was to help organisations to access funding from the European Union.
"I will be working to increase the level of information available and proposing more effective ways for NGOs, SMEs and voluntary sector organisations to drawdown vital funding and grants. The processes involved need to be far less bureaucratic and the first step will be to improve how we communicate that these sources of finance exist."