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EU Election Manifesto 2014

Putting Ireland First - Éire Chun Cinn

Sinn Féin's bilingual election manifesto for the 2014 EU election was launched on Monday 12 May. Download Sinn Féin's EU Manifesto 2014 here.


EU Election News

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Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has today attacked the government for moving ahead with plans to open up ten per cent of public bus routes to the market.

Speaking in Dublin today Ms Boylan said:

“Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann provide vital transport links for citizens around the city and country. Privatisation will inevitably lead to some of the non-profitable routes being discontinued and some areas being deprived of essential transport services.

“The fact that the government is forging ahead with these plans despite vehement opposition from unions representing transport workers, demonstrates its indifference to those who depend on the Dublin Bus service to get to the shops, to school, college and work.

The privatisation of public bus services will ultimately lead to higher bus fares and poorer working conditions. The Irish Government in its arrogance has refused to learn lessons from mistakes made abroad on this issue.

For example when the Tory government privatised services in the UK. At the time it claimed that privatisation would lead to greater investment, improved services and fare reductions.

The biggest losers were those who worked in the bus industry. Bus driver’s hourly wage ranked 7% above the average blue collar worker but within ten years of privatisation had fallen 14% below.

Passengers also lost out, as fares have risen consistently above inflation.

Many other right- wing governments have attempted privatisation policies in this industry and have failed. The cherry-picking of the most profitable routes by private operators and the financial burden of subsidising the less lucrative routes inevitably leads to a reversal of privatisation policies.

The government should re-think its stance on this issue now before it will have to make another embarrassing policy U-turn.”

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Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has slammed the European Commission's plans to remove the stalled maternity leave directive from its work plan for 2015.

Ms Boylan was in Dublin attending the EU Affairs Committee on the European Commission Work Programme for 2015.

Addressing the committee the Dublin MEP said:

“A significant element of President Juncker’s work plan involves a nod to corporate interests to the detriment of citizens, especially women. 

For example, the draft maternity legislation looks set to face the chop. The legislation was adopted by the European parliament in 2010 with the aim of strengthening women’s rights by ensuring that 20 weeks of fully paid maternity leave becomes standard practice across the European Union.

The directive has now been stuck in the Council for several years and the European Commission has indicated it will withdraw it if no agreement on it can be found between the European Parliament and the Council by summer.

So it’s business as usual at the European Commission. If you oppose and attempt to delay on what you’re against, it will be stalled indefinitely and then tossed into legislative oblivion. This so called sunset clause invoked by the Commission is more like lights out for the maternity leave directive!”

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Speaking from County Carlow today Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada expressed her delight and gratitude at being nominated and shortlisted for the 2015 MEP awards in the Regional Policy Category. The awards bring together Members of the European Parliament and EU stakeholders to celebrate the work and highlight the outstanding achievements of both new and returning MEPs.

 Ní Riada said;

“I am absolutely delighted to have been nominated and shortlisted for this ward. I wasn’t aware of the nomination until recently, and I am humbled by the support and trust that it shows.

 “The nomination is an acknowledgement of the work that Sinn Féin as a party is undertaking across the country, and a recognition of the team that we have standing up for Ireland in Brussels. Martina Anderson, Lynn Boylan, Matt Carthy and understand the historic mandate that we received from the people of Ireland last year and we will continue to work as a team to put Ireland first.

 “I understand that the nominations came from stakeholders in the rural and local development sector here in Ireland on account of my work in campaigning against Phil Hogan’s disastrous attempt to take control of vital LEADER funds away from locally-based community groups and put it in the hands of the Department of the Environment and local authority managers.

 “In November I hosted a delegation of over forty key stakeholders from this sector, where they raises a number of very serious concerns about the so-called reform process with the European Commission. 

 “Following this delegation we have seen some movement from the Department of Environment but there is still a long way to go in ensuring these vital funds for local development are used in a transparent, accountable and community-controlled way.  I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the hard work, perseverance and strength of all within the local and rural development sector who are fighting hard to protect this crucial part of Ireland’s social and community infrastructure.

 “I will continue to pressure Minister Alan Kelly to find a solution, as the Government’s failure to resolve this issue is delaying the entire Rural Development Programme. “

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Commenting on the latest CSO Annual Survey on Income and Living Conditions Report, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West Constituency Matt Carthy has said that the figures demonstrate the impact of successive Government’s neglect of rural Ireland.

Carthy said:

“The CSO figures show that, in 2013, the majority of those classed as being at risk of poverty (50.1%) or living in consistent poverty (51.3%) came from rural areas. This is despite the fact that the population of rural Ireland has declined with figures showing that rural dwellers made up 39.5% of the overall population – a decrease from the 2012 figure of 40.6%.

“The report also indicates that the rates of rural dwellers at risk of poverty (19.3%), deprivation (31%) and consistent poverty (10.7%) have increased significantly between 2012 and 2013, while the corresponding figures for urban areas showed a decline.

“The disposable income of those living in rural areas has also decreased from the average of €18,971 in 2012 to €18,653 in 2013 while the disposable income of those living in urban areas increased from €22,078 to €22,357 in the same period.

“Let there be no mistake about it – rural Ireland has been badly let down by successive Governments and these figures highlights the impact of failed Government policy on rural areas.

“The lack of an appropriate level of broadband, the lack of investment in infrastructure, the lack of a coordinated effort to create jobs and protect public services in rural areas has led to a decline in our rural population and the decimation of rural communities.

“While I welcome the small reduction of poverty and deprivation rates in urban areas in recent times, efforts must be made to avoid a two tier economic recovery, which places those living in rural areas at a disadvantage.

“The fact that the study shows that 1.4 million people across the country experience deprivation – an increase of 128% since 2008 – suggests that there is a lot to be done before this Government can claim a recovery for all.”

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Speaking today at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on European Affairs, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West Constituency Matt Carthy has called on members of the committee to increase their vigilance as the Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks continue.

Carthy said:

“The Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations are an area that I have made a priority since becoming elected as an MEP.

“Unlike many countries across Europe, Ireland is quite unique in that it has not included an ISDS (Investor State Dispute Settlement) mechanism in any of its bilateral trade agreements.

“However, even in countries that have previously included an ISDS mechanism, there is considerable opposition and concern regarding the ISDS proposal contained in TTIP.

“In light of the fact that there is such concerns and the fact that Ireland has relatively little experience of ISDS it is of concern that the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, along with 13 of his European counterparts, signed a letter supporting the ISDS mechanism without recourse to the Oireachtas.

“It is ironic that we bemoan the fact that the European Institutions are not answerable to Irish Parliaments yet it appears that in some cases even the Minister can limit the level of his accountability.

“In my view, there are two key aspects to Trade negotiations in general – tariffs and standards. There are relatively little tariffs in place between the EU and the US and therefore it would appear, despite reassurances from the Commission, that standards will be the focus of negotiations.

“In light of this, it is important that we work to ensure that critical sectors to Ireland, such as Agriculture and employment are not negatively impacted and that the best possible deal is secured.

“I welcome the fact that the Chairperson of this Committee has committed to further discussions on this issue as the talks progress, with the inclusion of the Irish MEPs and I look forward to engaging with the Committee to ensure that the interests of Ireland are protected.”