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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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Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy responded today to news that the EU Commission is investigating "illegal state aid" given to Apple over the last 20 years.

"The publication today of a letter from the EU Commission to the Irish Government proves how serious the situation is regarding Ireland's treatment of Multinational Corporations.

"There has been an international move towards greater tax transparency and Ireland should play a full enthusiastic role in that process.

 "It has been two years since Pearse Doherty wrote to the Oireachtas Finance Committee seeking to call in Apple and other multinationals to discuss their tax affairs yet the Government voted this down in the sub-committee that was established

 "Sinn Féin believes that the tax levied on MNCs should be no more and no less fair than the tax levied on indigenous companies, who generally pay the headline rate of corporation tax and cannot use international tax planning to reduce, proportionately, their tax bills.

 "We will defend Ireland's right to set its own Corporation Tax Rate but that is not what this investigation is about. The Government must take their head out of the sand and start ensuring that every company in Ireland is paying the full legal tax rate to the state.

 "Any money recouped from these companies must be invested back in to the Irish economy.

  ENDS

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Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan was one of the MEPs asking questions at today's hearing in Brussels of the Health & Food Safety Commissioner-designate, Vytenis Andriukiatus.

Speaking in Brussels this morning the Dublin MEP expressed her exasperation at the half-hearted, non-committed response she obtained from Mr. Andriukiatus:

"My question to the Commissioner-designate highlighted the conflicts of interest in the European Food and Safety Authority. I pointed out the 'revolving doors' atmosphere prevalent, where people who were at one stage working in the food and safety agency deciding which GMOs were to be authorised, then ended up working for the very biotech companies they were previously regulating. This is just one of many examples of the ‘revolving door’ prevalent in European agencies.

"I highlighted to the Commissioner-designate that there is no obligatory 'cooling off' period between appointments to the food and safety agency and jobs in the industry. I asked Mr. Andriukiatus to explain how he would improve the independency structures within the food and safety agency and how he would then enforce those structures.

"The Commissioner-designate's response was wishy-washy to say the least. He was very vague and spoke in general terms about mistrust in scientific opinion. It was a very disappointing response especially when there is an array of recommendations available on this issue from a number of bodies and yet he could give no commitment to any concrete actions, as I had requested.

"I will write to the Commission this week and ask again as to what will be done to improve the conflicts of interest problems at agencies. There are ample recommendations available regarding the issue of conflict of interest. The European Parliament itself has recommended a 2-year cooling off period.

“If Mr. Andriukatis is successful in becoming Commissioner for Health and Food Safety I will hold him to account for these conflicts of interest. I look forward to enlightening the commissioner designate as to the array of recommendations he has at his disposal and look forward to seeing him implement them." 

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Sinn Féin MEPS are engaging in a series of hearings this week for potential European Commissioners.

MEP Liadh Ní Riada today questioned Karmenu Vella, the Commissioner designate for the Environment and Fisheries on his prospective role.

 Ní Riada inquired of Vella what steps he would take to sort out shortfalls in scientific data collection.

 “The issue of the fisheries budget has always been a contentious one, and now times are particularly tough with shortages in the areas needed for scientific data collection, which affects the ability to set accurate quotas. This has a knock-on effect and seriously impacts on the already tough livelihoods of fishermen. If elected how will you ensure this matter is resolved, and that it will not be a continuing situation year in, year out.”

 Speaking after the hearing Ní Riada said she found Vella to be vague and evasive.

 “He lacked substance; it was a lot of empty words. I’m not too hopeful that the reforms he speaks of are going to happen.

“Scientific data collection controls how the quotas are divided up. Although he gave a vague answer about the importance of scientific data collection and why we need to have more regional cooperation, he really didn’t answer the question I asked. We need guarantees that the EU will pay for any scientific data collection carried out in Irish waters.  Why should fishermen have to pay for scientific data when it is the EU who is implementing the quotas?

 “I also raised concerns about the crossover between Environment and Fisheries which is such an important industry to Ireland. I believe you have to have an absolute portfolio dedicated to fisheries and fisheries alone if you are being serious about implementing reform in a real way that’s going to benefit fishermen.

 “We need a commissioner who is willing to hear what we have to say and implement real reforms that are going to improve the lives of our coastal fishermen. The fishermen in Ireland are on their knees. They have had to endure over-regulation, the drift net ban and stringent rules on quotas and discards. We have seen the complete criminalization and overregulation of the fishing industry in Ireland. And that has to be addressed as a serious issue.”

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Commissioner-designate Phil Hogan has come under further attack today as Irish MEPs turn up the heat on the former TD.

As hearings into the appointments of Commissioners began in Brussels today, Sinn Féin's  Lynn Boylan is the latest MEP to question Hogan's credentials.

Speaking prior to the hearings today, Lynn Boylan said:

"Phil Hogan seems to have difficulty in grasping how the appointments of European Commissioners work, a fact which is quite worrying as he attempts to block questions through legal letters to my fellow Dublin MEP Nessa Childers.

"The hearings are intended to give MEPs an opportunity to question Commissioners-designate. It is intended to be somewhat different to the ongoing cronyism that we see at home, which might be difficult for Phil Hogan to understand. The hearings are even streamed live so that there is an air of openness about them. This is not intended to be back-room politics.

"Other Commissioners-designate have been subject to ongoing public questioning and, as in Phil Hogan's case, letters of criticism have been circulated to all MEPs. Yet only one Commissioner-designate has decided that he will attempt to shut down legitimate questioning through legal letters to an MEP and that person is Phil Hogan. 

"I have spoken to many other MEPs and they are very annoyed at Hogan's attitude. It has not only reflected badly on him but on Ireland as well. His use of bully-boy tactics contrasts dramatically with other Commissioners-designate and is quite embarrassing for other Irish MEPs. Even before Thursday's committee hearing takes place Phil Hogan's disdain for criticism has shown that he is not suitable for the job in hand".  

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Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has said that Phil Hogan’s stated position that he didn’t know about the level of consultancy costs attached to establishment of Irish Water is laced with contradiction. Carthy said that the latest revelations provided further evidence as to why Mr Hogan is not suitable for the position of EU Agriculture Commissioner.

Mr Carthy was speaking after it was revealed, on RTÉ Radio One’s This Week Programme, that Phil Hogan not only had knowledge of the costs but that he also signed documentation detailing these consultancy costs as far back as December, 2012.

Speaking today, Matt Carthy said:

“Back in January of this year, Mr Hogan adamantly denied knowledge of the €50 million in consultancy fees attached to the establishment of Irish Water.

“Now we are told that this paper trail shows that he not only had knowledge of the consultancy contracts but he also signed-off on documentation detailing these contracts.

“It is clear now that Mr Hogan’s established position on this issue is laced with contradiction.

“I would like to know why Phil Hogan sought to mislead people when he was originally questioned on this matter.

“This is yet another controversy that is likely to be raised when Mr Hogan comes before the Agriculture & Rural Development Committee in Brussels on Thursday as MEP's assess his suitability as a commissioner.

“While I am keen to see Ireland hold the agriculture commission, it is my position that Mr Hogan is completely unsuitable to hold the position. These new revelations put increased emphasis on questions of transparency and competence during his time as Minister for Environment and Local Government.”