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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 has welcomed the vote in the European Parliament on Thursday to proceed with the fifth Anti Money Laundering Directive.

Carthy, a member of the special committee on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance (TAX3), said:

"This revision of the Anti-Money Laundering Directive imposes additional reporting and customer due diligence obligations on credit and financial institutions, and on government authorities, including making beneficial ownership registers public.

"Shell companies are at the heart of the rotten offshore system that allows financial crime and tax dodging to thrive in anonymity. So the fact that registers of beneficial ownership – that is, the true flesh-and-blood owners of companies – will have to be made publically available is a very significant step forward in the fight to stamp out shell companies, and the money-laundering, tax evasion and tax avoidance that these structures facilitate.  At certain points during the negotiations between the Parliament, the Commission and Council, it appeared as though this would not be won due to resistance from some Member States, so the fact that it is included in the final agreement is a big win for those who support transparency. 

"This move, when it is implemented, will reduce the extent to which the financial system can be used to disguise illicit financial flows. But at the same time there are troubling problems remaining in the final text, which significantly weakened the Parliament's position adopted last year.

“The top problem is that while beneficial ownership registers of companies must be made public, the beneficial ownership registries for trusts and other similar instruments only have to be provided in limited circumstances where a third party has proven a 'legitimate interest' in gaining access to the information. This is a significant loophole, and our work in examining the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers revelations shows just how commonly trusts are used as a mechanism to conceal suspicious financial flows.

"We  also need to close the loopholes of having 'nominee directors' of companies – where a senior manager can be named in the registry when the true owner is unknown – and dividing up company ownership, which are used to hide the true owners. Owning a single share of a company should constitute beneficial ownership, instead of reaching the 25% ownership threshold in the current agreement, which will be easy to evade.

"There is much more to do on this issue, but today's step forward towards fully public beneficial ownership registers for companies in the EU is a big victory for all those battling corruption, tax fraud, financial secrecy and white-collar crime.

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Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said the Irish government needs to protect EU rights for people in the north post-Brexit. 

Martina Anderson said: 

"To date, much of the focus on Brexit has been on the issue of the border and the impact on trade with very little attention given to the huge impact Brexit will have on our rights. 

"Brexit will remove and undermine many of the rights we currently take for granted and it will also erode the rights secured under he Good Friday Agreement. 

"It will attack our right to access healthcare, the right to study abroad, the basic fundamental democratic right to able to directly elect a representative and many others. 

"The Irish government has a responsibility to protect, not just the Good Friday Agreement rights, but also the rights of Irish citizens living in the north in line with its pledge that Irish citizens here will never again be left behind by an Irish government. 

"We now need to see the Irish government committing to ensuring there will be no reduction of rights for people in the north as a result of Brexit in the ongoing negotiations. 

"The Irish government needs to ensure that in the Brexit withdrawal agreement all EU rights and opportunities associated with residency in an EU member state are protected and guaranteed for Irish citizens in the north." 

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Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy, has called on the Secretary General of the European Commission, Martin Selmayr, to immediately step down from his post pending a full review of the appointment procedures. 

Speaking following a European Parliament vote on the matter in Strasbourg on Wednesday, Carthy said:

“The European Commission has serious questions to answer when it comes to the integrity of its appointment procedures.  The recent appointment Martin Selmayr to the top EU civil service post without an open process stinks of political favouritism.

“Throughout his career at the Commission, Martin Selmayr has been fast-tracked through a number of positions and pay-grades.  He has also dipped in and out of political positions, at one stage acting as campaign manager for Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. 

“His elevation to the current position, and the procedures used to get him there, were completely unethical and it is astounding that Mr Juncker refuses to acknowledge this. 

“It has been revealed that Mr Juncker and Mr Selmayr knew the date of the position of Secretary General being vacated two years in advance.  This was information that nobody else had.  Mr Selmayr was appointed to this position during the same meeting as his predecessor announced his retirement.  None of the Commissioners who had to vote on this appointment were informed in advance of this position being vacated and filled in the same day, and nobody else was given a chance to put their name forward for the pose. 

“Mr Juncker has played this process very close to the line. Frankly it is shameful that not a single Commissioner, including Irish Commissioner Phil Hogan, has chosen to publicly disassociate themselves with this farce. 

“Appointments to senior positions should be subject to regular and transparency appointment procedures with no exceptions.  

“It’s only a couple of months since it emerged that former Commission President José Manuel Barroso is engaging in lobbying activities on behalf of Goldman Sachs against a commitment not to do so.  This latest charade shows that Mr Juncker has little ambition to clean up the tarnished image left behind by that mess. 

“As an unelected body, the European Commission should be attempting to hold itself to the highest possible standards of transparency.  If Mr Juncker is not prepared to do that then perhaps he too needs to reconsider his position”.

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Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said it is now long past time for the British government to get real in the Brexit negotiations and bring forward credible solutions to avoid a hard border in Ireland. 

Martina Anderson said: 

"Today's comments by President of the European Council Donald Tusk that there will be no Brexit deal and no transition period unless the British government come up with a solution to the border problem need to be heard loud and clear by Theresa May.

"So far the British government have been attempting to bury their heads in the sand and ignore the border issue and the huge difficulties that placing an EU frontier on the island of Ireland would create. 

"But we have been making our voices heard in Europe and the EU is well aware of the concerns around the border and it is long past time the British government got real to those concerns. 

"It is now up to the British government to bring forward credible and workable proposals to avoid a hard border, something they have singularly failed to do to date.

"There is an option on the table with the backstop which would avoid a hard border.  It would allow the north to remain in the customs union and significant elements of the single market and the EU and the Irish government in particular must now ensure that is maintained and upheld and that the British government are not allowed to renege on the commitments it has entered into."

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Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has announced that her proposal for an official EU fisheries mission to Cork was successfully approved by the European Parliament's Fisheries Committee this afternoon.

The Ireland South MEP, who sits on the EU Fisheries Committee, has been campaigning for an official visit by the Committee to Cork for some time now.

"I am delighted that this mission has finally been granted approval and will go ahead in September," she said.

"It is hugely important that we get across to the European Parliament just how poorly served Irish fishermen have been by the Irish Government and by the EU and the best way to do that is to get them to meet face to face.

"Therefor a key part of this visit will be a European delegation to meet with local fishermen, local authorities, researchers, coastal communities, cooperatives, SMEs and other stakeholders.

“With reform of the Common Fisheries Policy now inevitable this is the best opportunity to propose and implement positive changes and the key people who must be consulted on those reforms are the people who live and work in fishing families and coastal communities. 

“What needs to happen now is for the Eurocrats in Brussels to engage with ordinary Irish fishermen on the ground. Historically there has been a serious lack of engagement by Irish and European authorities and I want this mission to be a turning point in that relationship.

“This delegation will not just benefit Cork but all of Ireland and will involve meetings with a variety of stakeholders, specifically fishermen across Munster, with Castletownbere being one of a number of key locations.

“We are now just awaiting final approval from the Bureau of the European Parliament for this mission. Considering Fine Gael have a seat in the Bureau I would urge them to put party politics aside and support this visit.  It is far too important an opportunity to be squandered over having a dig at the opposition.

"There are numerous issues that need to be raised with the EU Fisheries Committee, there are special considerations that need to be made for Ireland post-Brexit, there is a long, long legacy of government and EU mistreatment of Irish fishermen and I want this delegation to be the starting point for the reform of those relationships, of the CFP and of the way our coastal communities are treated."