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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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Ireland to lose significant Power at EU Level as QMV element of Lisbon Treaty comes into effect Tomorrow – Carthy

Speaking in advance of the coming into effect of Lisbon Treaty provisions tomorrow 1st November, which will reduce Ireland’s voting weight at EU level, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midland’s North West Constituency Matt Carthy said:

“From tomorrow 1st November 2014, Ireland’s voting weight in EU law making will be reduced by 150% from 2% to 0.8%.

“Under qualified majority rules, agreement of 55% or 15 members of the 28 strong European Council representing 65% of the European Union population is sufficient for a legislative proposal by the commission to pass.

“In order to block a proposal, at least four council members, constituting over 35% of the population of the European Union must constitute a blocking minority otherwise a qualified majority will deem to be attained.

“Larger countries, with larger populations, have been given larger weights under the Qualified majority procedure – for example France, German, Britain and Ireland have 45% between them. This means that the Lisbon treaty has disproportionately increased the power of the largest states in decision making power while diminishing the power of the smaller states.

“Significantly, the Lisbon treaty also extended Qualified Voting Majority to areas previously covered by unanimity including areas of international trade. Effectively, this means that Ireland has lost its veto in such matters and, as concern around the implications of the Transatlantic Trade and Partnership (TTIP) negotiations continues to grow among sections of civil society, our power to influence the outcome is severely diminished.

“This is what transpires when bad Governments negotiate bad treaties on behalf of the Irish people. People will remember clearly the promise of jobs and investment made by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Labour party during the second Lisbon treaty campaign but instead all they got was a weaker voice within the European institutions.

“For our part Sinn Féin MEPs will be actively working to ensure that Ireland’s voice is not lost particularly during the ongoing TTIP talks and other critical decisions that will be made in coming years”.

“From tomorrow 1st November 2014, Ireland’s voting weight in EU law making will be reduced by 150% from 2% to 0.8%.

“Under qualified majority rules, agreement of 55% or 15 members of the 28 strong European Council representing 65% of the European Union population is sufficient for a legislative proposal by the commission to pass.

“In order to block a proposal, at least four council members, constituting over 35% of the population of the European Union must constitute a blocking minority otherwise a qualified majority will deem to be attained.

“Larger countries, with larger populations, have been given larger weights under the Qualified majority procedure – for example France, German, Britain and Ireland have 45% between them. This means that the Lisbon treaty has disproportionately increased the power of the largest states in decision making power while diminishing the power of the smaller states.

“Significantly, the Lisbon treaty also extended Qualified Voting Majority to areas previously covered by unanimity including areas of international trade. Effectively, this means that Ireland has lost its veto in such matters and, as concern around the implications of the Transatlantic Trade and Partnership (TTIP) negotiations continues to grow among sections of civil society, our power to influence the outcome is severely diminished.

“This is what transpires when bad Governments negotiate bad treaties on behalf of the Irish people. People will remember clearly the promise of jobs and investment made by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Labour party during the second Lisbon treaty campaign but instead all they got was a weaker voice within the European institutions.

“For our part Sinn Féin MEPs will be actively working to ensure that Ireland’s voice is not lost particularly during the ongoing TTIP talks and other critical decisions that will be made in coming years”.

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Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has announced plans to bring a major European anti-fracking conference to Fermanagh. 

Speaking after visiting Fermanagh alongside Michelle Gildernew MP, Ms Anderson said; 

"I visited Fermanagh today and met with representatives of anti-fracking groups from the county and from Leitrim alongside party colleagues Michelle Gildernew MP and Michael Colreavy TD. 

"We held a very useful and positive meeting on the concerns of the local community about plans for fracking in the area. 

"As part of Sinn Féin's commitment to oppose fracking, I announced that I will be bringing a major European conference on the issue to Fermanagh in the new year. 

"The conference will bring together a panel of experts and will consider the environmental, health and economic impact that fracking would have on Fermanagh. 

"This event is about Sinn Féin's commitment to ensure that fracking will not take place on the island of Ireland."

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Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has spoken of her disgust at the growing number of children who are living in poverty as a result of the financial crisis.

The Dublin MEP made the comments in the wake of 2 reports recently published from UNICEF and Oxfam.

Ms Boylan stated:

"Two reports published this week have shown that children are suffering the most in our society as the wealthiest were protected from the consequences of the financial crisis."

"The UNICEF report shows that there has been a 50% increase in child poverty rates in Ireland as a result of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gaels austerity policies during the financial crisis. The result is that 130,000 more children are living in poverty than were five years ago.

"This is a damning indictment of the consequences of austerity policies which have been enthusiastically pursued by the current and previous Irish Governments"

"Children growing up in poverty will be denied the same opportunities for success in school and in life as their peers, while cuts to child and family benefits means those who are in most need are being hit the hardest.

Meanwhile a report published by the charity Oxfam yesterday shows that the number of billionaires globally has doubled during the financial crisis.

"The conclusion we can draw from these two reports is that many governments, including our own, have prioritized protecting the wealthiest people during the crisis at the expense of the most impoverished.

"This practice is not only cruel and unfair but can actually have disastrous consequences both socially and economically.

"I hope that our government and others in Europe will pay heed to the findings of these reports and finally take action to confront poverty and growing inequality in our society".

ENDS

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UNICEF Report on Child Poverty shows children are paying price for Government Policy – Carthy

Speaking today in relation to the UNICEF 12th Annual Report Card entitled Children of the Recession, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West Constituency Matt Carthy said:

“The UNICEF report measures whether levels of child poverty have increased or decreased since 2008 and shows that in Ireland, Child Poverty has increased by 10% and currently ranks 37th out of 41 OECD countries, ahead of Croatia, Latvia, Greece and Iceland.

“This comes after figures released by Eurostat showed that the child poverty rate in Ireland rose from 18% to 28.6% between 2008 and 2012, meaning that there are an additional 130,000 children living in poverty in Ireland as a result of the austerity policies implemented by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments.

“In my view, these figures prove that children, particularly those of lower income families, have been paying a disproportionate price for the austerity agenda that has been relentlessly pursued by successive governments.

“Sinn Féin has continually argued that greater supports must be provided to those on low incomes and our alternative Budget proposals outlined specific measures that the Government could introduce which would go some way to addressing this issue.

“These measures included a proposal to take 296,000 of the lowest earners out of the USC net, raise the One Parent Family Payment Income Disregard, increase Family Income Supplement by 10%, increase funding for the School Meal Programme, the School Books Grant and increase the Annual Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance of €50.

“All of these measures could have been introduced while still meeting the Budget Deficit targets and, along with the abolition of the water charges and family home tax would have put money into the pockets of hard pressed parents.

“Instead this Government chose to introduce yet another Budget which unfairly targets those on lower incomes. According to the ESRI Budget 2015 is a regressive Budget in which the bottom 20% of households took a hit of 1.1% while the top 20% saw an increase of 0.5% thanks to tax cuts.

“It is an absolute scandal that 28.6% of our children are living in poverty and Government representatives should treat today’s figures as a wake-up call as they clearly demonstrate the real impact that political choices have had on the lives of our children.”ENDS

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Minister for Agriculture has allowed meat processors to ‘run amok’ - Carthy

Speaking after he supported the local Beef farmer’s protest at the ABP Meat Processing plant in Clones, Monaghan yesterday, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midland’s North West Constituency Matt Carthy said:

“The level of frustration and anger of local beef farmers at yesterday’s protest was palpable and the fact that this is the first protest of this type in 15 years is testament to the growing sense of desperation felt by many farmers as they continue to see no improvement on the issue of beef pricing.

“Beef farmers are at their wits end as they continue to produce a high quality product to specific standards yet the Irish beef prices are now below the EU average while the price paid for beef in Britain has increased by €100 per head in recent weeks and are now at €350 per head above Irish beef prices.

“Many farmers spoke to me of the manipulation of the factories and processing plants who control the price paid to farmers for their beef – in many cases there has been a lack of monitoring and control on processors who have used price and specification cuts for weight and age not included in the original Quality Payment System as a tool to devalue livestock.

“Meanwhile a 2013 report by Teagasc has confirmed that the income of cattle farmers has reduced between 12% and 22% with the average family income in this category now at very low levels between €9,469 and €15,595 depending on the production system. This is despite the fact that production costs have seen an average increase of 7% with an increase in feed costs of between 44% and 95%.

“In my view, the Minister for Agriculture has not responded adequately to this growing crisis to date and has allowed the factories and processors to run amok causing untold damage to the beef sector and farmer’s incomes.

“There must be regulation imposed on the processors before more farmers are forced out of beef and this valuable industry is lost altogether.

“I am calling on the Minister for Agriculture to intervene immediately to ensure that the interests of beef farmers are adequately protected.”