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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 Lynn Boylan has criticised the EU Commission following their failure to answer a priority written question, due to be responded to 4 weeks ago.

The Dublin MEP said,

‘On April 7th I submitted a priority question to the European Commission to clarify that the derogation from water charging is still available to European Countries. In the EU Water Framework Directive, Article 9 provides for derogation from such charging and I wanted to clarify that this derogation cannot be removed unless the legislation itself has been revised. 

"Priority questions are meant to be answered within three weeks yet over 7 weeks later I am still waiting on a response.

"What concerns me is that I have been informed that the answer to a very straightforward yes/no question has been blocked at Cabinet level for political reasons.  The Commission is clearly aware that a clear cut answer to my question could damage Fine Gael’s attempts to continue its cheerleading efforts for water charges and Irish Water.

"Not only has the Commission missed the deadline to answer our question but the interference at such a high level to block the answer shows an undemocratic willingness to interfere in national issues. 

"Following the tabeling of a private members bill from our Sinn Féin colleagues calling on the Irish Government to immediately abolish domestic water charges and establish a public water and sanitation board to deliver water on the basis of need, I demand that the European Commission stops hiding away and starts providing answers to those with a democratic mandate to hold them to account." ENDS

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Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has reiterated his calls for the suspension of negotiation on the EU-Mercosur free trade agreement following recent events in Brazil where President Dilma Rousseff has been illegally ousted from her position.

Carthy said: "Sinn Féin has for some time now called for the suspension of the Mercosur talks as it is clear that the proposed content of the agreement, if implemented, will have a devastating impact on the Irish agricultural sector. Much like TTIP and CETA, the Mercosur trade deal is yet more evidence that our agricultural sector is under serious threat from the EU's trade strategy.

"But on top of this, we now need to take into account the drastically changed situation in Brazil - the largest economy in the Mercosur bloc - where, instead of dealing with a democratically elected government we are dealing with the aftermath of what amounts to a coup.

"There are serious concerns among the international community that the impeachment process used to depose Dilma Rousseff last month was against Brazilian law and against the Constitution. Several countries have withdrawn their ambassadors in protest at her ousting.

"While the right-wing in Brazil based their attacks on Rousseff on allegations of corruption, a transcript published three days ago by Brazil's largest newspaper, Folha de São Paulo, show that key figures in the impeachment process plotted to oust Rousseff specifically in order to shut down her investigation into corruption.

"The man who took Rousseff's place and instated himself as 'interim president', Michel Temer, immediately replaced the cabinet appointed by the elected president with one which is all-male and all-white - in a country where more than 50% of the population are African-Brazilian. Ministries for women's rights and indigenous people were shut down, while attacks on the minimum age, workers' rights, pensions and social rights loom. Temer, himself being investigated for corruption, was named in the WikiLeaks embassy cables as one of the key informants to the US in Brazil."

Carthy continued: "Together with other MEPs I have today written to the EU's High Representative on Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, to state that it is our view that the democratic will of the Brazilian people who elected Ms Rousseff in 2014 must be respected, and under no circumstances should negotiations continue with this illegitimate 'acting' government. We also call for the EU's full support for the restoration of democratic order in Brazil.

"Sinn Féin believe that all of our trade policies must take into account the impact of trade agreements on working people and farmers in Ireland and Europe, as well as the democratic and human rights of people affected by these trade deals anywhere in the world." ENDS

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Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin Lynn Boylan said she is delighted that the European Parliament has adopted her call for the introduction of paid leave for people experiencing domestic violence during this week's plenary session in Brussels.

Ms Boylan proposed the introduction of paid domestic violence leave in Europe through an opinion she recently authored in the European Parliament's Employment and Social Affairs Committee, and key aspects of this opinion were incorporated by the Women's Rights and Gender Equality Committee report that was voted on yesterday by MEPs.

Ms Boylan said: “I am very pleased to see the proposal from Sinn Féin that calls on the European Commission and Member States to look seriously at implementing this new form of leave for people experiencing domestic violence was adopted with overwhelming support by MEPs.

“Paid leave for survivors of domestic violence is a valuable new idea that has been introduced in Australia and the US, and this week's vote is the first time the European Parliament has called for its introduction in Europe.

“My proposal stresses the need for determined efforts to combat domestic violence, and calls on the Commission and Member States to look at introducing a system of paid special leave for victims and survivors of domestic violence. This would ensure their employment – and their economic independence – is protected when dealing with the impact of domestic violence, for example, by allowing people to have the time to manage medical appointments, court appearances and other duties that must be addressed in such situations.

“This issue affects millions of people, mostly women, across the EU. We know that one in five women experience domestic abuse. A British government study in 2009 found that 20 per cent of employed women had to take a month or more off work in the previous year due to domestic violence, and that 2 per cent of working women actually lost their jobs as a result of it.

“In 2013 and 2014, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, British Trade Union Congress and other unions carried out an extensive survey of their members about this issue which confirmed these figures; and they have called on governments and employers to do more.

“It’s important that we recognise the pressure that domestic violence places on women who are trying to maintain their employment and their economic independence. This economic independence in fact plays a crucial role in their ability to extricate themselves from situations of domestic violence. Women who have exhausted paid leave are at risk of losing their jobs, losing their security and becoming more at risk of poverty.

“I’m very pleased that Sinn Féin as successfully placed this proposal firmly on the agenda of the European Parliament, and call on Irish policy-makers to take this on board immediately and act to introduce this leave in Ireland.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has called on the Irish Government to oppose the European Commission's proposal for a Permanent Investment Court, saying it breaches the Irish Constitution and requires a referendum.

Speaking in Dublin today prior to hosting a round table briefing on TTIP with trade unions, farmers’ organisations, and other interest groups, Matt Carthy said:

“There is a rising tide of opposition - right across the EU - to TTIP, particularly in light of the recent leaking of documents which highlight the very grave dangers inherent in this deal.

“Regrettably, the Irish Government has failed to stand up for Ireland’s interests and are shamefully behaving as mere PR agents for the EU Commission on this issue.

“TTIP will have severe and far-reaching consequences for Ireland in the areas of food standards, public health, workers’ rights, small business and farming.

“Despite this, public and political understanding here of what is at stake remains incredibly low.

“Negotiations around TTIP are shrouded in in secrecy and a lack of democratic accountability and that’s how the Irish Government likes it.

“The truth is that the TTIP proposal for an ‘Investor Court’ leaves the Irish State open to previously unimagined liabilities.

“It would severely limit the ability of our Government to legislate when it comes to public services.

“This has enormous implications for the Irish Constitution.

“The legal opinion I have received confirms that if the EU Commission continues with this proposal, it would require a referendum in Ireland.

“The Government needs urgently to change its position on this issue.

“The Taoiseach and his Ministers must oppose the proposal for a Permanent Investment Court.

“The Government also needs to accept that if the EU proceeds with this idea, it must be put to the Irish people in a referendum.” 

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Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has expressed concern at the rising cost of living across the island of Ireland in recent years and the impact it is having on families with children of school going age.

Speaking this week, Ms Ní Riada said,

"Ireland's cost of living has increased at an astounding rate in recent years and a survey from the European Commission in December 2015 found that the cost of living in Ireland is the sixth-highest in Europe.

"Although everyone is affected, families with children of school going age are feeling the pinch, particularly now as school tours and exam fees are prevalent.

"As a mother of 3 school aged girls, I am well aware of the challenges facing families all year round, but now there is an added financial pressure. School tours are a brilliant treat for the children, and usually a mix of education and fun however the stark reality is that there is a large number of families faced with the decision of paying the average €20 per child for the school tour, or putting food on the table.

"The cost of the Leaving Certificate (including Leaving Certificate Applied) is €116, whereas the Junior Certificate is €109, with the average cost of grinds being €30 per hour. For a family with one child sitting the Junior Certificate and one sitting the Leaving that is a foundation cost of €225, before grinds are even taken into consideration, not to mention the cost of daily lunches and school buses etc.

"Recently I raised the issue of the rising cost of motor insurance with the European Commission, which again is a contributing factor to the pressures felt by families and all sections of society, alike.

"This is something the Irish Government; in particular the new Minister for Education and Skills, must tackle as a matter of priority." ENDS