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Ferris – Government spin won’t hide the negative implications of losing a permanent Irish Commissioner

15 May, 2008

Sinn Féin TD for Kerry North Martin Ferris has accused Mícheál Martin of being totally naïve in relation to the loss of a permanent Irish Commissioner.

Deputy Ferris said, "Micheál Martin is being totally naïve in relation to implications of the loss of a permanent Irish Commissioner. It is embarrassing to listen to senior government ministers trying to pretend that this loss of direct influence on the European Commission will be a good thing for Ireland. No matter how Micheál Martin tries to spin it the loss of a permanent Commission will put Ireland at a serious disadvantage within Europe.

"For a small country like Ireland it is vital to have a permanent voice at the European Commission table especially when you consider that this state only has 12 MEPs and our voting strength on the Council of Ministers will be halved if Lisbon is passed.

"While the larger states will not have a permanent seat on the Commission, Britain, Germany and Italy almost double their voting strength on the Council of Ministers and have far more MEPs than Ireland. The Commission is the one place where each country regardless of size has an equal say.

"And no matter how good a relationship the Irish government builds with EU Commissioners from other states it is no substitute for an Irish voice at the table. And anyone who tries to suggest otherwise is talking nonsense. It would be like telling the people of Kerry that they will have no representation for five years but not to worry they can build good relations with Cork and Clare instead.

"Of course successive Taoisigh from Garret Fitzgerald to Albert Reynolds have publicly spoken of the importance of the role of the Irish commissioner over the years and it was recognised by the Irish negotiators during the talks leading up to the EU Constitution. The government argued each state should keep a Commissioner but once again they bowed to pressure from bigger states and are now trying to pretend that the loss of a Commissioner is actually a good thing for Ireland.

"To keep a permanent Irish Commissioner people should vote no to Lisbon and send the government back to secure a better deal for Ireland." ENDS

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