Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Bairbre de Brún’s address to Sinn Féin’s Six County EU Selection Convention

9 October, 2008


Is cúis bhróid dom bheith roghnaithe arís mar iarrthóir don toghcháin do Pharlaimint na hEorpa. Is comhartha í seo don dea-obair chrua a rinne foireann Shinn Féin i bParlaimint na hEorpa le blianta beaga anuas.

It is a great honour to be re-selected to represent the party in the European elections in June of next year.

I believe it is a testament to the hard work of the Sinn Féin team in Europe.

Sinn Féin is contesting this election to win, to return a Sinn Féin MEP for the Six Counties and to be a part of Sinn Féin's all-Ireland team in the European Parliament.

And it is with hard work that we will ensure that yet again we elect a Sinn Féin representative from the Six Counties to what will hopefully be an even bigger team for Europe in 2009.

In the coming weeks and months I will be campaigning right across the North. I will be building on the work of the past four years.

Our engagement with Europe and its institutions has deepened since the election of our first ever MEPs - Mary Lou McDonald and myself. One of the proudest moments of my political life was when Mar Lou and I walked through the doors of the European Parliament together to represent Ireland, North and South.

Increasingly we are shaping and impacting on key decisions that effect people right across this Island.

Since being elected to Europe I have worked hard to bring hundreds of people across, to engage directly with the Parliament - from bringing relatives of those murdered by the British State to Brussels so that their voice can be heard by political leaders from across Europe; to engaging with farmers and fishermen, the Trade Union sector, women's organisations, disability rights advocates, families of those with autism and those bereaved through suicide.

It is vital that we have a Republican voice in Europe; vital that we can be a voice for Irish people in Europe because if we are not there then here at home our communities will lose out.

I have worked tirelessly on issues such as climate change, the Irish language and economic development for all areas right across the constituency.

In my report on the PEACE funding I showed how European money has made a huge contribution to improving the lives of people right across Ireland, in some of our most deprived and marginalised communities and in communities blighted by the scourge of an illogical and unworkable border.

I also paid tribute to those tireless workers for peace in the projects that have received PEACE funding and argued that this work should not come to an end when the EU funding ends. The Executive and Assembly need to recognise this valuable work and ensure that it continues - particularly the work with victims and survivors of the conflict.

We have led the way on international solidarity with other communities in the midst of conflict - with support for Palestine and support for tentative moves towards peace and reconciliation in Cyprus and in the Basque Country.

Bhí mé lánpháirteach san fheachtais ar son STÁDAS cuí a fháil don Ghaeilge mar teanga oifigiúl agus oibre sen Aontás Eorpach.

As everyone who knows me will acknowledge, I am a proud Gael and I have fought the battle at an EU level to ensure that Irish takes its rightful place among the working languages of the EU.

Indeed my recent report on evaluating the EU PEACE programme was the first ever European Parliament report produced in the Irish language.

The Sinn Féin team in Europe has been able to work over recent years on key issues for our farming communities, including the lifting of the beef ban, moving the EU Commission in the right direction in relation to our exports following outbreaks of animal disease in Britain. Both issues which threatened the future and livelihoods of thousands of farmers in the North - and co-incidentally both issues which highlighted the damage of being tied into British farming and DEFRA policy at a European level.

These are other issues where I have worked closely with colleagues here on the ground - issues such as the proposed super dump in East Derry and the campaign for economic development in the North West which included the launch of the North West charter and bringing the European Parliaments Regional Development Committee to the North West.

Cuid tábhachtach den obair atá idir lámha agam faoi láthair na ar athrú aeráide agus an tionchar a mbíonn aici ar an cine daonna agus todhchaí an domhain.

Crucially for me I have been focused on the issue of climate change and the impact of human activity on the future of our planet.

I have been to China and to the US with the European Parliaments committee on climate change to look in detail at what is happening and I am clear in my mind that as a nation we need to do much more to face the challenges of global warming head on.

It is no good doing a Sammy Wilson and burying our heads in the sand. The worlds climate is changing, changing more rapidly now than at any other time in our recent history and the effects are devastating. We have seen changing weather patterns that are affecting our infrastructure, impacting on our farmers and rural communities and leaving a trail of destruction across Ireland, Europe and the world. The poorest countries are suffering most and we have a duty to help them meet these challenges.

Europe has a crucial role to play in standing tall and bringing about lasting change in how we see our environment.

Tá sé doiligh labhairt faoi athrú aeráide gan tracht a dhénamh ar Sammy Wilson.

It is impossible to speak about climate change without giving Sammy Wilson a mention - although given his 'do nothing' agenda, in the writing of history his will only be a very, very minor footnote.

Politicians across the globe are working to reach a climate change deal by 2009 while at the end of 2008 Sammy Wilson still wonders if anything at all needs to be done. If we delay today - then it will be future generations that will carry the cost.

Our engagement with the EU is about the future. It is about ensuring action to meet the pressing demands of our environment, our rural, farming and fishing communities' workers rights and social protection. It is about getting balanced regional economic development that transcends and makes irrelevant the border.

Our engagement must be about social justice and rights for workers, older people, people with disabilities and it is about promoting the rights of indigenous people, their culture and their language.

This campaign is about asserting peoples rights both at home here in Ireland and the heart of Europe; because lets be honest if we don't do it, who will?

Baineann an feachtais seo le cearta na daoine. Mura dhéanann muidine é, cé a dhéanfaidh é?

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