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MEP gravy train symptomatic of problem with EU project

27 May, 2004

Sinn Féin EU candidate for the South constituency David Cullinane, has today reacted to a survey which claimed that only 4 of the current 15 MEPs in this state have been categorised as supporting moves to reform the EU pay and expenses system. The survey was undertaken by the Campaign for Parliament Reform. Mr Cullinane said that this latest survey is Œsymptomatic of the problem with the EU project‚.

Speaking today Mr Cullinane said:

„This latest survey reinforces the public perception of MEPs who pick up seemingly endless expenses and generous pay packets. This survey, comes on the back of recent research by a German University which said that on average, MEPs in this state had one of the worst attendance records at plenary sessions of the EU Parliament.

„Irish MEPs are picking up huge salaries and expenses cheques to Œrepresent‚ the people of this state, and yet the attendance figures for the EU Parliament are embarrassing. Those MEPs who have consistently voted against reform of MEP salaries and expenses should be ashamed of themselves. MEPs are taking home obscene amounts of money, far in excess of many of the constituents they claim to represent.

„For too long, many MEPs have exploited the generous perks on offer to them. However, this is a much larger problem and is symptomatic of the inadequacies of the whole EU project. The EU in its current form is a two-tier and two-speed institution, obsessed with the promotion of the larger wealthy states, and the interests of big business. Reform within the EU should not be restricted exclusively to the issues of salaries and expenses.

„If elected to the EU Parliament, Sinn Féin MEPs pledge to work tirelessly on behalf of all of the people of Ireland, and to take only an average industrial wage, as we do in all of the public bodies which we are elected to. The surplus is then reinvested back into the party, with a considerable portion put back into constituency services, so we can better represent local people. We would urge other parties to follow our example‰ ENDS

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