Open Letter to the Irish Times by Lynn Boylan MEP
For the second time during this election campaign The Irish Times has published a Stephen Collins polemic deliberately misrepresenting Sinn Féin’s position on the European Union.
The fact is that Stephen Collins has an agenda and its little wonder why. One of the EU’s principal problems is that elites in Brussels, as well as their cheerleaders in sections of the media - including in Ireland - fail to countenance any critique of the ‘European project’ and label anyone with a different vision for Europe a ‘Eurosceptic’.
The reality is that Sinn Féin believes that Ireland’s place is in Europe but that the direction of the EU has been, and is, misguided. That new position has been laid clear for the likes of Stephen Collins to absorb over many years. He deliberately chooses to ignore the facts and throws in the likes of Nigel Farage to compare with Sinn Féin. This comparison is, of course, an absolute fallacy but Stephen doesn’t let facts get in the way of a good yarn.
Let me spell it out for him in the clearest terms possible. Instead of a Europe of deeper concentration of power in a centre that is unaccountable and fails to respect national sovereignty, Sinn Féin wants to see a social Europe that place citizens at the centre and acts in their interests.
It is not a case of more Europe - as those in hock to the EU as it stands would have us believe - it is a case of better Europe. What Stephen Collins omits from his assessment is that this is a view shared by the Irish people. Irish support for membership of the EU is strong, but that support does not translate to unconditional approval for the EU’s direction of travel and in numerous referenda (à la Nice I and Lisbon I) the Irish electorate have proved that they are not afraid to voice their concerns.
It is very clear that Stephen Collins cares less about Sinn Féin’s different vision for the EU and representing that in an accurate way than he does about promoting the ideological hegemony of the European elites - and their allies in Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil - that says the EU is flawless.
That may be Stephen’s prerogative, but he should at least be honest about it, because when honesty and the facts is disregarded you get gutter journalism. I'll let you join the dots.
Lynn Boylan MEP.