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EU Services Directive vote is bad deal for Irish workers - Bairbre de Brún

16 February, 2006


Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has warned that the European Parliament's adoption of the controversial EU Services Directive at first reading 'is a bad deal for Irish workers.' Ms de Brún also said that the Labour Party should explain to the Irish people why they voted for a directive which will lead to the privatisation of public services.

She has also called for mobilisation against the directive to intensify in advance of the final vote in the European Parliament. Ms de Brún made her comments after MEPs voted to accept a revised EU Services directive motion, after the right wing European Peoples Party and the Party of European Socialists agreed a deal. The directive passed 394 in favour, 215 against and 33 abstentions.

Speaking after the vote Ms de Brún said: "Sinn Féin is steadfastly opposed to this directive. We put down a number of amendments to remove sectors from the scope of the directive as well as an amendment to reject the proposal as a whole. We have argued vociferously that the directive will in effect commercialise almost all services within the EU and will deny millions of people the quality public services which they deserve. It also represents a considerable blow against workers' rights and social protections. It is on this basis that I voted against the Services Directive.

"It gives me no pleasure to say that the Sinn Féin analysis has been proven right. Over this past number of years there has been a steady drive to promote a right wing agenda in Europe, the effect of which has been to prioritise profit at the expense of workers' rights and public services. This directive is another consequence of that thirst for private monopolies.

"The Labour Party should explain to Irish people why they voted for a directive which will lead to the privatisation of public services. Their MEP Pronsias De Rossa supported this directive which he claims is a victory for workers. It is nothing of the sort.

" Mr de Rossa needs to explain why he voted for a motion whose key amendments were deceptive - the Country of Origin Principle has been renamed, but remains at the heart of the directive. Nor does the motion exempt a large number of public services. And in addition to points ceded to the right wing in the parliament in recent weeks, the Socialist group in the Parliament also agreed to remove from the list of fields excluded from the scope of the directive "social policy" and "consumer protection". This is unacceptable.

"Sinn Féin will continue to oppose this directive, which must now go to the European Council of Ministers before coming back to the European Parliament for the final vote. The campaign to reject the directive must continue, indeed it must intensify if we are to be true to the thousands who marched in Strasbourg last week to protect services and workers' rights. I call on the Irish government to reject this at the Council of Ministers and I call on all Irish MEPs to vote against this bad deal for workers when it return to the European Parliament for the final vote." ENDS

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