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Conor Murphy MP calls for expansion of North-South Ministerial Council to deal with EU scrutiny matters

26 April, 2006


Sinn Féin MP for Newry and Armagh Conor Murphy has today called for the expansion of the "North-South Ministerial Council to allow it to scrutinize European Union legislation". Mr Murphy also said that the EU needs to "begin to listen urgently to the concerns of the people of Europe or run the risk of becoming permanently detached from them".

Mr Murphy made his comments after he travelled to Brussels to attend the plenary sitting of the European Committee of the Regions at the European Parliament.

Speaking from Brussels Mr Murphy said:

"It is clear that the European Union and its institutions are at a serious crossroads. At present the EU suffers from a fundamental democratic deficit. Defeats for the draft EU Constitution in referenda in both France and Holland are indicators of how out of touch the EU elites are with the citizens of member states.

"It has been estimated that 70% of legislation emanating from the Dail originates in Brussels. Much of this legislation has far reaching implications for the people of Ireland. Therefore, it would be sensible that the people of Ireland, and their elected representatives scrutinize legislation which affects them all in a joined up and unified manner. The inefficiency and unnecessary costs incurred in the duplication of implementing EU procedures alone, is justification for all Ireland mechanisms with respect to EU affairs.

"Expansion of the North South Ministerial Council to deal with scrutinizing EU legislation is one practical way in which all Ireland affairs can be dealt with effectively. EU legislation and directives impact equally on all parts of Ireland from County Antrim to County Cork.

"Sinn Féin's engagement at European level, through our MEPs and on bodies such as the European Committee of the Regions is about bringing the EU and its institutions closer to the people. The EU elites need to begin to listen urgently to the concerns of the people of Europe or run the risk of becoming permanently detached from them. ENDS

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