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2 November 2014 Edition

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Another Europe is possible – Treo eile don Eoraip

This is funded by the European United Left/ Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL)

• Martin McGuinness with Martina Anderson and Liadh Ní Riada brief the ECR group, including Jim Nicholson and ECR chairperson Syed Kamall

Liadh Ní Riada, Matt Carthy, Martina Anderson and Lynn Boylan are MEPs and members of theGUE/NGL Group in the European Parliament

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LIADH NÍ RIADA

Important boost for jobless funding

NEW MEP Liadh Ní Riada has hit the ground running in Brussels and Strasbourg. As a member of the EU Budget Committee, Liadh proposed and secured a large majority for the very first piece of legislation to come before this new parliament. 

The Ní Riada Report simplified and extended the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). Under her proposals the fund will become more accessible, allowing regional and local authorities access the fund directly as well as opening it for the first time to the formerly self-employed. 

Crucially, the threshold to access the fund will be reduced from 500 to 200 unemployed workers across one sector or area, meaning the fund can be utilised more widely to tackle large-scale instances of unemployment. 

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• Martin McGuinness addresses a GUE/NGL conference on the Peace Process in Brussels

Fisheries Committee

Representing a constituency bounded by a huge coastline that sustains many communities as an MEP for Ireland South, Liadh’s position on the Fisheries Committee provides her with a forum to raise the many issues concerning our fishing industry. 

Liadh has already proposed a number of amendments that would ease the administrative burden on Irish fishermen by securing a gradual introduction of the landing obligations that will come in under upcoming Omnibus Regulations. 

Fishing for queen scallops is a significant part of the Irish seafood market employing hundreds of people. While EU regulations allow for scallop fishing with dredgers, net-catching scallops is less harmful to ocean life and a more sustainable solution. Liadh has highlighted the contradiction in restricting fishermen to the use of 120mm regulated nets, which make scallop fishing impossible, and called for a change in policy. 

LEADER power grab

Liadh has been very vocal on the power-grab for EU LEADER funding by the Department of the Environment and will be bringing a delegation of stakeholders –– including management, community representatives and employees –– to Brussels to raise their concerns with the Parliament and the Commission. 

LEADER was designed to assist with rural development to create sustainable, ground-up local economies so that people in agricultural communities are not forced to give up livelihoods made unviable through a lack of rural investment. 

Liadh has campaigned strongly for LEADER to remain politically autonomous in the face of the Government decision to place them under the auspice of local authorities and county development plans, which will have a detrimental impact on this grassroots organisation. 

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MATT CARTHY

Appointed to key EU-US delegation as TTIP talks progress

MATT CARTHY, MEP for the Midlands North West Constituency has been appointed to the European Parliament’s delegation to the US on the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). 

The delegation engages with the US administration and Congress, political actors, the media, academia, business and civil society to raise awareness of the EU issues and concerns and promote the importance of the EU-US relationship among the American public.

It covers a broad spectrum of issues of mutual concern to the US and EU including agriculture, democracy and human rights, development and humanitarian aid, education, energy and environment, jobs and growth, trade and investment and transportation.

Speaking after the first meeting of the delegation on 16 October, Matt Carthy outlined his satisfaction at being appointed to the delegation and his vision for the role in the coming months:

“Being a member of the US delegation offers me a unique forum to ensure that the interests of Ireland are represented at every opportunity both in the EU and further afield.

“As the negotiations on the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership progress, many individuals and groups have been in touch to express their concern over the potential negative impact the TTIP may have on various sectors in the Irish economy, particularly in terms of environment, agriculture and employment.”

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• MEPs Matt Carthy and Martina Anderson with the anti-fracking campaign outside the EU Parliament

Interests and emigrants

Matt Carthy said he believes it is particularly important that Irish MEPs are “vigilant in acting to ensure that Ireland’s interests are protected to the maximum extent possible and I believe my role on this delegation may afford me a greater opportunity to do that”.

“I also intend to use my membership of this delegation to build and strengthen relationships with our Diaspora living in America and highlighting issues of concern to them.”

At the first meeting of the committee he raised issues concerning the undocumented Irish in the United States with the new EU Ambassador to the US, David O’Sullivan, who promised to support the Irish Government efforts to regularise their status.

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MARTINA ANDERSON

Irish MEP made Chair of European Parliament’s delegation to Palestine

MARTINA ANDERSON MEP has been appointed as the Chair of the European Parliament’s delegation to Palestine

The Irish MEP said she will use the position to give a voice to the Palestinian people and to put pressure on the international community to act to support efforts to bring peace to the region. 

“It is an honour to have been elected as chairperson of the EU’s delegation to Palestine and I will use the position to work every day to improve the lives of the Palestinian people. 

“From our experience in the Irish Peace Process, we know the importance of dialogue and inclusivity and I will bring that experience to this position,” she said. 

The MEP also lobbied for EU assistance for workers at Ballymena-based tobacco factory, JTI Gallaher, which is set to close with the loss of almost 900 jobs. 

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• Martina Anderson has been selected as chair of the Palestine Delegation

Claims rejected

She rejected claims by unionist MEPs that the closure was linked to the EU Tobacco Products Directive. 

“The reason for JTI Gallaher’s closing their plant in Ballymena is to increase its profit margins and save money on labour costs by moving to a country with lower wages.

“It is irresponsible for elected representatives to provide cover for JTI or seek to score inaccurate political points on the back of job losses.

“We should be standing together as elected representatives to provide those who have lost their jobs with a focused retraining and reskilling package,” she said. 

Martina Anderson also welcomed Martin McGuinness’s visit to the European Parliament to brief MEPs on the current state of the political process in the North of Ireland. 

“The EU can play an important role in reminding people in the North of Ireland of the importance of the Peace Process,” she said. “The successful advancement of our peace process can be of benefit not just for the people of Ireland but also for the EU as an example for the resolution of other conflicts throughout the world.”

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• Martina Anderson meets the families of those killed by British state violence over Britain’s failure to honour human rights commitments

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LYNN BOYLAN 

Right2Water report is primary focus

THE Right2Water report being authored by Lynn Boylan is the Dublin MEP’s primary focus. The report is a European Citizens’ Initiative pursuing EU legislation to implement the human right to water and sanitation. 

As the author of the report, Lynn is the MEP selected to oversee and to present that report in the European Parliament’s plenary session.

A member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, and in her capacity as group spokesperson on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), Lynn has been active in seeking to amend the current GMO draft legislation. 

Lynn believes that current proposals put forward by the Commission and the European Council contain too many loopholes and is looking for amendments to improve the text in the Council’s report and to protect member states’ right to ban GM cultivation and to support consumer rights in the face of biotech companies’programmes.

During the recent Commissioner Designates hearings, Lynn questioned an EU Commissioner Designate on food safety issues. In particular, she has asked how it was intended to manage potential conflicts of interest at the European Food Safety Authority and how it was intended to maintain the food regulatory body’s independence.

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• MEP Lynn Boylan meets Páblo Sanchez Centellas from the EU Right2Water campaign

Youth and unemployment

Lynn also recently attended a hearing on Youth and Employment that took place in the European Parliament. Lynn heard from a number of young trade union shop stewards from different member states on how economic policies dominated by austerity had impacted on their employment prospects. 

Lynn’s attendance at this hearing builds on her parliamentary work on the issue, especially with regard to the Youth Guarantee. She has participated in a number of debates on the issue and has asked the President to consider developing a properly considered and funded Youth Guarantee to address youth unemployment. She also stated that she would like to see a full review of the Guarantee in countries, including Ireland.

In between her activities on GMOs, youth unemployment and working to protect EU citizens’ right to water, Lynn also questioned a second Commissioner Designate before the new European Commission was approved, providing him with some facts and figures on the impact of austerity policies on Ireland.

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• Lynn Boylan MEP with members of the ECCP delegation

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An Phoblacht
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