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Anderson welcomes recognition of Palestine

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has welcomed Britain’s recognition of the state of Palestine.

Speaking after the vote in Westminster, the newly elected chair of the European Parliament’s delegation to Palestine said;

“This latest recognition of the state of Palestine is to be welcomed.

“The international community has an important role to play, both in terms of supporting the Palestinian people, and in helping to find a long-term peaceful solution to the problems in the region.

“The number of countries recognising the right of the Palestinian people to statehood adds to the growing demands on Israel to recognise the democratically elected unity government in Palestine.

“As chair of the European Parliament’s delegation to Palestine I will continue to support the people of Palestine.

“I would call on other governments, particularly the Irish government to follow this example and recognise Palestine.”

Anderson elected as chair of European Parliament’s delegation to Palestine

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called on the Irish government to follow the example of Sweden in giving full recognition to the state of Palestine.

Martina Anderson said the international community has a responsibility to help the people of Palestine. Speaking after being elected as chairperson of the European Parliament’s delegation to Palestine, Ms Anderson said;

“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 everyday to improve the lives of the Palestinian people.

“From our experience in the peace process, we know the importance of dialogue and inclusivity and I will bring that experience to this position.

“I welcome the fact that the Palestinian unity government held its first meeting in Gaza last week. That sends a clear message to the world and I am encouraging the international community to recognise that.

“In particular, I am calling on the Irish government to follow the example of Sweden in giving full recognition to the state of Palestine.

“The international community, and the European Union in particular, has a responsibility to act to end the suffering of the Palestinian people and help find a sustainable solution to the problems in region.

“I am calling for the European Union to implement the recommendations of the Russell Tribunal, which held a hearing on Palestine in Brussels recently.

“The Israel-EU Association Agreement should be suspended immediately because of the human rights abuses carried out by Israel. The EU-Israeli scientific agreement must also be suspended.

“I look forward to working with the chair of the EU’s delegation to Israel. Clearly we have differing views but we need to find a way to work together as MEPs to find common ground.”

JTI Gallagher’s closure due to profit margins – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said it is irresponsible to link the closure of Gallagher’s tobacco factory to an EU directive geared to prevent children from smoking.

Ms Anderson said;

“Obviously this is devastating news for the workers involved and their families and my thoughts are with them.

“However, We need to be very clear about the reasons for the relocation of JTI at the cost of 900 jobs.

“The EU tobacco directive does not take effect until 2016. JTI have also stated they are locating to other EU member states. These too will be equally affected by the 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 in order to provide those who have lost their jobs with a focused retraining and reskilling package.

“Our focus should be asking very clearly as to why the British Government has never applied to the European Union’s Globalisation fund for workers in the north of Ireland, which is designed to help those who have been made redundant.”

Magee research facility is world class – Anderson

Martina's magee pics

Martina magee pic 2

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson said the Intelligent Systems Research Centre at Magee is a world class facility.

Speaking after visiting the Intelligent Research Facility at Magee alongside party colleague, councillor Eric McGinley, Ms Anderson said;

“This is a hugely impressive facility and is breaking new ground in the fields of robotics and brain mapping.

“Its robotics facility is among the best of its kind in Europe and the team of researchers there are creating new devices which will greatly assist medical science in the near future.

“The state of the art research work of this facility would be greatly enhanced by the establishment of a medical department at Magee and that is something Sinn Féin has repeatedly called for.

“If new courses such as medicine were on offer alongside this cutting-edge research facility, it would be easier to attract more students and aid the expansion of the university.”

All-Ireland approach needed to tackle legal highs – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson will be attending a conference on so-called ‘legal highs’ in Derry on Friday.

Speaking ahead of the conference, which will be held in the Tower Hotel as part of Legal High Awareness Week, Ms Anderson said;

“The dangers of legal highs are well known and unfortunately there are families who have lost loved ones as a result of these substances.

“Many others, particularly young people, have also been severely damaged by taking legal highs.

“And the problem is these substances continue to be sold legally over the counter.

“I am glad to see that this awareness week includes events in Derry and Donegal because the devastating impact of legal highs is the same everywhere.

“That is why we need an all-Ireland approach to dealing with legal highs.

“Currently, once a substance is banned in the North it can go back on the market if a single ingredient is changed. In the South a new license must be obtained before a product can be sold.

“Effective legislation is needed right across the island to protect people from these potentially deadly substances.

“I have been raising the dangers of legal highs in the European Parliament and will continue to have these products banned.”

EU must act on Palestine – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson addressed the Russell Tribunal on Palestine in the European Parliament in Brussels today.

Speaking to the tribunal, which is made up of international jurists including South Africa’s Ronnie Kasrils and Pink Floyd frontman and human rights campaigner Roger Waters, Ms Anderson said;

“The moving insight that has come before this tribunal on the 51-day onslaught on Gaza has reinforced my determination to do all I can as chair of the European Parliament’s Palestinian delegation to help the people of Palestine.

“The imagery from Gaza, showing the full scale of the destruction, reaffirms the reason why the delegation of MEPs which I recently led to Palestine was refused entry to Gaza. This Tribunal allows us to present the facts of what is happening in Palestine.

“The facts I witnessed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are clear. It is a fact that what we are witnessing is apartheid at its worst.

“It is a fact that Israel has occupied 170,000 acres of Palestinian land since the Oslo accord in 1993. It is a fact that Israel has breached international law by moving its population into the occupied territories.

“It is fact that 34 Palestinian parliamentarians are among 7,000 Palestinians who are interned under what Israel calls administrative detention.

“All of these facts are ignored by the majority of MEPs who should act immediately to suspend the European Parliament’s Association agreement with Israel in light of these gross human rights abuses.

“I will not ignore these facts and will continue to campaign for justice for the people of Palestine.”

Anderson attends Russell Tribunal on Palestine

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson is attending the Russell Tribunal at the European Parliament in Brussels on the recent Israeli bombardment of Gaza.

The international tribunal, which has gathered evidence of Israeli war crimes in Palestine, is currently meeting at the European Parliament.

Speaking after attending the tribunal, Ms Anderson said;

“The Russell Tribunal is looking at the recent Israeli onslaught on Gaza which killed more than 2,000 Palestinians and sparked a humanitarian crisis.

“The Tribunal brings together an international panel of experts and well known human rights campaigners including Ronnie Kasrils, Michael Mansfield, Ken Loach, Roger Waters and Miguel Angel Estrella as jurors.

“The Tribunal has already heard testimonies from a number of witnesses, including respected international experts.

“A range of topics have been discussed, including the devastating impact of munitions, many of which were supplied by the United States, on homes in Gaza.

“The shocking level of racism, hate speech and incitement to attacks on Palestinians and those challenging the status quo within Israel, has also been raised by witnesses.

“One of the most powerful testimonies came from a former Israeli soldier who had been collecting first-hand accounts from soldiers involved in the recent conflict. He spoke movingly about revenge attacks carried out by the Israeli Defence Forces against civilians in Gaza.”

Anderson calls for EU action on Ebola

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has criticised the European Union’s reaction to the Ebola outbreak in west African and called for the deployment of immediate medical aid.

Speaking after voting for for immediate action on Ebola in Strasbourg, Ms Anderson said;

“The Ebola virus is now affecting the whole west African region yet the response from the international community has been dangerously inadequate.

“We are in the grip of a public health crisis of international concern.

“Sinn Féin is concerned about the slow and derisory reaction from Europe to this Ebola outbreak.

“The European council of ministers need to meet and mobilise an immediate medial response to provide humanitarian aid by deploying medical staff.

“The EU could learn from Cuba which has already deployed 165 specialised medical staff. Europe needs to at least match that response before it is too late.”