Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson will join other MEPs and contributors tomorrow (Friday 27th) at an EU Round Table discussion on
‘Opportunities & Priorities’ in Europe.
Pointing out that unlike her last period as an MEP she will not be a lone voice opposing austerity and bad legislation for Ireland – North and South – but will be joined by three other strong Sinn Féin MEPs – supporting that which is good for Ireland but challenging the subservience of establishment parties to bad European policies imposed on the people of Ireland.
Martina Anderson will tell the audience:
“The Sinn Féin Manifesto was an all-Ireland one returning four MEPs representing every constituency in the country. Our collective intention will be to get people back to work, protect those in work and support those out of work.
The Sinn Féin MEP said:
“Bad government, bad banks and bad decision making caused the economic crisis which devastated communities all over Ireland. And while we are told that there are signs of recovery, for most people little has changed.
“25% of workers in the North are still not making a living wage and many are on zero hour contracts –the Sinn Féin Manifesto seeks to end Zero Hour Contracts and to legislate for the right to Collective Bargaining.
“Our manifesto also called for the British Government to lift its borrowing ban on the Executive which prevents it from applying to the European Investment Bank (EIB) for much-needed funding to stimulate the economy and create jobs.
“The four Sinn Féin MEPs will be working collectively to deliver on our manifesto promises – and to that end I have already arranged a meeting with the vice President of the EIB in Luxemburg with the purpose of exploring assistance for investment possibilities.
“The focus of Team Sinn Féin in the European Parliament will be on opportunities to invest to grow – grow the economy, grow SMEs and create sustainable jobs within a society which treats people equally and with dignity.” CRÍOCH/END
The following is the Full text of Martina Anderson MEP’s contribution to the Round Table – EMBARGOED TIL 9am FRIDAY 27th JUNE.
The Sinn Féin manifesto pledges Sinn Féin’s Team of 4 MEPs from every corner of Ireland – to aim to get people back to work, to protect those in work and to support those out of work.
Bad government, bad banks and bad decisions caused the economic crisis which has devastated communities all over Ireland.
We are told the crisis is over or near an end – but for most people nothing has changed.
Economic research shows many profitable companies are using the banking crisis – to drive down wages and working conditions.
25% of workers in the North are not making a living wage and many are on – zero hour contracts –the Sinn Féin Manifesto seeks to end Zero Hour Contracts – and to legislate for the right to Collective Bargaining.
Our manifesto called for the British Government to lift the borrowing ban from the Executive which prevents it from applying to the European Investment Bank for much-needed funding to stimulate the economy and create jobs.
We 4 SF MEPs will be working to deliver on our manifesto promises – and to that end I have a meeting already arranged with the vice President of the EIB in Luxemburg.
Of course, the Irish Government needs to become more active in applying for EIB funding – to stimulate the 26-County economy.
The current government has drawn down less than previous administrations.
The focus of Team Sinn Féin in the European Parliament will be on opportunities to invest to grow – grow the economy, grow SMEs and create sustainable jobs within a society which treats people equally and with dignity.
Building upon our manifesto pledges – the 4 SF MEPs will cover a range of areas:
· Employment and Social Affairs;
· Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs,
· Economic and Monetary affairs
· Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
· Regional Development,
· Culture and education
· Fisheries, and
· Constitutional affairs
The European Union is in an economic, social and political crisis.
The policy of austerity has resulted in more people having more debt; rising levels of unemployment; increased poverty and 500,000 people emigrating from Ireland alone.
Our strong Sinn Féin team of MEPs will continue the fight for a 21 billion Youth Guarantee scheme, despite the fact that MEPs from parties across Ireland, north and south, all refused to support.
In the north there have been a number of EU Regional Aid Grant schemes which have played key role in attracting FDI and encouraging expansion of large indigenous and FDI companies.
During 2007-2013 – EU Regional Aid was available to all companies in all areas, given that the North was designated as an economic development region.
As Junior Minister I was influential in retaining our 100% assisted area status – at least in the medium term.
Now while we won the battle – we did not won the war on this one, as there will be a midterm review of the assisted area map – so I will have to return to this matter at a later date.
Sinn Féin MEPs will continue to insist that the Executive must have access to the European Globalization Adjustment Fund, which provides support for workers made redundant.
The British Government has banned the Executive from applying – yet the BG made no applications on behalf of the people of the North.
For this reason and many more, SF believes Ireland’s economic policy should be decided in Ireland – and not in Brussels or London.
Now on the matter of EU CAP Reform, we have always support a fairer and more equal Common Agricultural Policy.
To that end I welcome the fact that there has been an agreement on CAP; that we now have certainty and for the purposes of payment that the North will be a Single Region and that by 2019 71.1% of flat rate will be paid; 85% by 2020 and 100% by 2021
In the North there are nearly 11,000 farmers receiving below the average SFP.
These farmers deserved equal treatment.
In addition SF’s commitment to the environment and countryside – resulted in securing the ANC scheme – Areas of Natural Constraint – being located in Pillar II the Rural Development Programme.
I welcome the announcement on the decentralization of public sector jobs that will be advance with DARD Head Quarters moving to Ballykelly and that the DARD Ministers secured agreement on her Going for Growth Strategy –which has the potential of creating 15 thousand jobs.
Believing that Ireland’s place is in Europe, in the event of a in/out referendum – SF will ask people to vote against leaving the EU. SF will highlight the adverse impact of the North being out of Europe and South being in Europe would have on cross border trade and accessing the single market – not to mention the adverse impact on farmers given that CAP is the sole competency of the EU.
Of course, SF wants a reformed Europe, an end to the disproportionate influence of the larger member states, and an end to the democratic deficit.
We need an all-Ireland economy within Europe, promoting joined-up development in the border corridor and an end to duplication of bureaucracy.
Up until the recent elections, I have been the lone Irish voice opposed to the austerity and big business first agenda in Europe.
Along with my three Sinn Féin MEPs in the European Parliament, I will be working for a new direction.
I will work on Human Rights and Social Justice issues highlighting the importance of reconciliation and the need to consolidate the Peace Process – which must not be taken for granted.
Yet my focus will continue on opening up EU funding opportunities for all our communities, rural and urban, SMEs and the whole range of organizations and groups in our Voluntary & Community sector.
My work to control the sale of Tobacco Products to prevent children from starting the deadly habit of smoking will continue – and I will be putting a strong focus on the European Bill of Rights for Cancer Patients which I promoted in the Assembly when I hosted an event aimed at highlighting the issue of Women & Lung Cancer
At this time, I am working alongside my party colleague Maeve McLaughlin and others to deal with the gross inequality of cancer patients in the north not having the same access as cancer patients in Britain to life prolonging drugs.
The effective roll out of Peace IV funding – and INTERREG are firmly on my radar.
I will be playing a leading role in a team of 4 Sinn Féin MEPs who will put Ireland First when working on behalf of all our people, while delivering social change when tackling poverty and social exclusion.
There are a number of big issues to be tackled during 2014-2020 – TTIP, Climate Change and Banking Union to name three.
I will be an MEP for all, working for a better society – improving the lives of people in the here and now – whilst working for an environment within which our children will live in peace, happiness, with equality, social justice and prosperity. I will be Standing Up and Working for you.