Sinn Fein MEP, Martina Anderson has voiced strong opposition to the appointment of any serving MEPs as EU Ombudsman. Ms Anderson was commenting when it became known that the two largest groups in the Parliament were proposing members of their respective groupings as nominees for the position.
Martina Anderson said:
“I was dismayed to learn of the decision by the two major blocks in the EU Parliament to put forward names from their own groups as nominees for the position of EU Ombudsman. While I do not wish to make any aspersions regarding an individual’s ability I do have serious reservations about those who are serving MEPs – some for multiple terms – with strong partisan political records, being put forward for what should be a politically neutral position.
“As a strong advocate of the need for the services of an Ombudsman that can act independently I believe that the holder of the Office should have no political baggage that could be used to undermine any decisions s/he has to take.
“Article 9.2 of the Ombudsman’s Statute states that “When taking up his duties, the Ombudsman shall give a solemn undertaking […] that he will perform his duties with complete independence and impartiality. How would this be possible if the person appointed has fixed political affiliations?
“It is my opinion that the obvious person meeting the criteria laid down in statute is Emily O Reilly – presently the Ombudsman in the South of Ireland. She has experience, reputation and ability to bring the independence and transparency required to this important position.
“I would urge all MEPs but particularly my fellow Irish MEPs to lobby their respective blocks in the Parliament to keep this position free from the influence of political allegiances and vote for Emily O’Reilly as an independent, impartial Ombudsman.” CRÍOCH