Sinn  Féin MEP, Martina Anderson has congratulated Craobh Rua, the Belgium GAA  club for organising the European Camogie and Hurling Finals which are to take  place in Brussels on Saturday.

Martina Anderson said:

“It is  fantastic to see such an important facet of Irish culture being celebrated in  Brussels. These finals are the biggest event of its kind to take place in Europe, outside of Ireland.

“Given  that GAA Clubs are often the first port of call for young Irish men and women  living abroad, it is important that its role in helping these young  people to integrate into new countries is acknowledged.”

‘I wish  them well with their event and congratulate them for helping to increase the  profile of Irish sports and culture abroad.’

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has welcomed the results of a study carried out by the German think tank Bertelsmann Stiftung which highlights the benefits to member States of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)

Martina Anderson commented:

“The result of this intensive study is very welcome and should serve as a lesson to those MemberStates and MEPs who supported cuts to the EU Budget which has resulted in a reduced CAP allocation in the new term.

“The study by German think tank Bertelsmann Stiftung found that CAP is saving EU member states billions of euro a year. It found that if farm policy was returned to the remit of member states it would have resulted in those states having to spend an extra €23 billion (£20bn) in 2010 as the efficiencies of a common EU policy would have been lost. This would have created a scenario where competing member states would enter into a “subsidy race” to ensure their farming sector was protected. The study also found the CAP reduced political distortions which saved the bloc money.

“The study which was designed to evaluate if the EU helps its Members States to save money was presented in Brussels last week. This added value calculation validates Sinn Féin’s resolve, lobbying in my capacity as an MEP but also in the firmness of purpose displayed by our Minister in the Executive, Michelle O’Neill MLA in her discussions with other EU Ministers and the Commission to secure the best possible allocation for our farmers.

“This study also confirms that if it were not for CAP the cost of farming in the North would see more struggling farmers leave the land. With the British Government’s attitude to CAP and its insistence on EU Budgetary cuts in line with its austerity agenda it is clear that Britain would not be willing to make up the short-fall – thus the importance of getting a well funded CAP. Those who voted to cut it should reflect on this study and explain to our farmers their rationale for doing so.”

 

Sinn Féin’s Martina Anderson MEP has called on the University of Ulster (UU) and Magee Campus to ensure that they avail of the Research and Development (R&D) opportunities presented by the EU Horizon 2020 budget allocations.

Welcoming the approval of the compromise text on Horizon 2020 by the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER I) opening the way for the implementation of the EU’s next multi-annual research programme over the next seven years Martina Anderson said:

“With a total budget of € 70.2 billion, this new research package demonstrates the determination of EU leaders to keep investing in science and technology, despite the budgetary constraints facing many EU member states. Against the backdrop of an overall decrease in the EU’s Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2014-2020, the research budget for Horizon 2020 has actually increased by 40% compared to the Seventh Framework Programme which expires this year.

“The agreement paves the way for the formal adoption of the “Horizon 2020” legislative package by the European Parliament and the Council through a vote in the coming months.

“Horizon 2020 will target three priority areas, creating world-class scientific excellence, making research and innovation more competitive and fostering industrial leadership to speed up the development of technologies that will support businesses and innovation, including SMEs. It is designed to develop priorities identified in the Europe 2020 strategy by supporting activities covering the entire chain from research to market. It is imperative therefore that UU Campuses – particularly Magee in conjunction with the North West Health Innovation Corridor and C-tric avail of the opportunities presented by this very ambitious funding programme.

“Horizon 2020 will also provide a range of support fo research and innovation activities of SMEs along the different stages of the innovation cycle. The creation of a dedicated SME instrument will help to increase the participation of SMEs under Horizon 2020 funded projects.”

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has welcomed the decision by the Attorney General to order a new Inquest into the death of IRA Volunteer Seamus Bradley during Operation Motorman in Derry in 1972.

Speaking from Europe Martina Anderson said:

“I am pleased for the family that the Attorney general has ordered a new Inquest into the events surrounding the shooting dead of their brother Seamus by a British soldier in 1972 during Operation Motorman.

“The family have at all times acted with integrity in their quest to find the truth about the killing of Seamus and the callous manner in which the British army failed to act in getting him medical assistance that would in all probability have saved his life.

“I will continue to give whatever support and assistance to the family that I can as they go through the process of preparing for the Inquest.”

Sinn Féin MEP, Martina Anderson has welcomed the news that the EU will seek to introduce mandatory labeling of settlement goods from the territories illegally occupied by Israel and urged that this initiative be adopted and implemented by the end of this year.

Martina Anderson said:

“Products which originate in the illegally occupied territories should not be allowed to be designated as Israeli products, permitting a sense of legitimacy. The settlements violate international laws and consumers should be informed if they are potentially buying something from the settled land wrongly taken from the Palestinian people.

“I also welcome the recent EU decision to no longer give funding to Israeli entities established on illegal settler land.”

“Although it has taken a long time for the EU to translate words into action on this issue, it’s undoubtedly a step in the right direction. The EU has now laid down requirements, due to be in place by early next year, whereby Israel must ensure that EU funds do not reach the settlements which are illegal under international law.

“There are currently 520,000 settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and last year alone 6600 new housing units for settlers were approved while 535 Palestinian owned structures were demolished.

“It is high time that the EU moves from a toothless ticking off of Israel to tough action which shows that its illegal actions against the Palestinian people will no longer be tolerated.”

Sinn  Féin MEP Martina Anderson has signed the petition calling for the repatriation  of Michael Campbell from Lithuania to a prison in Ireland.
Martina Anderson said:
“This is a human Rights issue and I believe that the condition in which  Michael Campbell is being held does not comply with the humane standards in  which prisoners anywhere should be held.
“In December 2012, Michael Campbell was sentenced to 12 years  imprisonment for allegedly attempting to purchase weapons for a dissident  Republican Organisation. He is currently in his 6th year in a Lithuanian Prison.  During this time he has endured inhumane and degrading conditions. Signing this  petition is not an endorsement of the alleged activities for which Michael  Campbell is imprisoned.
“The fact that these inhumane and degrading conditions are prevalent in  Lithuanian Prisons has been confirmed in reports by representatives of Amnesty  International and the Council of Europe’s Committee on Prevention of Torture  among others.
“Both Article 3 of the  European Convention of Human Rights and Article 5 of the Universal Declaration  of Human Rights prohibit ‘inhuman and degrading treatment.’ It has been  established that the conditions in which Michael Campbell is being held breaches  both these conventions. These degrading conditions include poor sanitary  provision, lack of adequate nutrition and a constant and serious threat of  violence.
“It  is only right therefore, that we support the petition to have Michael Campbell  repatriated to Ireland so that he can serve out the remainder of his sentence  close to family and friends. This is a basic human rights issue.”

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson strongly criticised the outcome of the Regional Development Committee (REGI) vote on a new regulation on cohesion policy for the period 2014-2020.

Martina Anderson:

“The result of this vote is that cohesion policy, which governs the use of structural and cohesion funds, will become subject to the Commission’s austerity policies.

“It is a shame that for the first time in the history of the EU, budgets dedicated to cohesion between its different regions are being cut substantially.

“The REGI committee vote concluded the initial stages of legislation in advance of negotiations between the EU institutions. One positive outcome of the Committee vote is the strong opposition within the European Parliament making it clear that it would not accept such macro-economic conditionality in structural and cohesion funding. Macroeconomic conditionality would make cohesion funding dependent on member states adherence to EU economic governance rules.

“Failure by government to abide the harsh and counterproductive austerity policies set by the European Commission could be punished by the withdrawal of cohesion funding. In the North of Ireland this would mean that we could be punished by the European Commission for decisions taken in London over which we have no control . Macro-economic conditionality would create insecurity and uncertainty in the structural funds allocated to member states which would be detrimental to strategic regional project planning.”

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has described the British government’s decision to halt plans to introduce plain packaging for Tobacco Products as surrendering to the well-oiled Tobacco Industry Lobbying machine.

Martina Anderson commented:

“The decision by the British government to halt plans to introduce‘plain packaging’ for tobacco products is disgraceful. It should be ashamed, having so blatantly bowed to tobacco industry lobbying.

“The packet is one of the last marketing devices in Europe left for the tobacco industry to exploit the opportunity to attract new young smokers of its products. With 94% of smokers taking up the deadly habit before the age of 25, it is essential that governments across the world ensure that this ‘silent salesman’ is restricted as much as possible.

“700,000 people die in Europe every year from tobacco related diseases, 2300 of them in the North of Ireland causing hurt and devastation for hundreds of thousands of families. Perhaps the British government, even if unconcerned about the human tragedies caused by this death product, should reflect on the massive cost to the Health Service, before surrendering to the well-oiled lobbying machine of the tobacco industry. Of course, when the British PM hires a political advisor who was previously a tobacco industry lobbyist, this U-turn on a matter of such importance for public health is perhaps less surprising.

“All EU countries are signatories to the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention for Tobacco Control which obliges governments to ensure that public health policies are protected from undue influence from tobacco industry lobbying. It is clear that these obligations have not been adhered to by the British government. The British government should follow the example of the Irish Health Minister who is bringing forward measures to introduce 100% plain packaging on tobacco products.”