On Friday November 16th 2012, Martina hosted an extremely successful conference on the issues of “Child Poverty and Social Exclusion”. Cypriot MP Skevi Koutra Koukouma from the AKEL party addressed the event representing the Cypriot Presidency of the EU, and other speakers included Reka Tunyogi (Eurochild), Michelle Murphy (Social Justice Ireland), Mike Tomlinson (QUB) and a representative from the Child Poverty Action Group (London).
Sinn Fein Junior Minister Jennifer McCann MLA also addressed the event, along with party colleagues Alec Maskey MLA and Megan Fearon MLA.

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has welcomed Agriculture Minister, Michelle O’Neill’s presence at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting in Luxembourg this week.

Martina Anderson said:

“I am encouraged that Minister O’Neill is attending the Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting in Luxembourg this week. I believe that we need strong representation to ensure that we get the best result for our Agriculture sector. While we don’t have our own seat on the Council and we are depending on Owen Paterson to present our case, it is important that the Minister is there to ensure that he presents our expectations accurately.

 “We need CAP to be implemented regionally in a way that suits our needs. For instance, our Minister is attempting to obtain an option to allocate entitlements only to those claimants who were engaged in production activity in 2011, which would exclude most non-farming landowners. Although a fairer way of allocating funding, this position is not wholeheartedly supported by Owen Patterson. Therefore it is good that the Minister is in a position to remind him of the importance of this position to us. 

 “It is also crucial that she is there to oppose any attempt to reintroduce the proposed ploughing ban on carbon rich and wetland soils in cross compliance.

 “While the Council priorities may change as it enters the final days of negotiations in Luxembourg it is essential that we have someone there to look after our interests.” CRÍOCH

 

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has accused an Taoiseacht Enda Kenny and the Irish EU Presidency of duplicity after misleading reports of a supposed deal on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 (MFF) negotiations appeared in the media.

 

Martina Anderson said:

 

“The European Parliament (EP) publicly stated that there was no deal on the MFF. Yet an Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore allowed misleading information to be fed to the media. Although this type of media manipulation may be unfamiliar to other Europeans it is something that we in Ireland have come to expect from this Fine Gael/ Labour regime.

 

“It is blatantly obvious the EU Heads of States cannot agree a package of measures to provide the necessary funding required to deliver growth, jobs and in particular aid to the most deprived including programmes to fight youth unemployment across Europe.”

 

“Although the information released to the media yesterday was merely a proposal by the Irish Presidency to be submitted to the European Council next week, Eamon Gilmore did not clarify this and allowed it be reported as if agreement had been reached or was imminent.

 

“Even if it is approved next week at the European Council, it is the European Parliament that decides if there is sufficient basis to continue negotiations, therefore it will have to come back to the European Parliament for deliberation. As it stand presently ratification at EP level is unlikely as none of the European Parliament demands has been fulfilled.

“No agreement was reached. The negotiation team stopped all negotiations. It’s a scandal how the Irish presidency and the European Commission have intentionally misled the public. I fully respect the decision of the head of the EP negotiating team to step back.” CRÍOCH

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson met today in Brussels with the Linking Generations group from the North of Ireland.

Commenting on the meeting Martina Anderson said:

“As  Junior Minister in the Stormont Executive I gave my support to the Linking generations project and I am pleased to continue pledge my support and that of Sinn Féin to this excellent cause.

“As we face an ever ageing society, the key links between the generations must be reinforced both for the welfare and happiness of older citizens and that of the younger generations. Social inclusion should be comprehensive and it is groups such as Linking Generations which are so essential in helping to achieve this.

“It is fantastic to see such a group bringing their expertise and enthusiasm on the issue of intergenerational solidarity to Brussels. It is important that groups such as these are able to promote their very worthwhile projects on an international stage. Being proactive in sharing best practices with their European counterparts is to be commended.

“During my time as Junior Minister, we were able to secure a grant scheme for community groups and voluntary organisations working on intergenerational solidarity and active ageing. It is very encouraging to see that since then Linking Generations are continuing their vital work with such enthusiasm. I wish them well on their trip to Brussels.”

Speaking at a Round Table discussion on Food fraud in Brussels Martina Anderson welcomed the proposed establishment of a team from Police, Customs and Prosecution Services to combat criminal activity in the Food Processing industry.

 

Martina Anderson said:

 

“During the recent Horsemeat Scandal in one incident alone, involving a Dutch trader, 50,000 tonnes of food was declared unfit for human consumption and seized by authorities.

 

“I welcome the commitment by the Commission to now prioritise the fight against food fraud. Included in the May 6th proposals by the EU Commission’s Directorate General for Food and Consumers  – DG Sanco, is the recommendation that Member States establish Food Fraud Squads that would allow for ‘unannounced inspections’ to food processors, factories and so on to combat Food Fraud.

 

“I believe that the Food Fraud Squads should incorporate Police, Customs and Prosecution Services backed up by the necessary resources to be effective.

 

“It is also proposed that if a company or an individual is caught committing food fraud, the Member State should impose tough fines which would at least equal the amount of potential profit that would have resulted from the fraud.

 

“As these measures are only at the proposal stage and have to be agreed by Member States and the European Parliament I will be following the proceedings with interest as they make their way through the parliament.

 

“I have yet to be convinced that fines equal to the amount of profit to be made from fraudulent activity will be entirely dissuasive. I personally believe that anyone falsifying ingredients in food should face fines in multiples of projected profits or prison depending on the scale of the operation.

 

“As the Danish Food Fraud team at the Round Table said, ‘fines must be punitive and should cost the fraudsters rather than being a ‘neutral’ expense’.

 

“In two operations carried out by EUROPOL and INTERPOL the first one involving eleven Member States and the second nineteen, 150 tonnes of counterfeit food and 100 tonnes of substandard food were seized.

 

“As the Representative from EUROPOL stated – food fraud is not the same as buying fake goods such as a Louis Vuitton bag! In Food Fraud the customer is unaware that they are not getting what it says on the label.

 

“A feasibility study on extending mandatory country of origin labelling to all types of meat used as an ingredient in food production, including pre-packed and processed meals is to be brought forward by the Commission this autumn. I will continue to advocate Country of Origin Labelling, which respects international agreements such as the Good Friday Agreement to permit foods produced in the North of Ireland to be labelled ‘Irish’ if the producers so wish. “

June 11th, 2013

Speaking from Strasbourg, Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson said that she welcomed the issuing of a joint declaration of support for people with disabilities by the leaders of the main political groups in the Parliament

Martina Anderson said:

“As a member of the forum on the rights of those people with disabilities, I welcome the fact that this declaration is backed up with a series of initiatives to ensure the full participation and enforcement of the rights in society of people with disabilities.

Among the initiatives that will be taken are:

– The European Parliament will implement and mainstream the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) through the setting up of a cross-Committee;

– The European Parliament will put forward concrete proposals aiming to protect persons with disabilities from the economic crisis;

– In view of the 2014 European elections, the political groups will ensure the accessibility of their websites, documents and information to persons with disabilities;

– The political groups will push for a strong and ambitious EU legislation on accessibility of goods and services: What is needed is an ambitious, legally binding European Accessibility Act, with strong measures at EU level to improve the accessibility of goods and services of high quality for persons with disabilities.

“By adopting the “Equal Treatment Directive”, which is being blocked by Member States in the Council, the Parliament has demonstrated its determination to fight for the rights of persons with disabilities and to combat discrimination of all kinds.

“When signing the Declaration, the Group leaders jointly expressed our strong belief that It is time to stop thinking that we are dealing only with a financial crisis, but also with a social and human rights crisis. While seeking a resolution to our ever growing national deficits and public debts, we should also bear in mind that there are millions of people suffering from the economic mismanagement by banks and governments.Particular attention must be paid to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged social groups like people with disabilities.

“Persons with disabilities are affected disproportionally by the austerity measures in Europe to pay for a crisis they are not responsible for. It’s time for the EU to fulfil its commitment to the UN CRPD and to 80 million Europeans with disabilities. I welcome this initiative by the Political Groups of the European Parliament, in taking a decisive step in the right direction.”

Sinn Féin MEP, Martina Anderson has urged anyone travelling in Europe, whether on holiday or business to remember the number 112 for Emergencies.

Martina Anderson said:

I know there will be many people from Ireland travelling throughout Europe during the summer months, be it for business, a holiday or to visit family and friends. There are a number of things that everyone should check are in order before setting off on your journey.

“Ensure that any accompanying children have their own passports as many countries now refuse to accept children included on the parents passport. Make sure that your own passport is in order as again many countries refuse entry if your passport has less than six months before expiry.

 

“Unfortunately the difference in regulations has sometimes resulted in families losing holidays and even in some instances being stranded in foreign countries when refused permission to continue a journey.

“But just as important as these measures on passports is that you should be aware of the emergency number 112 in case of instances of illness or accidents

“Obviously, we all hope that nothing unforeseen occurs during a trip that is meant for relaxation and enjoyment but it is useful to know the quickest way to contact emergency services in the eventuality that they are required. So remember 112, it is the equivalent to our 999 but is recognised in any European member state, free of charge from both mobiles and landlines.

 

“A recent survey showed that only 26% of people surveyed in Ireland had heard of it. Worryingly that leaves three quarters of travellers possibly in a precarious situation where knowing the existence of the 112 number could save crucial time in an emergency.” CRÍOCH

“Guarantee Our Future” – a forum for discussion on youth unemployment and the ‘Youth Guarantee’

Friday June 7th, Cavan Crystal Hotel, Cavan Town.
Download PDF.

9.30am Registration

10.00am Welcome – Caoimhghin O’Caolain TD for Cavan Monaghan

10.10am Opening address – Martina Anderson MEP.

10.25am – A Youth Guarantee for the EU.

Catherine Blair (European Commission, DG EMPL)

Ines Zuber MEP (Portuguese Communist Party & member of the European Parliament’s Employment & Social Affairs Committee);

Valerie Duffy, European Youth Forum;

Stefan Lindborg, President, ‘Ung Vanster’ (Young Left), Sweden.

Followed by Q&A. Chair – Megan Fearon MLA.

11.30am Break

11.45am – The situation in Ireland, north and south.

  • James Doorley, National Youth Council of Ireland;
  • Chris Quinn, “NI” Youth Forum;
  • Adrianne Peltz, President NUS/USI ;
  • Senator Kathryn Reilly;
  • Followed by Q&A. Chair – Phil Flanagan MLA.

12.45pm Closing remarks – Barry McElduff MLA

1pm Lunch served.