The Irish presidency has not been successful

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

MEP Martina Anderson raises the issue of Jim Allister’s discriminatory SpAd’s (Special Advisers) Bill in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson speaking at a ‘Privatisation of Public Goods’ conference in Brussels this afternoon voiced strong opposition to the policy.

Chairing a session on water privatisation at the Conference Martina Anderson said:

“The issue for discussion at this session will focus on water privatisation, unfortunately something we in Ireland are all too familiar with.

“Water is a precious resource which costs money to bring to the tap. But access to it is universally recognised as a basic human right. It is already paid for through general taxation and taxpayers should not be expected to pay for it again through privatisation.

“Sinn Féin has always taken a strong stance on the issue of water privatisation in Ireland – North and South. We have and will continue to vigorously oppose the introduction of water charges.

“In the North, Sinn Féin’s Conor Murphy MP when Minister for Regional Development refused to introduce household water charges, halted proposals for universal metering and ruled out the privatisation of these services (as was proposed by a Direct Rule British Minister in 2007). Households in the North (and indeed across Europe) are already under considerable strain due to difficult economic circumstances and would understandably find it difficult to cope with an additional financial burden

“Unfortunately, the present right wing FG/Labour coalition in Dublin is striving to bring in similar measures to those proposed in 2007 for the North by the British government.

“The Irish government claim it wants to introduce water metering to better conserve water supplies. If you want to conserve water, you don’t do it through privatising and metering water used. The logical way to conserve water is through maintenance and repair of the delivery infrastructure which is presently leaking 40% of the human consumption water supply. Rather than borrow €300 million from the peoples national pension reserve fund to install household water meters so that it can charge the people again for a service that should be fully funded through progressive general taxation, the Irish government should be investing in repairing and replacing the outdated water infrastructure.

“This is just another example of regressive and punitive austerity policies, of hidden taxation, presently being devised by governments across Europe. Extracting more money from struggling families to please the Troika has once again won out over the provision of quality services to its citizens.

“Having voted against Sinn Féin amendments to poverty proof their bill an Taoiseach and his Labour coalition partners are bending over backwards to please the Troika by punishing the over 200,000 people in the State living below the poverty line.“ CRÍOCH

Martina Anderson – Commission work programme

Martina Anderson speech on the protection of animals on transport

Speech in European Parliment on Flags