Agriculture and the agri-food industry are the backbone of Ireland’s rural economy and a key source of export, revenue and jobs. Currency fluctuations since the Brexit vote have wreaked havoc on some agrifood operators. The LEADER programme was once, and has the potential to be again, a revitalising force for rural communities but the government is intent on strangling funding to rural Ireland. Many rural communities in recent years have seen their post office close. A post office is a focal point for the local community, a meeting place for older people and a link to the rest of the country and indeed the world. They must be protected. Rural Ireland must be protected.
During my time as an MEP, I have:
Made a submission to the European Parliament Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, demanding recognition of the unique challenges which Ireland’s agricultural sector will face due to Brexit.
Called for CAP payments to be simplified and protected, as a member of the Agriculture Committee in the European Parliament.
Promoted SMEs and co-operatives.
Spearheaded a scheme introducing public WiFi to rural areas.
Hosted a delegation of community groups on the LEADER programme in October 2017.
Exposed Government lies about rural LEADER funding.
Raised the issue of high insurance premiums in rural communities.
Protested against the closure of post offices and raised the importance of post offices to rural communities in the European Parliament.
Ireland has a long and rich tradition of catching and serving fresh fish of a high quality standard. We have an abundant maritime environment, rich in natural resources. 11,000 people are employed in the industry within the state with more working in support and ancillary industries.
As MEP, I have:
Outlawed unethical and damaging fishing practices such as pulse trawling.
Consulted fishermen, NGOs and coastal communities on the inequalities
Launched a Charter of Rights for Fishermen and Islands to the European Parliaments Fisheries Committee, of which I am a member.
Organised a delegation of fisherman, activists and stakeholders from Ireland in the European Parliament and held meetings with the Irish government officials, European Commission and other MEPs.
Negotiated for legislation for the conservation of fishery resources and the protection of marine ecosystems through technical measures.
Acted as Brexit rapporteur for Fisheries.
While housing is a competence of Member States, it is clear that there is a housing crisis and there is a problem with the whole economic system that is responsible for the rise in homelessness across Europe. The EU alongside Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Labour fail to recognise that rising poverty and homelessness across Ireland is a direct consequence of years of their austerity.
As an MEP I, alongside other Sinn Féin MEPs, have:
Authored a GUE/NGL report on meeting the antipoverty target in light of increasing household costs which was adopted in 2016.
Supported social inclusion using European funding such as the European Social Fund, the European Regional Development Fund and the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived.
Lead an Irish and EU-wide campaign to challenge the European Commission’s Directive on Non Performing Loans which poses a serious threat to the rights of homeowners, tenants, borrowers and consumers.
Encouraged social investment and energy efficient homes to combat fuel poverty and winter deaths.
Campaigned for better protections for Irish homeowners and farmers, against evictions and Vulture Funds.
I believe that the European Union can play a greater role in enhancing worker and trade union rights, helping to improve the living and working rights of workers across the EU based on key values as respect for human dignity, equality, workplace safety and access to lifelong learning.
As MEP for Ireland South, I have:
Called for a greater emphasis on quality traineeships, apprenticeships and increased participation by young Europeans in the policy-making processes.
Stressed that any EU supported internship programme must have proper monitoring and controls, including pre-placement checks and consultation with trade unions where a collective agreement exists, to prevent displacement of paid work and ensure meaningful employment enhancing training.
Called for more of an emphasis on Community Employment Schemes which are based on structured accredited training.
Stressed the importance of addressing social exclusion and including persons from disadvantaged backgrounds to ensure they have full and equal access to both culture and education.
The European Union plays a role in improving and promoting public health. This includes measures on regulating the tobacco and alcohol industries, food safety and nutrition, as well as controlling diseases and health threats. Public health is one of the areas receiving the most intense lobbying in Brussels.
As a Sinn Féin MEP, I have:
Challenged corporate lobbying that surrounds the Brussels institutions.
Worked on the Tobacco Products Directive, which introduced obligatory health warning on cigarette packaging and introduced an EU-wide tracking and tracing system to stop the illicit trade of cigarettes.
Called for full transparency on chemicals lobby meetings between European Commissioner Phil Hogan and chemical giants such as Bayer which acquired Monsanto.
Campaigned for Europe to prioritise putting women’s health to be on the agenda and that the highest safety standards are used in producing women’s sanitary products.
Sinn Féin prioritises climate action and believe that solving the climate crisis requires strong political will from a Left perspective. Climate change is a crisis of unregulated capitalism - a system that has allowed big polluters to turn profit without taking into account the consequences on our planet. We are now facing a situation where the next twelve years will completely determine the future of our planet, and there is no time for moderate action.
As MEP I have:
Consistently opposed EU funding being spent on fossil-fuel projects.
Opposed the EUs approach to climate change which allows big polluters a cheap way out.
Advocated for an alternative to the sufficient Market solutions that fall way short if what is necessary to tackle climate change.
Called on the EU to revise its climate targets for 2030 so that it is far more ambitious and in line with the Paris Agreement Goals.
Held a ‘Fighting for Climate Action’ policy seminar in Cork hearing contributions from environmental experts and advocates.
Authored the EU Strategy on Plastics which will tackle plastics in our oceans.
Sinn Féin supports the European human rights architecture and the objective of continent-wide upwards harmonisation of protections, because they serve the best interest of the Irish people. We have insisted that Ireland upholds these human rights standards at home, and that the EU institutions live up to their own human rights commitments. European human rights guarantees are not enough. We need stronger domestic protections in Ireland, starting with full implementation of the outstanding human rights commitments under the Good Friday Agreement. Brexit cannot be permitted to undermine the Good Friday Agreement.
Throughout my term as MEP, I have:
Protected the Good Friday Agreement and changed the course of the Brexit negotiations.
Secured PEACE and INTERREG IV funding.
Campaigned for an end to Irish participation in the evolving EU common defence and security policies.
Campaigned for Ireland to fully comply with all European human rights obligations, whether civil or political, under the EU Charter for Fundamental Rights or economic and social rights under the European Charter.
Called for an EU Language and Cultural Ombudsman to monitor and protect cultural and linguistic diversity/rights for all citizens.
Called for the protection of European minorities’ rights to be considered a priority as a direct response to the rise of extremism and xenophobia.
Blue carded an MEP in 2017 for making a homophobic intervention in the European Parliament.