Micheál Martin hits out at ‘eurosceptic’ Irish MEPs

Micheál Martin Hits Out At ‘Eurosceptic’ Irish Meps
Micheál Martin said Ireland had become known for electing politicians to the European Parliament who 'undermine' the EU. Photo: PA
Share this article

By Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA

The Tánaiste has hit out at eurosceptic Irish MEPs and said it was time to “push back” against “destructive” anti-EU forces.

Micheál Martin said Ireland had become known as a country that has benefited from European Union membership, but which also regularly elects politicians to the parliament who “undermine” the union.


The Fianna Fáil leader said that Ireland has one of the highest proportion of its MEPs in an “extreme left” group in parliament, which he accused of speaking “more than others, but by every measure achieve almost nothing”.

Ireland has 13 MEPs, with all five Fine Gael MEPs in the EPP group, two Fianna Fáil MEPs in the Renew group, two Green MEPs in the Green alliance group, and the four remaining MEPs in the Left group.

Mr Martin, who was speaking at the launch of his party’s European election manifesto, said: “Ireland’s MEPs currently include Europe’s loudest defenders of worldwide dictatorships and opponents of the very idea that European values need to be defended.


“Some of these MEPs spend more time working for the rigged elections and dictatorships than they spend in their own constituencies.

“You don’t need a crystal ball to know that if we return more loud, anti-European Union candidates, they will have the same record as always, they will achieve nothing for Ireland and they will weaken our voice in the parliament.”

He also said that “the price of euroscepticism” to households in the UK was €2,000 a year.

He added: “The United Kingdom is much bigger than Ireland in its population and economy. But the most recent reports from their own official statistics show that the price of euro scepticism, manifested in Brexit, is now over €2,000 per household every year.


“Lower growth, lower employment, lower incomes, lower funding for public services. That is the reality. How much damage would Ireland face if we left the guaranteed markets, the shared standards, the co-operation which we get from being active and positive members of the European Union?

“We must always strongly represent our interests and continue to be willing to stand against the majority when we disagree with a policy. But no positive purpose is served by indulging those who act as if Europe is our opponent.

“It is time for Ireland to step up and play its role in pushing back [against] destructive anti-EU forces which are more active today than ever before. For far too long, we’ve taken the European Parliament for granted.”

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien, who is the party’s director for the European elections, told the event: “Why send antagonists, begrudgers and eurosceptics to represent us?”


Asked after his address who were the eurosceptic Irish MEPs he was speaking about, Mr Martin said: “Clare Daly, Mick Wallace are anti the European Union. They speak out consistently against the European Union.

“Sinn Féin have taken an anti-European Union stance all of the time. Luke Ming [Flanagan] equally is anti-European Union. No question about it.

“That’s a very fundamental issue on the agenda here. The vast majority of the Irish people believe the European Union is good for Ireland.

“So there’s a fundamental question: are we going to elect MEPs who see it as their objective to oppose the union, who sometimes declare the union to be part of a Nato militarised operation, who don’t accept the bona fides of Europe’s role internationally, for example, in terms of humanitarian aid… and always, always takes an anti-EU perspective and lack balance when it comes to policies that emanate from the European Union.”


Ms Daly, Mr Wallace, Mr Flanagan and Sinn Féin have been contacted for comment.

Read More

Message submitting... Thank you for waiting.

Want us to email you top stories each lunch time?

Download our Apps
© BreakingNews.ie 2024, developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com