Commenting on the address of Pope Francis to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, today, Independent MEP for Dublin Nessa Childers said: “It was refreshing to see such a strong emphasis on the issues of social, economic and environmental justice that have become so much more acute with the financial and economic crisis.
“Pope Francis was rightly critical of the primacy of the views of economic technocrats and financial interests over the essential needs and rights of persons.
“I hope the biggest political force in Parliament, whose members claim to bear the banner of Christian-democratic values, were listening attentively.
“He denounced exploitation and the debasement of working conditions as an attack on human dignity, along with the scourge of solitude amongst the elderly and lack of future prospects among our young.
“I agree with him when he says that, if we allow certain economic technicalities to dominate the political debate, we risk treating humans as consumption goods, discarding those the markets have no use for.
“I hope my colleagues took due note of his plea to protect our environment, to find and use alternative energy sources and to think of ourselves as custodians, rather than masters of the planet, so as to be able to lead sustainable lives.
“It was interesting to see how closely his address echoes the appeals made by President Michael D. Higgins when he came to Parliament in the last term, particularly when it comes to the need to rethink our economic policy priorities, and to put citizens and communities at the heart of those.”