On 6th April, MEPs adopted formal guidelines, or red lines, for the negotiations on the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. This report is important because the eventual Brexit deal will require a majority vote in the European Parliament.
Ireland’s particular vulnerability post Brexit is prioritised in this report. This is a tribute to all the Irish MEPs who played our part in ensuring that this was the case. We met individually with our political group leaders to endure that the Good Friday Agreement and our common travel area with the UK is acknowledged in the final deal.
As a member of the advisory panel of Diem25 , the pan European network, it gives me great pleasure to announce the launch of Diem25 in Ireland.
Diem25 Ireland Launch Event – Towards a Democratic Constitution for Europe
World Café and evening event Saturday May 27, and on Sunday May 28 morning workshop discussions.
Confirmed speakers: Yanis Varoufakis, DIEM25 founding member and former Greek Minister for Finance, and Dublin Independent MEP Nessa Childers.
In February, the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) was passed by a majority vote in the European Parliament. I voted against CETA because of issues around its impact on Ireland’s labour laws, farming sector, and future health & environmental protections.
To come into full effect, CETA must be passed by each individual member state. I believe that before any vote in the Dáil we need a full cost benefit analysis of its impact on Ireland.
Also pleased to report that last month, I was appointed shadow rapporteur for the Socialists and Democrat group, to work on the European Parliament Legal Affairs opinion: “Legitimate measures to protect whistle-blowers acting in the public interest when disclosing the confidential information of companies and public bodies”.
The EU exports two million cattle and sheep a year to the Middle East, Turkey and North Africa. More and more evidence shows that animals suffer greatly both during the long journeys and at slaughter. Follow this link for a copy of our letter to the President of the European Commission stating that the EU must honour the commitment in the EU Treaties regarding animal cruelty and stop this trade.
Good news from Strasbourg. In April we voted on a strong report calling for clampdown on imports of unsustainable palm oil. MEPs say that to counter the impact of unsustainable palm oil production, such as deforestation and habitat degradation, particularly in South-East Asia, the EU should introduce a single certification scheme for palm oil entering the EU market and phase out the use of vegetable oils that drive deforestation by 2020.
MEPs also stressed that a large part of the global production of palm oil is in breach of fundamental human rights and adequate social standards. It frequently uses child labour, and there are many land conflicts between local and indigenous communities and palm oil concession holders.
Last year I partnered with Médecins Sans Frontières and co-hosted an event in Strasbourg on Access to Medicines, and I also tabled amendments to the European Parliaments report on the cost of medicines.
Due to the high prices of treatments and medicines, measures to help patients are now required. Lack of affordability and access to life-saving medicines is compromising the health of millions of patients in Europe, not to mention the situation beyond our continent. This issue is becoming more and more urgent, and it is a subject I will focus on over the course of my mandate.
You can follow this link for a copy of my speech delivered the seminar ‘Healthcare for persons with Disabilities: Home and Abroad’, held on 25th January 2017 in the European Parliament.