A report published by the European Movement last week claiming that Irish MEPs spent less time in parliament and asked fewer questions has been condemned as “fundamentally flawed”.
Independent MEP for the North West Marian Harkin, two-times winner of MEP of the Year Awards, said the study in no way reflects the amount of work being done by Irish MEPs, particularly during Ireland’s current EU presidency when she said they are working “twice as hard”.
The report found that Ireland’s 12 MEPs had on average an 83 per cent attendance rate at plenary sessions of the European Parliament in Strasbourg in 2012, a drop of 2 per cent from the previous year. It also revealed that the number of official parliamentary questions submitted by Irish MEPs dropped by a third from 2011, while the number of speeches they made fell by 50 per cent. Read more
European Commission buildings in Brussels
First results for latest Eurobarometer
Irish public opinion has shifted sharply in favour of stronger EU economic governance, according to Eurobarometer poll results published today. Along with the Finns, Ireland showed a 13% rise in those who want stronger European measures and coordination to combat the economic crisis, with a total of 77% in favour.
When asked how they felt about the national economic situation, 95% of Irish people polled think things are very or rather bad – as compared to an EU average of 77%. The most pessimistic of all are the Greeks (98%) and the Hungarians (96%). When asked about the national employment situation, 97% of Irish people polled were pessimistic, third most gloomy in the EU, behind the Greeks and the Spanish. Read more
MEP Marian Harkin
The Governor or the Central Bank, Professor Patrick Honohan has described the bailout of Anglo Irish Bank as “costly but manageable” but he neglected to say who would pay the cost. This was stated by Marian Harkin MEP when she commented on remarks made by Professor Honohan in Hong Kong.
She stated “I was shocked by the Governor’s comments to a business conference in Hong Kong because there seemed to be a tacit acceptance that the Irish public could continue to pay an exorbitant and unreasonable price for the failure of regulators, bankers, including Central Bankers, speculators and Government. Read more
Jim Higgins MEP
Concerns have been raised that planned EU legislation giving bus passengers the same right to compensation as those travelling by air and rail could force small Irish coach operators out of business.
The European Parliament backed measures this week which would allow bus passengers claim up to $1,800 for lost luggage, or be awarded hefty compensation in the event of journeys cancelled or delayed by over two hours.
However not all MEPs in Strasbourg voted in favour of the rules, with some Irish representatives claiming it could prove devastating for small bus companies.
The Irish government could receive up to €6,000 for each refugee that resettles here, under a draft law put forward by the EU.
MEPs in Strasbourg have approved legislation offering financial incentives for member states that volunteer to host refugees. The programme would apply only to individuals who have already been granted asylum in third countries, such as Iraqi refugees in Syria.
Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP
Speaking during a debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP stressed that EU solidarity is the key to tackling the ash crisis.
Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP called on the EU act immediately and to adopt a strong common policy to tackle the fall out from the volcanic ash cloud and to plan for future disruption. Read more
Sligo based MEP Marian Harkin
The first item up for discussion immediately following the opening of the European Parliament Plenary Session in Strasbourg on Monday will be the European Parliament’s position on the revision of an existing law about equal treatment for self-employed men and women. Among those who will contribute to the debate will be North West MEP Marian Harkin.
The revision calls for EU Member States to grant standard social protection, including at least 14 weeks maternity leave allowance, to self-employed women and to the partners of self-employed workers.
Pest controllers are warning that proposed EU legislation banning certain vermin poisons could lead to a massive rise in rodents throughout the bloc.
The draft law being considered by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee threatens to remove all anti-coagulant rodenticides from the EU market by 2013, over potential health risks posed by the substances. Read more
A key EU committee has backed new measures against the sale of bogus drugs over the internet. MEPs insisted this week that the regulation of online pharmacies must be part of a ‘pharma-package’ directive put forward by the European Commission.
Irish MEP Nessa Childers, a member of the European Parliament’s Public Health Committee, said there was no point cracking down on counterfeit medicines without attempting to monitor those sold online. Read more
Transition year students from St Columba’s College in Stranorlar will visit the European Parliament in Strasbourg today to participate in the Euroscola programme. They will get the opportunity today to see what it is like to work as an MEP.
They will work with students from the EU’s other 26 Member States on a range of current issues and will then vote on their decisions later in the day. All students nominated to speak during the final part of the programme will speak in a language other than their own (i.e. French, German, etc.). Catherine Cooke-Harkin, the school’s Transition Year Coordinator said that ‘the students from St Columba’s College are really looking forward to this opportunity.’ Read more