Carthy to host “Brexit: What’s Next?” Event in Donegal on March 29th

Carthy to host “Brexit: What’s Next?” Event in Donegal on March 29th

 

Sinn Fein MEP Matt Carthy will host a special “Brexit Day” event in Donegal on Friday March 29th.

 

The event entitled “Brexit: What’s next?” will take place in Dillon’s Hotel, Letterkenny at 8pm.

 

Ahead of the event Carthy said:
“March 29th is the original Brexit date. So it makes sense that we would hold a public meeting on that date in one of the regions that has most to lose from a bad Brexit deal.

 

“The fact that there remains huge uncertainty about what will happen is symptomatic of the absolute chaos in the British Parliament and particularly their cavalier attitude to Ireland.

“Farmers and other businesses in Donegal and in other areas along the border don’t know what impact Brexit will have other than knowing there is no such thing as a good Brexit.

Carthy again reiterated that the backstop is the basic minimum acceptable to the people of Ireland.
“The backstop remains the least bad option but even if the withdrawal agreement is adopted it will still leave many challenges for Ireland. 

“Therefore this public meeting in Donegal will be an opportunity to provide an update on what’s happening with Brexit at that stage.  It will also be a chance to discuss how we can deal with all of the potential scenarios in order to protect our communities, farmers, businesses and workers.  We will also discuss the issue of Irish Unity recognising, of course, that Brexit has highlighted the failure of the partition of our country in very stark terms. 

“I would encourage people from Donegal and neighbouring counties to join the conversation in Dillon’s Hotel in Letterkenny on ‘Brexit Day’ next Friday evening, March 29.” 

ENDS

 

Carthy calls on government to resist EU Vulture Fund Directive

Carthy calls on government to resist EU Vulture Fund Directive

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has called on the Irish government to ensure that domestic legislation designed to subject vulture funds to Central Bank regulation is not trampled on by the proposed new EU Directive on creating a secondary market for non-performing loans. The Midlands North West MEP has been negotiating the package on non-performing loans for the left group in the European Parliament.

Carthy said: “First up, my view is that this proposed Directive needs to be withdrawn. It was proposed on the basis of an impact assessment that took absolutely no regard of the rights of EU citizens such as the right to housing assistance under the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

“It will lead to more evictions, more harassment of homeowners by debt collectors, and more housing stress and homelessness. It is grossly unfair because it puts the blame and the punishment for the 2008 crisis on the shoulders of ordinary families and homeowners instead of the financial institutions that caused the crisis.

“In an Irish context, we have made only limited progress to date in terms of regulating vulture funds and protecting consumers and mortgage-holders. Yet even this modest progress made in the Dáil – usually in spite of Fine Gael opposition – will now be under threat by this EU Directive.

“For years Irish campaigners for the rights of mortgage-holders have demanded that the vulture funds themselves, and not only the middlemen – their intermediary debt collectors, referred to as credit servicers – must be directly regulated by the Central Bank. Ireland’s Consumer Protection (Regulation of Credit Servicing Firms) Act 2018, which came into effect in January, is a positive step forward in that it allows the Central Bank for the first time to regulate, investigate and sanction the owners of the credit agreements and not just their designated debt collectors.

“This modest but significant step forward in our framework for regulating vulture funds is now under threat by the EU Directive, which aims to impose a regime where the vulture funds themselves are entirely unregulated in the EU and only their ‘credit servicer’ subsidiaries are subject to any rules.

“I welcome the fact that Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe confirmed in a letter to me on March 6 that he has communicated to the Council that this is a ‘redline’ issue for Ireland in the Council negotiations on the Directive. The government must be held to this commitment, and all Irish MEPs in the European Parliament must also defend this position.

“The second substantial principle we need to defend is of course my colleague Pearse Doherty’s ‘no consent, no sale’ bill requiring banks to gain the written consent of their customers before selling their mortgage to a vulture fund; if this bill becomes law based on the will of our elected representatives in Dáil, it will be simply overruled by the EU through this Directive.

“I have tabled amendments to the Parliament’s report on the Directive demanding the direct regulation of the vultures; the need for banks to obtain the written consent of their customer before selling their loans on to a third party; a debt buy-back scheme for customers to have the right to purchase their own debt at the same reduced price that their bank would sell the loan to a vulture for; and for a range of additional consumer protection improvements to the Directive.

“But these amendments are not enough. I will also be working with consumer protection groups and housing campaigners in the coming months to call for the total withdrawal of this extremely damaging proposal.” ENDS

“GP shortage past emergency point” – Matt Carthy MEP

“GP shortage past emergency point” – Matt Carthy MEP

 

Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, has confirmed that he has written to Minister Simon Harris calling on the government to wake up to the emergency that has materialised in GP service provision that is keenly felt in many towns across the state.

 

Carthy recently met with Carrickmacross based GP, Shane Corr, where they discussed the immediate problems facing General Practitioner provision across many regional towns. According to Carthy this problem has been ten years in the making and is at breaking point due to the lack of action on the part of government.

 

Speaking this week Carthy said:

 

“Primary care services, including GP provision, is the corner stone of our health services.  If they are not operating effectively then the entire heath service becomes dysfunctional.  For over ten years the HSE and successive Ministers have been warned that a GP shortage has been building.  It has now reached emergency point in several counties.

 

“GPs are operating under contracts devised over 50 years ago although their role has altered dramatically over that period.  They are considered private operators when it suits government but public servants when cuts are implemented.  This, coupled with other policy failures, has led to the situation where many GPs have found themselves overworked and has led to a severe shortage in new doctors entering the sector.

 

“The net result is that newcomers to many towns cannot get signed up to a GP while existing patients face lengthy waiting times to meet their local doctor.  This in turn has forced people to go straight to out-of-hours or A & E departments putting additional burdens on those centres.

 

“The government acknowledges that there is currently a shortage of 150 GPs across the state.  But, a further 700 are due to retire over the next five years.

 

“The government’s cavalier attitude towards GPs in their refusal to reverse cuts to primary care is crippling services.

 

“Their inaction in funding and supporting primary and community care is a death sentence to General Practice as well as Community Pharmacies.

 

“I have written to Minister Harris demanding that he wake up to the emergency that is already evident in many areas.  As a first step, he needs to work on the unwinding of the FEMPI acts for primary care, review the current contracts regarding General Practices and provide increased funding for primary and community care.

 

“If the government were serious about implementing Sláintecare they would be investing in primary care.  If they don’t intervene to address the immediate GP shortage then the entire health system will face a collapse beyond anything we’ve seen in the already overstretched structures”.

ENDS

 

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy to host EU Forestry expert at Co. Leitrim meeting

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy to host EU Forestry expert at Co. Leitrim meeting

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has announced details of a significant public meeting on the controversial issue of forestry that will take place in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim next Thursday, 21st of March.

The event entitled “Fighting the Land Grab!” will take place in the Bush Hotel at 7.30pm.

Among the guest speakers will be Kelsey Perlman of FERN, an EU-level organisation dedicated to protecting forests as well as the rights of communities living close to them.  Fern is the body responsible for a report published last month entitled “EU Forests in Danger” which highlighted management, biodiversity and community rights issues across 11 EU Member States and specifically highlighted the forest policy employed in County Leitrim as an example of worst practise.

Sligo-Leitrim TD Martin Kenny will also contribute to the event which will outline the flaws of Irish government forestry policy and present the alternatives that could and should be implemented.

Speaking in advance of Thursday’s meeting Matt Carthy, who has been a long-standing critic of the government’s forestry policies, said:

“A proper forestry policy, as advocated by Sinn Féin and organisations such as FERN, should be beneficial to the environment, good for the local economy and positive for communities.  The forest strategy, if you could be generous enough to call it a strategy, pursued by successive Fianna Fáil and Fine governments does none of those things.

“Rather than helping the environment forests in Leitrim have become ecological dead zones.  Peatland and animal nesting grounds have been transformed into fast-growing Sitka plantations subjected to clear-felling.

“There is minimal benefit to the local economy.  Farmers are being priced out of available land by foreign corporations and vulture funds availing of government and EU grants, tax breaks and low-cost loans. It’s a land grab – Pure and simple!

“All the while it is the local community that suffers as they watch their county change beyond recognition.

“It doesn’t have to be this way.  FERN is an organisation that supports the development of forests but they cite Irish government policy in general and its outworking in Leitrim in particular as an example of worst practise. Kelsey Perlman will present an alternative approach, one that actually works and one that doesn’t over burden one county or region with the full obligations of the state.  I urge everyone with an interest in rural and regional development to come along and participate in the discussion.

Carthy concluded by saying “Thursday’s event is an opportunity to inform the public about policies at a national and European level and how they can be changed.  The policies pursued by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have caused damage that won’t be easily undone.  So, we have to start by putting an end to the current land grab and proceed to delivering a forestry strategy that works for the environment, for the local economy and for communities.  Sinn Féin are committed to implementing this vision.  Thursday’s meeting will be an important step in achieving it.”

ENDS

British actions on Brexit shows utter disregard for the Irish people – Matt Carthy MEP

British actions on Brexit shows utter disregard for the Irish people – Matt Carthy MEP

 

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has said the British parliament vote on Tuesday evening to reject Theresa May’s latest proposals on the Withdrawal Agreement demonstrates a total disregard for Ireland and its people.

 

And, the British government proposals for a post-Brexit tariff regime simply reinforced the Westminster ‘game-playing’ acts according to the MEP.  Carthy said that businesses, farmers and communities across Ireland were rightly becoming increasingly concerned about the projection of the Brexit process.

 

Speaking from Strasbourg on Wednesday, the Midlands North West MEP said:

 

“Now we are just two weeks away from Brexit. The landslide vote in Westminster makes a no-deal scenario more likely, which would be unthinkable for the peace process, jobs, trade and to the loss of people’s rights and quality of life, particularly in border communities.

 

“British MPs have again voted emphatically against the expressly stated wishes of vast majority of people in the north of Ireland, with potentially devastating implications for our whole island.

 

“Shamefully, the DUP ignored the wishes of the people of the North and the border communities, who are deeply and justifiably concerned about the impact of a no-deal Brexit. This blinkered strategy is reckless in the extreme. It is driving us all towards a no-deal crash that would be catastrophic.

 

“We don’t think the Withdrawal Agreement is perfect – far from it. But it includes an insurance policy for Ireland. The backstop is a guarantee that no hard border will be imposed on this island and it protects the Good Friday Agreement.

 

“Sinn Féin indicated our view that the legal assurances secured by Britain do not alter the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, and that the Agreement agreed by the Dáil in November still stands.

 

“Foolish Fianna Fáil”

 

“The Westminster vote shows that, foolishly, Fianna Fáil seemed to be the only people in Ireland, Britain or the EU who believed these changes undermined the backstop.

 

“The EU has made it clear that the Withdrawal Agreement is not going to be reopened for negotiation. There is now a need to intensify planning for a no-deal crash with an imperative to ensure no return to a hard border, protections of our agreements and safeguarding the rights of citizens.

 

British Tariff proposals

 

“The tariff announcement on Wednesday has become just the latest example of ‘game-playing’ on the part of the British government. Having spent the last two years claiming that there can be no difference in approach for the north of Ireland versus Britain, the British government have now proposed a tariff regime that does just that and acknowledges that there will be a need for special arrangements for the island of Ireland.

 

“The proposal that there would be no tariffs on goods moving from south to north is welcome but the devil will be in the detail.  The Irish government must also maintain its stance that it will not impose new checks on the border.

 

“The British proposals will be of little comfort to many businesses, farmers & communities though.

The suggestion of tariffs on Irish goods entering the British market is clearly a nightmare scenario, especially for vulnerable sectors such as the beef industry.

 

“It is now imperative the Irish government, with the support of the EU, outline proposals for a comprehensive financial compensation scheme for those sectors impacted by such a scenario.

 

“This is yet another stark reminder that there is no good Brexit for any part of Ireland.  We must collectively work on this island to prepare for the impact of a no deal Brexit; all options must be open for consideration.

 

“In the face of such blatant disregard for the Irish people by the British political establishment, it is time to discuss a new future where we can, together, decide our own course free of Tory debacles. It’s time for a referendum through which we can achieve independence and unity.” ENDS

 

Carthy condemns EU vulture fund plan in Strasbourg

Carthy condemns EU vulture fund plan in Strasbourg

 

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has condemned the EU’s proposed Regulation and Directive on non-performing loans at a debate in the plenary session of the European Parliament in  Strasbourg. Carthy was speaking in advance of a vote on the Regulation requiring banks to reduce their level of future non-performing loans, which will take place tomorrow, Thursday.  Sinn Féin MEPs will vote against the provisional agreement between the Parliament, Council and Commission on the Regulation (the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee has not yet adopted a position on the Directive).

 

Addressing parliament, the Midlands North West MEP said: “None of the arguments in favour of the Commission’s package on non-performing loans stand up to scrutiny.

 

“Its supporters say it will contribute to financial stability. How does moving billions of euros of bad debt into the unregulated shadow banking sector achieve that?

 

“Its supporters argue it will free up banks to lend to small businesses. All of the evidence shows that it is lack of demand in the economy, and not credit supply, that is limiting lending.

 

“Its supporters say we can achieve strengthened consumer protection in the Directive. In reality, the package will encourage the banks to throw their customers to the wolves, through the mass sell-offs of mortgages on family homes to vulture funds.

 

“This is exactly what is happening in Ireland, fuelling a housing and homelessness crisis. Supporters of this proposal cite the Irish experience with bad debt as a model to be replicated across the EU, when in reality it is an example of what needs to be avoided.

 

“The truth is this package is about returning banks to the situation where they can make massive profits again, without regard to the rights of their borrowers. We cannot support this package, as it won’t solve the problem of bad debt in the EU’s financial system. It will just move it into the shadows, while throwingfamilies in distress to the vultures.”

 

Speaking after the debate, Carthy added: “The process by which this Regulation was dealt with at the committee level was extremely disappointing, with the two largest groups, the EPP and S&D, colluding to prevent the smaller groups from having a meaningful say in shaping the report, and preventing us from even voting on the amendments of the smaller groups at committee level.

 

“Judging from the extremely short proposed timetable for the Directive, the two large groups intend to exclude the rest of the Parliament from having meaningful input into the Directive also. This is an appalling and anti-democratic approach to such a crucial proposal.” ENDS

Matt Carthy MEP: “Unfair Trading Practices legislation is a missed opportunity to improve the position of farmers”

Matt Carthy MEP: “Unfair Trading Practices legislation is a missed opportunity to improve the position of farmers”

 

Sinn Fein MEP for the Midlands North West Matt Carthy has described the new EU Unfair Trading Practices (UTPs) legislation as a lost opportunity and has said that he fears that farmers will continue to be exploited by retailers in the market. Carthy, a member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, cited the failure to include a ban on below-cost-selling as the most glaring omission in a failed package.

 

Speaking from Strasburg after the adoption of the legislation, Carthy commented:

 

“The situation whereby, those who do the most amount of work in producing the food we eat – receive they least share of profits – has been getting worse every single year.

 

“Retailers and processers have been exploiting their position while our farmers are expected to work on ever tightening profit margins and often, at a loss.

 

“Many of us hoped that the EU would step up to the mark and deliver Unfair Trading Practises legislation that would rebalance the scales, recognise the importance of our farming communities and stand up to the corporate giants.  This was the opportunity to do so.

 

“That opportunity has been wasted.

 

“Sinn Féin MEPs voted against this file because we cannot look farmers in the eye and tell them their situation will improve as a result of its enactment.

 

“The failure to include a ban on below cost selling of foodstuffs is just the most glaring of the deficiencies in this legislation. One third of the banned UTPs can continue if supermarkets manage to insert them into contracts.

 

“I hope that I am proved wrong, that the implementation of this legislation will prove a game-changer for our family farmers.

 

“I fear though that it will not; and that we will either have to return to this work, or watch as more farmers leave the land and our rural communities suffer for want of a bit of ambition and vision at EU level.

 

“I have listened to those Irish MEPs who supported this file and Commissioner Hogan describe it as ‘a good start’ – But, negotiations on this legislation has been going on for 10 years!  If it takes a decade to reach this point then our farmers surely deserve better.

 

“Sinn Féin’s focus will now move to a national level where we will press for domestic legislation that addresses the gaps left by the EU text. Most importantly, we will continue to demand the reintroduction of an Irish ban on below-cost-selling.”

ENDS

 

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy to hold public meeting in Galway this Friday

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy to hold public meeting in Galway this Friday

 

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy will host a public meeting in the Connemara Coast Hotel this Friday evening the 15th of March.

 

The event entitled “After Brexit: Investing in the West” will take place in the Connemara Coast Hotel, Na Forbacha, Co. Galway at 7.30pm.

 

Speaking beforehand Matt Carthy said:

 

“Since my election as a MEP I have held dozens of public meetings across this large EU constituency to inform communities of the work that I am doing on their behalf but also to hear at first-hand how EU decisions are impacting on Irish families.

 

“This Friday’s meeting in Galway will be an important opportunity to discuss how we can work at an EU and national level to address the imbalances in investment that is acutely felt in rural areas.  Many areas still do not even have adequate broadband, an essential utility in modern times.  There is no urgency for the provision of adequate public transport, the Western Rail Corridor hasn’t been prioritised.  Indeed, successive Irish governments have ignored the needs of rural communities.  Despite strong rhetoric, European policy has failed to resolve the domestic failures.

 

“With Brexit uncertainty intensifying it is more important than ever that we have an ambitious vision for investment across the regions including, crucially, in the west.

 

“Friday’s event will provide an opportunity to highlight some of the major challenges being faced by communities in counties like Galway, it will allow these communities to have their voice heard and it will also present a forum for us to outline Sinn Féin’s proposals to address the issues.

 

“Rural Galway is a great place to visit.  We need to strive to also make it a great place to live, work and raise a family.  This can be achieved but only if the correct political choices are made.  Sinn Féin are determined to support a vision that delivers jobs, infrastructure and civic supports for our rural communities, including our farmers, fishers and wider population”.

 

“I therefore encourage everyone with an interest in delivering an investment programme for rural communities to come along”.

ENDS

 

Matt Carthy Connemara Galway

Carthy rejects Taoiseach’s excuse for further broadband delays 

Carthy rejects Taoiseach’s excuse for further broadband delays 

 

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has labelled comments by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that suggest Brexit is a reason to delay delivery of rural broadband as an insult to the people of rural Ireland.

 

Speaking from Brussels, Carthy,  a member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, said: “In recent weeks, it has become clear that the failure of the plan falls firmly at the feet of the Irish government. Why should the people of Ireland have to suffer because the government allowed the costs for the plan to skyrocket to a six-fold increase?

 

“It is beyond belief that instead of taking responsibly and implementing the necessary steps to ensure a speedy delivery, the Irish government has chosen the path of excuses and diversion.

 

“To try to avert attention away from the government and blame the beef farmers for possibly needing a bailout is shameful. These are two separate issues and neither of them are caused by the people of rural Ireland, which includes around 80,000 beef farmers.

 

“The Taoiseach has pushed back any progress until April and has given no indication of what happens in the event beef farmers need to be aided. Will a no-deal Brexit mean rural Ireland has to wait another year or longer for reliable broadband?

 

“This is another shocking example of the Irish public being expected to pick up the tab for systemic government incompetence. Over half a million people are waiting a long time for this fiasco to be corrected and for them An Taoiseach’s latest comments offer no light at the end of the tunnel.

 

“This crisis could have been easily avoided if the government delivered the service through a state-funded scheme, instead of allowing the involvement of private investors, costing the taxpayer more than €2 billion. If the Taoiseach wants to make any link between the broadband scheme and Brexit, it should be in the context of assessing the gravity of the government’s failure. In a critical time when aid may be required to vulnerable Irish sectors, he has overseen the squandering of billions of euro.

 

“Sinn Féin will continue to hold the government to account on this issue. Whatever the outcome of Brexit, rural Ireland cannot be the casualty”. ENDS

Matt Carthy MEP to host major conference on Irish unity in European Parliament 

Matt Carthy MEP to host major conference on Irish unity in European Parliament 

 

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy is hosting a major conference on Brexit and Irish unity tomorrow in the European Parliament in Brussels. The event, ‘Post Brexit: Towards a United Ireland’ will be addressed by several Irish and international speakers, including Paddy Cullivan, Dawn Foster, Kevin Meagher, John Douglas, Gillian Hammill, Peter Shirlow and others.

 

The conference will hear a keynote address from Sinn Féin vice president Michelle O’Neill. ‘Brexit: a catalyst for Irish Unity?’ Panels on ‘Brexit: a catalyst for Irish Unity?’, lessons from the reunification of Germany, and ‘Irish Unity, a progressive demand’ will be chaired by journalists Shona Murray and Brian Maguire.

 

Speaking from Brussels in advance of the conference, Carthy said: “Sinn Féin MEPs have consistently used our role in the European Parliament to put the questions of Brexit and Irish unity firmly on the agenda.

 

“This conference, organised by the European United Left (GUE/NGL) group in the Parliament, will be an opportunity to discuss and debate the impact of Brexit on Ireland, and the conversation about a border poll on Irish unity, here in the heart of Europe.

 

“This conversation is moving beyond the question of a Brexit backstop to prevent the hardening of the British border in Ireland. We are now looking firmly to the future and confidently debating what a united Ireland should look like, and how we can get there. We need to build EU-wide support for the reunification of our country through a border poll carried out under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.” ENDS

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