Euro needs fundamental reform to survive: Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has commented on the “celebrations” of the 20th anniversary of the euro currency in Strasbourg this week.

 

Carthy, a member of the Economic and Monetary Affairs committee, said: “The euro has resulted in very mixed fortunes for different countries and different classes of people.

 

“But the most striking thing to notice as we mark the 20th anniversary of the introduction of the common currency is the fact that the deep structural flaws in the euro revealed by the financial crisis remain firmly in place.

 

“The euro is not just notes and coins; it is a system of rules. Since the crisis, the failed policies of austerity have been implanted even more firmly in the structure of the Eurozone – with new mechanisms to monitor and structurally reform the economies of member states, and to control their spending, taxation and borrowing through budgetary control.

 

“The result is that in 2017 one in 10 workers in the EU lived below the poverty line – the highest level recorded. But things are far worse for people not in standard full-time positions, who are three times as likely to be poor.

 

“The Eurozone continues to lack the institutions that could effectively reduce divergence across the area’s economies. The architecture that facilitates trade imbalances, capital flight and debt crises remains firmly in place.

 

“The euro rules appear to be unable to generate enough growth and inflation to restore full employment and production, or to place historic levels of private and public debt on a credible path of reduction.

 

“Most disastrous of all, the Commission and the Council are still trying to impose the austerity straitjacket of the Fiscal Compact into permanent EU law. The Parliament voted against this move in November, but the opinion of MEPs will be completely ignored.

 

“It is little wonder that the citizens of the EU are becoming increasingly furious at the lack of democratic control they have over the decisions that impact on their daily lives.

 

“If the euro is to survive as a common currency, we need to rewrite the rules that underpin its existence. If we don’t we will be in an even worse position when we are hit by the next inevitable financial crisis.

 

We need to start by getting rid of the failed and unworkable Fiscal Compact, and the Stability and Growth Pact that underpins it. The Member States need to have the power to control their own budgets to respond to the needs of their own people.”

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Carthy welcomes adoption of post-Brexit Tariff Quota file by European Parliament

Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy, has welcomed the adoption of a Regulation dividing agricultural tariff concessions post-Brexit. Speaking following the adoption of the Report in Strasbourg on Wednesday, Carthy said:

 

“Consolation in Brexit terms is rare.  However I am pleased that MEPs have this week endorsed the methodology for dividing tariff rate quotas between Britain and the EU post-Brexit.

 

“As the lead author the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee opinion on this regulation, I am glad to see this file concluded in a timely manner to prepare the sector for all eventualities of Brexit.

 

“The EU currently has 87 agricultural quotas at fixed tariffs with countries all over the world. Brexit brought about the danger that EU markets would have to buy large consignments of goods, such as beef or lamb, that otherwise would have gone to British markets, having the potential to flood domestic markets and drive down prices.

 

“This week’s vote will hopefully ensure that there will be no displacement of products that have the ability to drive down domestic prices.

 

“In my report on behalf of the Agriculture Committee, I fought to ensure that the renegotiation going on at WTO level on this issue is limited to this division according to strict methodology. It should result in no greater market access nor no more favourable terms of access for third countries. This is to ensure that sensitive agricultural products are protected.

 

“I am pleased that a Joint Statement has been added to the Annex of the Regulation to ensure this division can be altered to take account of any eventuality, including for instance the North of Ireland remaining in the Single Market. Such a re-division of concessions would have to be carried out in a fully transparent manner, in consultation with the European Parliament.

 

“I will continue to follow this matter closely as the European Commission approaches global trading partners to divide these concessions in the WTO”.

Carthy announces campaign against EU Directive promoting debt vultures

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has called for a European-wide campaign to block the Commission’s proposal for a Directive on developing a secondary market for non-performing loans.

 

Addressing MEPs and ECB President Mario Draghi in the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Carthy said: “The ECB has never protected borrowers in distress. It says that is the job of Member States.

 

“But the Central Banks in many states, including Ireland, have utterly failed to protect borrowers from repossessions and violent evictions. Our Central Bank warns that a new wave of mass repossessions is coming.

 

“The fact that the EU institutions are now legislating on how to deal with non-performing loans could be an opportunity to put in place strong protection for borrowers. But we can already see from the Commission and Council’s approach that their only interest is to restore the massive profits of Europe’s banks. The Commission proposal on a secondary market for NPLs will have extreme and appalling consequences on mortgage-holders.

 

“If the ECB won’t protect ordinary people from the debt vultures; if the national Central Banks won’t; if the Commission and Council won’t, who will?

 

“This Directive should be scrapped, and it is us in the European Parliament and civil society that must block its progress.”

 

Further details of the EU-wide campaign fr the withdrawal of this Directive will be announced in the coming week.

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“British Brexit chaos requires all-Ireland contingency strategy” – Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, has said that the ongoing chaos in Westminster requires an all-Ireland contingency plan to be put in place in order to protect our economy and the Good Friday Agreement.  He said that it was telling that an overwhelming majority of British MPs last night voted against the expressed wishes of the vast majority of the people from the north.

 

Carthy said:

 

“Sinn Féin have played a constructive role in helping shape the withdrawal agreement that includes the pivotal backstop.  There can be no dilution of that provision, it represents the least worst option for our country.

 

“It was positive to hear EU leaders reaffirming their commitment to the Good Friday Agreement and the backstop in the European Parliament debate on Brexit this morning.  The Irish government must remain resolute on this point.  In contrast to the European Parliament, it was telling that last night the vast majority of British MPs voted against the expressed wishes of the people in the north of Ireland.

 

“That Westminster vote now makes a no-deal scenario a live prospect.  That requires an adequate contingency strategy to be put in place immediately.  This strategy must be an all-Ireland one and it must include the option of a poll on Irish Unity.  Irish political leaders who dismiss or ignore this option are being as reckless as those Brexiteers who refused to consider the implications for the north of Ireland in their own manoeuvrings.

 

“Contingency planning must also include provision for emergency EU funding for vulnerable sectors and regions.  Sinn Féin have argued, since the Brexit referendum result, for the establishment of such a fund and have called on the Irish government and EU commission to facilitate this.  While the government has belatedly began speaking of such a fund there has yet to be a formal proposition to the EU.  This needs to happen immediately”

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“Increasing use of feedlots threatens Ireland’s family farm model” – Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy, has voiced his concern over the increasing feedlot kill figures on the overall beef market and has warned that this trend could spell the end of the traditional family farm model.

 

Carthy, who is a member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture & Rural Development committee, commented:

 

“The recent revelations that the percentage of the national beef kill coming from feedlots has climbed over to 18% is deeply concerning to all those with concern for our Family Farm model or the future of rural communities.  The figures provide an insight as to why beef prices are on the floor.  Crucially they confirm that there is a sneaking transition to a style of agriculture, resembling a factory assembly line, which would be detrimental to family farms and the communities that depend on them.

 

“Ireland has a worldwide reputation for providing a quality product with the highest animal welfare and phytosanitary standards that is founded on an image of pasture grazed cattle. This is in sharp contrast to the grassless feedlots where vast numbers of cows are crowded into pens before being grain finished.

 

“Veterinary experts have confirmed that a grain diet is not suited to cows’ stomachs and leads to negative health impacts, making their life significantly worse.  Coupled with the increased risk of infection and disease, due to the close proximity of the animals, it is clear that this is not the picture we require to ensure a future for Irish agriculture.

 

“In many countries where feedlots are common, upon arrival, the animals have to be fed a diet of antibiotics until slaughter.  Having worked on European Parliament files on Antimicrobial Resistance and the new EU directive on Medicated feed, I am very aware of the threat this poses to not only animals but to human health also.

 

“We cannot compete with countries like Brazil on beef price because they are able to produce at a much lower cost; therefore, the only future is protecting our reputation of a high quality product, through initiatives like origin green.  If we lose this reputation, the factories will not be fussy in what animals they buy and the number of feedlots in the country will only increase while the number of family farms will inevitably drop.

 

“Farmers need an incentive to avoid going down the feedlot route.  That incentive is very simple; a fair price paid by the factory so they can make a decent living producing high quality beef in a sustainable manner.

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“The frustration of farmers at current market conditions is evident with the emergence of the Beef Plan Movement and other developments.  Pressure on factories to pay a fair price must be maintained but farmers also need to send a clear message to the Irish government that it must stop supporting dangerous trade deals that results in increased cheap beef importation into the EU.

 

“Above all, we must demand that measures are put in place to tackle the increasing use of feedlots, knowing that the alternative will spell the end for many of our family farms and rural Ireland as we know it”.

Offshore Islands must be protected in EU legislation – Matt Carthy MEP

Offshore Islands must be protected in EU legislation – Matt Carthy MEP

 

Sinn Fein MEP for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy, has welcomed the endorsement by MEPs on European Parliament Agricultural Committee opinion on a series of his amendments addressing how islands are dealt with through funding structures.  Carthy said that the support for his amendments last December must be followed by appropriate action for our islands by the commission and Irish government.

 

He stated:

 

“The EU Treaty specifically lists offshore islands among those regions deserving particular attention when it comes to strengthening economic, social and territorial cohesion. However there are almost no targeted pieces of legislation to promote this priority.

 

“Since my election as MEP I have taken a number of initiatives to highlight the particular issues felt on islands, including campaigning for island-product quality labelling to promote food produced on offshore lands.

 

“I have also called on the Commission to consider island-proofing legislation it brings forward.

 

“However, one issue that comes up repeatedly is that there is no dedicated framework of financial support for our islands.  The EU has actually never attempted to measure the cost of insularity, nor collected data on the needs of island territories.  In fact many islands actually lose out on funding because GDP classification systems place them in the same category as their closest mainland regions, unfairly elevating their status.

 

“The amendments I tabled, which were endorsed by a majority of MEPs on the Agriculture & Rural Development committee, called for islands to be specifically mentioned in the objectives of the Regional Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund.

 

“Sinn Féin believes that it is important to have an island specific policy at national and EU level to ensure that gaps in funding are addressed immediately.

 

“There has been a 68% decline in the population on the islands off our coast during the period 1926-2016.  This is a direct result of under investment particularly in areas of education, housing and infrastructure.  Islands must be treated as a case apart in all Government strategies.

 

“If we are serious about respecting cultural heritage and making island life viable, then the continuity of such communities needs to be supported by specific actions, in cooperation with community led groups.

 

“The strong Committee approval of my amendments shows that there is a broad agreement in what we want to do. However, the most difficult step is to get this consensus translated into tangible commitments for rural communities, and supported by a strong budget.

 

“I will continue to advocate for these communities, including by pressing the Minister for Education to follow up on the most recent Joint Oireachtas Report addressing schooling needs on the islands”.

ENDS

Carthy sounds alarm on EU proposal on vulture funds

Carthy sounds alarm on EU proposal on vulture funds

 

Sinn Féin MEP for Midlands North-West, Matt Carthy, has confirmed that he will be writing to civic society bodies including farmers groups, consumer rights organisations, trade unions and housing campaigners to raise the alarm regarding a proposed EU Directive that will give free rein to vulture funds across the EU.

 

The MEP’s letter outlines the serious threat to the rights of borrowers and consumers arising from the proposal, which aims to develop a secondary market for non-performing loans, (the ‘proposal for an EU Directive on credit servicers, credit purchasers and the recovery of collateral’).

 

Carthy said: “This proposed EU Directive is designed to promote the use of vulture funds and securitisation vehicles in order to move this bad debt off the banks’ balance sheets and into the opaque and unregulated shadow banking sector.

 

“This proposal will also empower banks to seize their customers’ property through an out-of-court recovery mechanism, and will result in borrowers, including mortgage-holders, being pursued more aggressively by vulture funds and debt collectors.

 

“This EU proposal is nothing less than a second bailout for the banks. The non-performing loan problem was not caused by ordinary people and they should not be forced to bear the brunt of resolving it. The real goal of this proposal is not to ensure banks lend again but to ensure they return to making massive profits again.

 

“The debt vultures will be encouraged to spread their wings and move from just operating in Ireland and Spain to operating across the EU, while securitisation will be promoted as a so-called solution to the non-performing loan problem.  A private equity fund will be able to register in one member state and get a ‘passport’ to operate in any EU state, while only being bound by the regulations in place in the state where it is registered.

 

“The worst part of this proposal is that it will put major restrictions on all future attempts to regulate vulture funds at the Irish level. Our hands will be tied behind our backs. Unless new domestic laws comply with the EU Directive – which, let’s not forget, is designed to promote the sale of debt to vulture funds – the legislation will be struck down because it will amount to an infringement of the ‘right of establishment’ or ‘right to provide services’ of these private equity funds.

 

“The Commission has clearly not taken consumer protection issues or fundamental rights into consideration when conducting its impact assessment for this proposed Directive. The Directive should be withdrawn, and I am investigating possibilities for legal action in this regard. The European Parliament must block this proposal from becoming law.

 

“I will be organising an EU-wide campaign against this Directive in the coming months, together with other progressive forces and consumer protection organisations.” ENDS

 

Matt Carthy calls on Justice Minister to open Public Enquiry into death of Shane O’Farrell

Matt Carthy calls on Justice Minister to open Public Enquiry into death of Shane O’Farrell

 

Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, today confirmed that he has again written to Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan appealing to him to initiate a public inquiry into the death of Shane O’Farrell and the actions of all relevant state bodies in response to this tragedy their respective roles in advance and following his killing.  Carthy was responding to media reports that the coroner’s court inquest into the O’Farrell killing was not provided with complete information.

 

Shane O’Farrell, a young 23 year old Carrickmacross man, was killed in a hit and run on 2nd August 2011, by Zigimantas Gridziuska a known criminal who had breached his bail conditions at the time and had 42 previous convictions in three different jurisdictions.

 

Speaking today Matt Carthy, who is from Carrickmacross said:

 

“Shane O’Farrell’s family have been calling for an independent inquiry for several years.  The Dáil, by majority resolution, called for such an inquiry in a vote last June.  It is beyond the comprehension of anyone who has followed this case closely as to why the Justice Minister has yet to accede to this request.

 

“In today’s Irish Examiner it is reported that a coroner’s inquest into the death of Shane O’Farrell was not provided with the full versions of statements given by the driver who killed Shane.  This is just the latest in a litany of failures and omissions that have been discovered relating to the investigation of Shane’s death and the management of the individual who killed him.  For the most part these failures and omissions have been exposed as a result of the efforts of Shane’s mother and wider family.

 

“It is unacceptable that a grieving mother should be forced to go to the lengths that Lucia O’Farrell has in order to get the truth into the circumstances in which her son lost his life.

 

“Despite sympathetic words from the Minister and other government representatives the truth, as I see it, is that his department has failed to put adequate mechanism in place to address other agencies of the state which failed and continue to fail Shane O’Farrell.

 

“The O’Farrell family have raised several serious concerns regarding the handling of this case by an Garda Siochána, by the prosecuting solicitor and barrister, by the DPP and by the courts services.

 

“These questions are so numerous and raise matters of such significance and concern that, in my view, there must now be a public inquiry that examines each of these concerns and addresses the matters raised so that measures can be put in place so that no other family is failed to the extent that the O’Farrell’s have been.

 

“I therefore urge Minister Flanagan yet again to initiate, without any further delay, the public enquiry sought by the O’Farrell family and endorsed by the elected members of the Dáil”.

ENDS

Sinn Féin to hold major campaign meeting on the Future of Monaghan Hospital

Sinn Féin to hold major campaign meeting on the Future of Monaghan Hospital

 

Sinn Féin will tomorrow evening, Wednesday, hold an important public meeting that will focus on the future of Monaghan Hospital.

 

Long been an issue of political controversy, Monaghan Hospital has seen several services removed over the past two decades and in many instances witnessed large-scale community mobilisations in response.  Sinn Féin have long been consistent in their demand for the return, retention and development of services at the Monaghan town site.

 

The party will hold a public meeting in the Four Seasons Hotel, Monaghan tomorrow Wednesday 9th January at 8pm where there will be a discussion and debate as to how services can be returned to the hospital.  Co-hosted by the party’s local MEP, Matt Carthy, and TD, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, confirmed speakers are General Secretary of the Irish Nurses & Midwifes Organisation (INMO) Phil Ní Sheaghadha, Peadar McMahon of Monaghan Community Alliance and Louise O’Reilly TD, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health.

 

Speaking this week MEP Matt Carthy said:

 

“Sinn Féin have been the only party that has constituently articulated a role for local hospital services while other parties have systematically removed function after function from hospitals such as Monaghan.

 

“When Micheál Martin (current Fianna Fáil leader) as Minister for Health oversaw the withdrawal of maternity services from Monaghan in 2001, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin was on the record of stating that this would lead to further service removal and that subsequently it would create problems in the larger hospitals that those functions were being transferred to.  Unfortunately he was proven right on both counts.

 

“Since then both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments have systematically decimated Monaghan Hospital services including, essentially, A & E services.  This, in turn, has led, as predicted by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, to bed shortages and crisis after crisis in other hospitals, including Cavan and Drogheda.  In the meantime we had a Fine Gael health spokesperson commit to undoing the damage caused by Fianna Fáil only for that promise to be quickly forgotten once they entered government.

 

“I am delighted that the General Secretary of the INMO Phil Ní Sheaghadha will address our meeting.  Nobody knows better than nurses the devastation that has been caused to the delivery of healthcare by the decisions of successive governments and it is appropriate that the leader of the largest nursing union will be present to outline their proposed solutions.

 

“Peadar McMahon has long been the foremost community proponent for local hospitals.  His insight will prove invaluable to the discussion on the future of Monaghan Hospital.

 

“For Sinn Féin this will be an opportunity to outline our proposals for the restoration and development of services at our hospital.  Knowing that it is always more difficult to restore than retain functions it is therefore imperative that political parties are upfront in terms of the ambition and timeframe for restoration of services.  The alternative is that the hospital ceases to operate in any meaningful manner.

 

“Crucially, our public meeting will be an opportunity for members of the community across county Monaghan to listen but also to contribute to the debate.  This is our hospital.  It has been robbed of its services by political decisions.  We must fight to get them back”.

ENDS

 

 

EU Broadband Funding “strangled in bureaucracy” – Matt Carthy MEP

EU Broadband Funding “strangled in bureaucracy” – Matt Carthy MEP

 

Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy, has criticised an emerging trend of the use of EU funds relating to broadband provision being “strangled in bureaucracy” rather than actually funding initiatives.  Carthy said that the infamous bureaucracy and red tape for which Brussels is renowned is preventing funds from being delivered in a manner that provides the maximum benefits to communities.

 

He said:

 

“The story of EU bureaucracy and red-tape is infamous at this stage.  We have repeatedly received commitments that processes will be simplified.

 

“Yet, since becoming elected as MEP I have highlighted a new trend which is seeing money supposedly earmarked for public services instead being funnelled into the creation of new EU-level offices and agencies that do not provide any added-value to work already being done on the ground.

 

“The latest example of this wastage is the creation of Broadband Competence Offices (BCOs), which are set to receive up to €880,000 per year for seven years.  Instead of using this money to fund actual broadband and connectivity initiatives, the European Commission is establishing this network of so-called BCOs to replicate work already being done by local authorities and government departments.

 

“Late last year I uncovered that a Luxembourg based capital investment company is set to receive €7m a year for up to 20 years for simply disbursing another of the EU’s broadband funds.  This is a new level of farce from the European Commission, which is rapidly losing confidence among citizens and groups who apply for funding.

 

“NGOs, local action groups, farmers and community projects regularly get in touch with my office regarding the impossible feat of applying for funding.  It seems that the money becomes strangled in bureaucracy and goes to everyone BUT the targeted group for funding.

 

“I will be following up with the Broadband Competence Office in Ireland to enquire about how they plan to spend this money, and ensure that this funding actually goes towards its stated purpose – providing improved broadband access for communities”.

ENDS

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