“Barnier confirms that EU will not accept Unionist veto” – Matt Carthy MEP

“Barnier confirms that EU will not accept Unionist veto” – Matt Carthy MEP


Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, has welcomed confirmation from European Commission Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, that the EU will not accept any further dilution to the agreement reached with the British government last week.


Mr. Barnier was responding to direct questions from Matt Carthy and his colleague Sinn Féin MEP, Martina Anderson, during a dialogue with the Left political grouping in the European Parliament on Tuesday evening.


In response to issues raised by the Sinn Féin representatives Michel Barnier was unequivical, stating “There will be no veto – we will stay tough on that”.


This was just a short period before the House of Commons voted in favour of the withdrawal agreement but against the time-frame laid proposed by Boris Johnson.  It appears that the EU is now set to grant an extension of a further three months to the Brexit process.


Midlands North West MEP, Matt Carthy, said that this is the right move from an Irish point of view, saying “Prolonged uncertainty is always better than certain disaster.  And a no deal scenario would be certain disaster for Ireland and particularly the border region.


Speaking earlier on Tuesday in a European Parliament plenary debate in Strasbourg Matt Carthy told fellow MEPs that the border in Ireland is already too hard.


He said:


“The border has frustrated economic, social and political development in our country and it resulted in a conflict for which too many paid too high a price.


“The Good Friday Agreement and our shared membership of the EU have, together, been the instruments that have allowed us to undo some of the damages of partition over the past two decades.


“That is why Brexit has been such a dangerous development.  It has risked our peace process and our all-Ireland economy.


“Even the deal negotiated last week will create new problems relating to the border in Ireland.  We support it because it is better than the alternative.


“This deal cannot be further diluted.  There can be no veto, no opportunity for any one party to hold every business, every farm, every worker, every community across the island of Ireland to ransom.  To suggest that such a veto would represent ‘consent’ is absurd and is a ludicrous misreading of the Good Friday Agreement.


“Of course, the best way to protect our country from the dangers of Brexit is through Irish Unity.  The EU can play a role in supporting the peaceful, democratic pathway to that objective.


“I hope this house is ready and willing to be part of the big constitutional conversation coming our way” he concluded.


Press Notice: Carthy to host “Brexit: What next?” public meeting on Sunday

Press Notice: Carthy to host “Brexit: What next?” public meeting on Sunday


Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, will host an important public meeting regarding the latest developments on Brexit their implications for communities in the border region and across the island. The event takes place, tomorrow, Sunday October 20th at 8.30pm in the Four Seasons Hotel in Monaghan.


“We’re at a critical juncture in the Brexit process.” Carthy said: “Brexit will have huge socio-economic and political implications for our country and the border region in particular. Following developments this week those that stand to be affected by Brexit have several queries and concerns. This meeting is organised so as to answer those questions. We will also discuss what recent developments will mean for the big constitutional conversation towards Irish Unity.”


The event hosted by the Midlands Northwest MEP Matt Carthy will include a keynote address by Mary Lou McDonald (Sinn Fein President) and will also see contributions from Damian McGenity (Border Communities Against Brexit), commentator Andreé Murphy and Businessman Johnny Kelly.


Ahead of the public meeting, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said: “It is important to note that there is no such thing as a good Brexit. Ireland did not consent to Brexit. It is being foisted on the north of Ireland against the democratic wishes of the people.”


“As a party, Sinn Féin has worked to defend Irish interests from the worst impacts of Brexit. It was Sinn Féin who first made the case for a designated special status for the north within the EU and it was Sinn Féin who insisted on the protection of the Good Friday Agreement and no hard border on the island of Ireland as bottom lines.”


“Any deal can only mitigate the worst effects of Brexit; a least worst option. “The ultimate solution to the problems Brexit poses for the island is Irish unity. We want that conversation to start now.”


“Brexit: What next?” takes place this Sunday October 20th at 8.30pm in the Four Seasons Hotel in Monaghan. ENDS

Irish government must allow Adoptees access to birth information – Matt Carthy MEP

Irish government must allow Adoptees access to birth information – Matt Carthy MEP


Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North-West, Matt Carthy MEP, has expressed concern that Ireland remains the only EU country to deny adoptees accessing their identity and birth information.


Speaking on the difficulties this has caused for adoptees, Carthy said:


“As reported by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), Ireland is the only EU country that does not grant adoptees the right to access adoption files and information relating to their biological family, such as access to their birth certificate or to their health history.


“This is just one of many instances of Ireland lagging behind other EU countries when it comes to providing fundamental rights and equality.  While other EU countries granted adoptees access to information decades ago, the Irish government is dragging their heels on this issue, making access to a birth certificate an ordeal.  This results in generations of adoptees in Ireland being prevented accessing their own health, heritage and history information because our government allows only the minimal information to adoptees via a register of voluntary participation.


“In a recent survey carried out by Aitheantas, (Adoptee Identity Rights), 84% of adoptees who completed the survey stated that their lack of access to medical information has affected them.


“The government has obligations to uphold its commitments to international human rights laws that it cannot ignore.  The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child stipulates the child’s ‘right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.’  Furthermore, the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-Operation in respect of Inter-Country Adoption states that authorities shall preserve information on ‘the child’s origin, in particular information concerning the identity of his or her parents, as well as the medical history.’  This should not be any different for adoptions that occurred within Ireland.


“I note that adoptees in the north of Ireland can access their birth information – there is need for the Dublin government to ensure all-Ireland cohesion on this issue.


“The Irish government has had no legislation on this area since 1952, meaning there is need to create an updated legislative framework as a matter of urgency.  It is therefore regretful to see this issue repeatedly shelved by successive ministers.  The Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill must be fast-tracked and must address the concerns of those that it effects most rather than entertaining outdated concepts of adoption.


“I have contacted Minister Zappone urging her to meet with representatives of Aitheantas, which represents adoptees, at the earliest possible opportunity.  It is essential that the concerns of adoptees are listened to in the drafting of a new Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill.”


Carthy supports Border Brexit demos

Carthy supports Border Brexit demos


Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has expressed his support for border demonstrations today, Wednesday 16th October, in advance of a critical EU Council summit – the last such meeting before the British Government says it will leave the European Union, dragging the North of Ireland with it.


Individuals and groups living along the border assembled at border crossings, on Wednesday, lighting beacons and torches to show opposition to Brexit and their determination to resist the imposition of any border infrastructure.


Matt Carthy said:


“Sinn Féin fully supports today’s demonstration by BCAB opposing to Brexit and to any return of a hard border in Ireland.


“We stand shoulder to shoulder with local communities who are making clear that they will not accept the imposition of any customs posts or border infrastructure.


“Any proposed Brexit deal must have legal guarantees for Ireland. The livelihoods of border communities, our economy and our peace process must be protected. There can be no DUP veto on any protections for Ireland.


“The people of the North voted to remain within the EU. The ultimate solution to the disruption and hardship which Brexit threatens to bring to Ireland is to hold a referendum on Irish unity which would allow the people have their say on the future, and to give them the option of removing the British border in Ireland once and for all. The time has clearly arrived to hold such a referendum.” ENDS

Matt Carthy urges AIB to stop the sell-off of family mortgages to Vultures

Matt Carthy urges AIB to stop the sell-off of family mortgages to Vultures


Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, has urged AIB to find sustainable solutions in the interests of families, rather than sell their mortgages to vulture funds.


The Monaghan based MEP was speaking after it was confirmed that the majority State-owned AIB was preparing to sell off thousands of family home mortgages under so-called Project Birch.


Carthy has reiterated his support for Pearse Doherty’s ‘No Consent, No Sale Bill’ calling for the bill to be progressed immediately, as it would ensure banks could not sell mortgage loans without the consent of the borrower.


Matt carthy said:


“I want to join with those who are demanding that AIB to do the right thing and ensure that sustainable solutions are found for families rather than committing them to an uncertain future.


“AIB is a State-owned bank.  It is therefore incumbent on its management to remember its past faults and ensure that it acts in the interests of consumers and those families that will be feeling unsure and worried with the prospect of their loans being sold to vulture funds.


“It is imperative that AIB seek sustainable solutions for these families, including the option of working with not-for-profit organisations who will act find sustainable outcomes for families rather than short-term profits for themselves.


“Vultures are never the solution.  That is why it is so important that Pearse Doherty’s ‘No Consent, No Sale’ Bill, becomes law without delay as it will offer families protection in the face of uncertainty.


“Mortgage holders are not safe under the current rules. The Sinn Féin ‘No Consent, No Sale’ legislation must be progressed to protect consumers and families in the face of further sell-offs and a future of uncertainty.  This legislation would ensure that banks cannot sell on loans without the consent of the borrower.


“Despite having previously received majority support in the Dáil, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have attempted to obstruct the passage of this Bill, thus enabling banks to continue large-scale sell-offs of properties.


“At this stage people should contact their local Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael TDs urging them to support Sinn Féin’s bill without excuses so that we can protect families and end the sell-off to the vultures”.



“Injunctions on farmers must be dropped immediately” – Matt Carthy MEP

“Injunctions on farmers must be dropped immediately” – Matt Carthy MEP


Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has called on Meat industry Ireland (MII) to fulfil its commitments by ensuring that all outstanding injunctions against farmers are lifted immediately.  This includes injunctions relating to the protests at the C&D plant at Edgeworthstown.


Carthy, who is a member of the European Parliament’s Agricultural & Rural Development Committee, was responding to Monday’s suspension of the Beef taskforce meeting due to protest.


Carthy commented:


“Farmers lifted their protests despite the fact that all issues had not been fully resolved.  This was a gesture of goodwill that has yet to receive an adequate response from factories in the form of improved prices.  It is hoped that the Beef taskforce will allow this fundamental issue to be addressed.


“But, immediately, one of the commitments that must be fulfilled is that to drop all remaining injunctions against farmers involved in protests.  This was a key element of the deal struck between Meat Industry Ireland (MII) and the farming organisations.  It is disingenuous to suggest that the C&D injunctions stand apart from the rest.  That protest was clearly part of the wider mobilisations against the actions of the factories and the ownership of C&D rests with a major player in MII.


“Unless and until all remaining injunctions are lifted it will be impossible to develop good faith in order to resolve the more substantive issues.


“The Beef Task Force has been established to deal with transparency and low prices in the sector.  We all want to see the Task Force get to work on these issues that affect the sector but it is unreasonable to ask farmers to begin negations while these injunctions remain in place.


“We are also still waiting for the introduction of the Beef Price Index, a measure that had a deadline for implementation of the 16th of September.


“Minister Creed needs to play a more active role in this process.  He was always been extremely quick in condemning actions of farmers but has consistently failed to stand up to the factories.  He must issue a statement demanding that all legal threats are lifted without delay.


“For our part, we in Sinn Féin will continue to stand alongside the family farmers of Ireland in demanding that all outstanding issues in the beef sector, including the base price, are addressed in order to secure the future of rural communities.”




“European Commission admits €1 billion Mercosur farm fund does not currently exist” – Matt Carthy MEP

“European Commission admits €1 billion Mercosur farm fund does not currently exist” – Matt Carthy MEP


The European Commissioned has confirmed that it has not set aside any funds or designed a compensation payment for EU farmers affected by the Mercosur deal. The confirmation, which came in a response to a written question submitted by Matt Carthy MEP, will come as a surprise to many considering EU Agricultural Commissioner, Phil Hogan, had previously claimed his department had secured €1 billion worth of funds to assist farmers in the event the deal is signed.


Carthy, who is a member of the European Parliament Agricultural Committee, commented:


“The European Commission has confirmed to me that, at this time, it has no details or concreate measures in place to provide supports to farmers adversely impacted by the Mercosur trade deal.  In fact no decision has even been made on where the financing would come from.


“Four months ago, Commissioner Hogan announced that he had secured compensation support for farmers for the certain market disruption that would be caused by the enaction of this trade agreement.  This was in response to the backlash from farmers and rural communities who had been sold out in the trade deal negotiations.


“The next European budget has not yet been agreed and the current commission proposal would result in a 15% cut to the CAP, in real terms.  It is therefore completely untenable to suggest that the compensation fund would from within the CAP budget.  So, where these funds could originate remains a mystery.


“It appears that Commissioner Hogan has also backtracked in recent weeks by stating that any aid would be delayed until the European Commission decides the impact of the deal.


“Mercosur is a bad deal for farmers, it is a bad deal for the Irish economy and it is a bad deal for the environment.  It should not be supported under any circumstances.  A once off compensation package of €1 billion would not offset the damage that Mercosur and other EU trade deals will cause vulnerable agriculture sectors such as beef.  However, this confirmation reinforces my view that it is questionable whether farmers would ever see a cent of these supposedly ‘secured’ funds.


“This is simply the latest development that undermines any tenuous argument in favour of the EU Mercosur trade agreement.  The Irish Government now needs to formally declare it’s rejection of its ratification and kill this dangerous deal right now”.



Question for written answer E-002496/2019

to the Commission

Rule 138

Matt Carthy (GUE/NGL)

Subject: Financial support for market disturbance caused by the Mercosur deal

On 29 June 2019, the Commission stated that EUR 1 billion of financial support would be made available to European farmers in the event of market disturbance following the EUMercosur trade deal.

Can the Commission clarify which budget line will be used in the next multiannual financial framework (MFF) for this new fund, which the Commission has indicated has been ‘secured’?


ENE-002496/2019Answer given by Mr Hoganon behalf of the European Commission(9.10.2019) 


The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) legislation provides the Commission the legal basis to take exceptional market support measures where need be. In the case that this need would emerge following market disturbances attributable to the Mercosur Agreement the EU is ready to support the concerned sectors financially. All the details about the concrete measures and their financing would be decided and described in due time.


“Public Safety Concerns of Carrickmacross residents must be addressed” – Matt Carthy MEP

“Public Safety Concerns of Carrickmacross residents must be addressed” – Matt Carthy MEP

Local MEP, Matt Carthy, has confirmed that he and his fellow Sinn Féin representatives have been liaising with community leaders, Gardaí and other statutory agencies as well as local landlords in a bid to alleviate the concerns expressed by residents in Carrickmacross recently.

These concerns have manifested online following a recent horrendous sexual assault in the town and have led to an online petition, signed by hundreds which asks “Do you feel intimidated when walking around Carrickmacross?”; the concerns expressed in the petition include many indicating that the presence of a groups of men ‘hanging around the Main Street’ is causing unease which has been exacerbated since the assault.  However, a minority have also used online forums to create racially based attacks on whole sections of the community.

Echoing a statement issued on the local Sinn Féin Facebook page in the past week Matt Carthy said that the genuine concerns of residents needed to be addressed.

He said: “This week, alongside local representatives Noel Keelan & Colm Carthy, I met with senior Gardaí to discuss these issues.  We have also been in discussions with other statutory agencies, community leaders and with local landlords to identify measures that can help resolve the fears that people have.

“This is about public safety, all of those who live in our town have the right to feel comfortable while walking the streets.  This is not, and should not be turned into, a racial issue.

“If a large group of young adult men are gathered together in one spot it is, of course, going to cause unease.  That is regardless of where they come from.  Gardaí have assured us that they are aware of concerns and will continue to ensure that there is a growing police presence in our town in order to deter anti-social behaviour and to assure the public of their safety.  While there has been an additional 24 additional Gardaí based in Carrickmacross over the past 18 months they are also expecting additional personnel to be located in the town over the coming months.

“We have also began to meet landlords who have been referenced in commentary.  Our message to them is simple.  They have an obligation to ensure that their tenants are not engaging in anti-social behaviour, they have to commit that they are not allowing overcrowding to happen on their premises and they have to engage with the local community.  The landlords we have met have confirmed that they are willing to do all of these things.  Time will tell”.

Genuine Concerns

The Sinn Féin representative said that there are genuine concerns regarding the numbers of newcomers that have arrived in the town in recent times.  Many of these concerns are founded on the already stretched nature of public services such as GP access.  He said that there is a distinction between those from outside of the EU who are seeking asylum and those from within the EU who have the right to free-movement across all member states.

“For those asking where political parties stand on the issue of the housing of asylum seekers, let me be clear” he said, “Sinn Féin opposes the Direct Provision system which is a travesty for those who live within it.  We have been scathing of the Department of Justice’s current policy of outsourcing the housing of asylum seekers to private companies and we have rightly said that the current policy is unfair on both the asylum seekers and the local communities who are not consulted and are refused information when it is sought.  I have written to the Minister for Justice on several occasions requesting a meeting to discuss these issues but he has not even replied to my requests.

“It has been Sinn Féin that has long campaigned against the main cause of migration, i.e. western intervention in conflicts in Africa and the Middle-East, and it has been Sinn Féin that have campaigned for a speedier turn-around of asylum applications so that the pressures on asylum accommodation can be eased.

“For the record our party’s priority has always been simply to ensure that those people who are entitled to live in Ireland are treated with dignity and respect and that they have the same rights, and the same responsibilities, that we would expect to apply to those Irish people who move abroad”.

Far-right manipulation

Matt Carthy also hit out at those who he said were attempting to manipulate the genuine concerns of residents for their own political and racist agendas.  Ironically, he said, most of these people are from outside of County Monaghan themselves.

He said: “We are taking the concerns of our community seriously.  But, we will not allow Carrickmacross to be presented as a bastion of racism by far-right bigots.  Carrickmacross has always been a welcoming town.  That has not changed.  The genuine concerns of people regarding service provision or the fears that have emanated by the recent assault must be addressed by the government.  We do not need former British soldiers or other right-wing elements using these concerns to further their own racist agendas or to launch attacks on members of our community.

“I, and my fellow Sinn Féin colleagues Noel Keelan and Colm Carthy, are from Carrickmacross.  We know it is a great town and, as much as anyone, we want it to continue to be a great place to live, work and raise a family.  We will resist anything that could make it otherwise, whether that be government policy, objectionable profiteering or racist activists.”


Carthy commits Sinn Féin support for Carers

Carthy commits Sinn Féin support for Carers


Local Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, has said that his party is committed to tackling the difficulties faced by Carers in accessing social protection supports.  He was speaking following his meeting with Brigid Finnegan, Cavan Monaghan Supports Manager with Family Carers Ireland, where they discussed the need to ensure that the valuable work of carers is recognised by government.


Family Carers Ireland were meeting with elected representatives to highlight their proposals for inclusion in this week’s budget.  Among the priorities that they had earmarked on behalf of the 355,000 carers across the state were:


  1. Reform the means test for Carer’s Allowance
  2. Increase the hours a carer can work/study from 15 hours to 18.5 hours
  3. End the postcode lottery in home care and carer supports
  4. Replace the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grant withdrawn in 2013
  5. Extend the GP Visit Card to include carers in receipt of the Carer’s Support Grant.


During the course of the meeting Matt Carthy committed Sinn Féin to these measures and also to further supports for family carers in order to fully utilise the invaluable work that they provide for their loved-ones and our wider society.

Speaking this week he said:

“While this week’s budget contains some measures that will be welcomed by carers, they simply do not do far enough.


“The National Carers’ Strategy was published by Government back in 2012.  It committed to supporting and empowering Carers yet it is the Governments’ own policies which prevent this.

“It is not enough to simply complement Carers and the work that they do every day.  Instead, we need to tackle the very issues that they have consistently raised.

“The very fact that our social protection system does not support and assist Carers should ring alarm bells when its very purpose is to do just that.  Far too many Carers are receiving no State support for the care that they provide day in and day out.

“This is despite the fact that they save the State billions of euro every year. Those that do receive either Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Benefit are prevented from managing their own time as regards being able to supplement their payment with employment outside the home for any lengthy period.

“Many of them are further punished at retirement as they are unable to access an adequate State Pension after years of caring for another person.

“Sinn Féin, via our Social Protection spokesperson John Brady TD, have published a comprehensive policy document outlining how we can better appreciate the work of carers.


“We have proposed an end to any arbitrary rules regarding outside work patterns – carers should be trusted to make these judgements for themselves.  We have targeted specific and intensive supports through existing job activation schemes to assist Carers when their caring role ceases and absolute certainty that they will not be punished with a reduced State Pension because of their years spent in a caring role.

“We also want to see changes to the way in which means are assessed for Carers Allowance, an increase in the Carer’s Support Grant and access to secondary social welfare supports for Carers who are currently denied these additional supports.

“The measures introduced need to be about more than showing our appreciation for Carers; they need to be about listening to them, taking action and making their lives that little bit easier.


“I look forward to continue working with Family Carers Ireland so that we can continue to support them in their invaluable work.”




“Workers and families pay the price again for FG/ FF budget policies” – Matt Carthy MEP

“Workers and families pay the price again for FG/ FF budget policies” – Matt Carthy MEP

Budget 2020 was a wasted opportunity according to Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy.  “Instead of giving families and workers a break” he said “Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have targeted them for stealth tax hikes once again”


Speaking following the announcement of the Budget by Finance Minister Pascal Donohoe the Midlands North West representative accused the government of failing to give workers and families a break.

He echoed the sentiments of his own party’s finance spokesperson, Pearse Doherty, who described the budget as short on ideas, short on policies and short on solutions.

Matt Carthy said:

“This Budget could and should have given workers and families a break. It hasn’t.  Instead it has burdened them with an increase in carbon taxes, stealth charges than cannot be avoided by most people living outside of the cities.

“With the political will and the right ideas, this budget could put money back in people’s pockets and improved their access to public services.  Clearly, neither Fine Gael nor their Fianna Fáil backers have the will or the ideas.

“The budget should have begun to broaden our horizons, making sure that work pays and delivers security and the chance to plan for the future.  It could have marked the beginning for a fair tax system, making sure that those who benefit most from our economy – the banks, multinationals and international property investors who have been given a free ride for far too long – pay their fair share.


“The government have again failed to deliver on these modest expectations.  As Pearse Doherty rightly said, it is a budget that is short on ideas, short on policies and short on solutions.  It is a budget that lacks ambition, lacks direction, and lacks hope.

“Sinn Féin presented a fully-costed alternative budget that shows how we could have invested in public services, supported growth in our economy and giving families and workers a break.

“We outlined the options that the government could have taken to ensure real and deliverable solutions, putting citizens, not vested interests, at the centre of the economy and at the top of their priorities.

“The truth is that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil – partners in this budgetary process – could have tackled the rip-off costs faced by countless families – sky-high insurance premiums, extortionate rents and mortgage rates, eye-watering childcare costs and back to school costs.  They choose not to do so, to their shame.

“The Sinn Féin budget proposals would have raised incomes and made sure that work delivers a secure standard of living.  Unfortunately it appears that for so long as Fine Gael are in government ordinary families and workers will be forced to pay the price for their failed policies.”

For info the Sinn Féin alternative budget, authored by Pearse Doherty is available to download at www.sinnfein.ie


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