Matt Carthy MEP seeks explanations on Castleblayney Mart Closure

Matt Carthy MEP seeks explanations on Castleblayney Mart Closure

Matt Carthy MEP meeting Monaghan IFA
Matt Carthy MEP meeting with regional representatives of the IFA

Local MEP Matt Carthy is seeking answers from the Minister for Justice regarding details of events leading to the closure of Castleblayney Mart.  Carthy who met with regional representatives of the IFA recently said he was concerned by reports that Castleblayney Mart was operating without a PSRA licence since March 2017 but this was unknown to patrons until after its closure of  in April this year.  It now appears that dozens of farmers have been directly affected in a time of already heightened uncertainty with issues like Brexit, Fodder shortages and unpredictable weather making life  difficult for those making a living through agriculture.

It is believed that some farmers are owed as much as €200,000, whilst over €300,000 is allegedly owed to to people who have paid deposits, including on agricultural land.

Speaking on Friday, MEP Carthy confirmed that he was written to the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, seeking answers.  He has also called on Agriculture Minister, Michael Creed, to intervene on behalf of those farmers owed monies.


Matt Carthy stated:


“Castleblayney Mart has been a staple of the farming community here in Co. Monaghan and further afield for many years, established in 1963, the mart has held thousands of livestock auctions over the years.  Alongside the popular livestock mart a real estate sales, letting and valuation business was also in operation with plant and machinery auctions held.


“Unfortunately Castleblayney Mart began to experience difficulties, and their PSRA licence was removed in March 2017. Unknown to their customers the mart continued to operate without a licence until eventually going into liquidation.  The closure has had severe consequences for the customers who continued to trade in Castleblayney Mart unsuspectingly putting their faith in the PSRA whose main function is to control and regulate Property Services Providers including Auctioneers/Estate Agents, Letting Agents and management Agents.


“I have worryingly been informed by the IFA locally that farmers who sold livestock in Castleblayney Mart are owed as much as €200,000, with amounts owed varying from around €300 to as high as €8,500.  The IFA have also indicated that in excess of €300,000 is owed to people who placed deposits on property with the auctioneering company.


“The Minister must explain how and why the Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) licence was removed from Castleblayney Mart and, more importantly, why patrons were not informed of this fact.


“This is clearly a worrying time for all involved; it goes without saying that Castleblayney Mart’s customers feel extremely let down by the PSRA and feel that more could and should have been done swiftly in order to protect them.


“It is therefore vital that the answers are provided and that the government intervenes to find mechanisms by which the farmers affected can receive a return of their monies.  There is an obvious need also for the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, to personally intervene on behalf of the farmers affected.  I will be continuing to monitor this issue and to work on behalf of those who have unwittingly found themselves embroiled in this debacle”.


Matt Carthy welcomes reported collapse of EU-Mercosur trade deal

Matt Carthy welcomes reported collapse of EU-Mercosur trade deal


The Sinn Fein MEP for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy, has welcomed reports that the EU Mercosur trade deal has collapsed.  Carthy called on the Irish government to immediately examine its position on other trade deals which will damage Irish agriculture and the wider economy.


Matt Carthy MEP said:


“It seems that an EU trade deal with Mercosur countries is off the table at least for now; this will come as a great relief especially to Irish farmers who were on the cusp of being sold out by European negotiators at the behest of sectors such as the German car manufacturing industry.


“It comes as no surprise that transparency and food standards have being among the issues cited as leading to collapse in negotiations. It is mind boggling to think that the European Commission was prepared to offer Mercosur countries a 99,000T quota on beef in the weeks after several Brazilian factories were delisted due to sanitary concerns.


“However, nobody will be under no illusion that this latest development marks a change of tact on the part of EU trade Commissioner Malmstrom or her negotiators.  They have never had the interests of farmers or rural communities at heart.  The lucrativeness of the South American markets for the German automotive industry left agricultural access for south American produce a mere bargaining chip in these negotiations.


“Likewise it has been clear that Commissioner Phil Hogan and the Irish government continuously fail to protect Irish agriculture interests across a plethora of trade deal talks.


“While the news of the Mercosur talks collapsing will be welcomed in many quarters it is definitely a case of a battle won in an incomplete war.  The collapse, if confirmed, will simply prove the success of mobilised opposition to a dangerous trade deal.  Farming organisations, trade unions, small business organisations and citizens across the board must learn the lessons and campaign against other trade deals that serve only the interests of massive corporate multinationals.


“This week, for example, we have seen much fanfare on a EU Japan trade deal, the contents of which have been open to almost zero public debate.  That is not good enough.  The Irish government should carry out a comprehensive analysis of what the aggressive EU trade agenda will mean for our economy and specifically vulnerable sectors such as Irish agriculture”.


Carthy Appointed EP Negotiator on Brexit Trade File

Carthy Appointed EP Negotiator on Brexit Trade File


Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy, has been appointed as lead Rapporteur for a key Brexit file in the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee.


Following Brexit, the EU and Britain will have to agree on the division of concessions they have approved with third countries. In practical terms this will mean dividing up the amount of agri-produce third countries currently import to the EU. The divisions should reflect the usage share of Britain for each product.


Speaking following his appointment, Matt Carthy said:


“The EU currently has an agreement to accept almost 230,000 tonnes of sheep meat from New Zealand at a fixed tariff.  Although the agreement to accept this meat is between the EU and New Zealand, the vast majority of this fixed annual tonnage currently goes to British markets.


“Now that Britain has decided to leave the European Union, this, and hundreds of other Tariff Rate Quotas will have to be divided between them and remaining EU Member States.


“Getting the mix right here is crucial. If this, and other, Tarrif Rate Quotas (TRQs) are not divided up based on the actual amount being taken by Britain versus other EU Member States, then there will be a huge displacement of domestic products.  In a worst-case scenario, domestic markets would be flooded with products that normally would have gone to Britain.


“As the lead Rapporteur for AGRI on this file, I will be working with MEPs from the International Trade and Fisheries Committees to ensure that this worst case scenario is avoided.


“It is no secret that the British Government is seeking to entice future trading partners to ensure they don’t lose access to key markets from the moment they exit the EU. The re-apportioning of TRQs should not be exploited by the British for this purpose.


“It is vital that negotiating parties continue to respect the current Brexit negotiating order of priorities. This means first dealing with citizens’ rights and finding a solution to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.


“Given the fast looming date for withdrawal and the fact that we are now just one year from the European elections, we are dealing with a much more contracted period to negotiate these TRQs than we would have thought.  However, I am committed to ensuring the best possible outcome for Irish farmers across the island of Ireland”.


It’s time to rein in the Big Four – Matt Carthy MEP

It’s time to rein in the Big Four – Matt Carthy MEP
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has commented on a new report published by the Corporate Europe Observatory today, Tuesday. Carthy is a member of the European Parliament’s special committee on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance (TAX3).
Writing in an op-ed in the EU Observer today, Carthy said: “The unchecked power of the Big Four accountancy firms is causing increasing unease among policymakers worldwide. The focus of much of this concern has been the role played by Deloitte, PwC, EY and KPMG in the global tax avoidance industry. But at the same time as they advise their corporate clients on how to shift profits offshore, the Big Four are involved in auditing the books of these same corporations – and all the while they are consulting for governments and public institutions on important policy issues.
“These four firms are crucial regulators of the global economic system – with the unique role of both regulating multinationals through their auditing role and simultaneously advising these same companies on how to abuse the legal system in order to avoid paying taxes – yet they are subject to minimal public scrutiny and regulation.
“A new report released today by the Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) examines the Big Four’s channels of influence exerted through public procurement contracts, lobby vehicles, advisory groups, and their shared culture and personnel.
 This new research goes beyond examining the services these four firms provide to their corporate clients to looking at their role in influencing public policy in the European Union – and the findings are alarming. The report reveals layers upon layers of conflicts of interest inherent in the Big Four’s activities.
“Most alarming from my perspective is the massive amount of public money provided to the Big Four through public procurement contracts awarded by the European Commission, not to mention national governments. In 2016 alone, these firms received €105 million in Commission contracts to carry out evaluations, impact assessments and consultancy services on EU legislation.
“Why do we allow these firms to dictate public policy when they clearly have a commercial interest in ensuring tax legislation lets multinational corporations off the hook, and ensuring governments privatise state-owned enterprises to the benefit of their clients? Why do we give them public money when we know they are facilitating tax avoidance by their corporate clients, which reduces the amount of funds made available to governments?
“It’s time to rein in the unchecked power of the Big Four and ensure they are regulated and scrutinised. This means, at the very least, splitting up their auditing and advisory services, and reviewing the public procurement practices of the Commission and national governments as well as the lobbying activities of these firms. I fully agree with CEO’s recommendation that we must ensure there is a firewall in place between the tax avoidance industry and EU policymakers on tax issues, following the example of the steps taken to rid public policy of the influence of the tobacco lobby.” ENDS
Note to editors:
Matt Carthy’s op-ed for the EU Observer is available here:
The Corporate Europe Observatory report is available here:

Carthy negotiates strong AGRI response to EU trade deals

Carthy negotiates strong AGRI response to EU trade deals


Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy, has welcomed the stronger than previously approach to Mercosur negotiations by the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) Committee.


Speaking following a crucial vote in the committee recently, Carthy said:


“As one of the negotiators of the final text, I am pleased to see a growing number of MEPs now acknowledging the dangers that Sinn Féin have been conveying in relation to EU free trade deals.


“The report, titled “Harnessing Globalisation: Trade Aspects” will now be transmitted to the European Commission for consideration.


“The text that was adopted by AGRI MEPs contains some of the strongest wording we have seen so far from this Committee.  This should serve as a warning sign to the European Commission that there is diminishing popular support for the Mercosur trade deal and others that will cause huge difficulties for Irish and EU agriculture.


“Any EU-Mercosur trade deal will eventually have to be approved by the European Parliament, so it is important that Commission negotiators pay attention to the concerns of MEPs representing the Agricultural sector now, or concede to the whole deal falling through later down the line.


“The text that I helped to negotiate recognises that European farmers should not be exposed to competition with products that do not have to comply with the same food safety, consumer protection, animal welfare and environmental standards.


“There are many sectors that are already sensitive in the sense that they have been crisis-hit or are exposed to extreme price volatility. These products should be excluded from the scope of negotiations.


“Specifically with regard to Mercosur, the Report adopted in the AGRI Committee this week warns that there will be a direct downward pressure on prices should this deal go ahead. The cumulative impact of this and other deals are setting the sector up for disaster, and it is time the Commission stopped pressing full-steam ahead on a potentially ruinous deal.


“The message we are now sending could not be stronger. Remove sensitive sectors from the negotiations or scrap the deal altogether.


“The time for these back room and secretive trade-offs between sectors must stop.


“While it is welcome that we have succeeded in convincing AGRI MEPs of the need to take a stronger position on EU trade deals it is deeply worrying that the Irish government remains among the commission’s chief cheerleaders on this aggressive and dangerous EU trade agenda.  It is time for Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to support Irish farmers and the Irish economy by calling a halt to these trade negotiations, especially in advance of Brexit, considering the uncertainty that remains regarding the future relationship between the EU and our largest trading partner”.


Matt Carthy MEP: Ombudsman confirms finding of ECB maladministration

Matt Carthy MEP: Ombudsman confirms finding of ECB maladministration


Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has condemned the European Central Bank’s failure to comply with the recommendations made by EU Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly’s regarding ECB President Mario Draghi’s membership of the Group of 30 (G30) bankers’ organisation. Carthy was speaking as the Ombudsman released her final report on the matter today,Thursday, confirming the finding of maladministration.


In April, the ECB issued a response to the Ombudsman’s findings (published in January after a year-long investigation), which defended Mr Draghi’s membership of the G30 and dismissed the Ombudsman’s arguments that this amounted to a conflict of interest that caused public distrust in the ECB. Today’s announcement by the Ombudsman is her response to the ECB’s statement, and is the Ombudsman’s final word on the matter. Mr Draghi continues to be a full member of the G30, and other ECB members, including a member of its supervisory board, are associated with the G30.


Carthy, a member of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, said: “I am appalled at the manner in which the ECB has dismissed the carefully reasoned findings of the Ombudsman, who found that the conflict of interest inherent in Mr Draghi’s membership of this elite bankers’ lobbying group was so serious that it amounted to maladministration by the ECB. Today’s announcement by the Ombudsman strongly reprimands the ECB for its refusal to address a glaring conflict of interest. She rejects the ECB’s arguments as unconvincing, reiterates her findings and confirms her recommendations.


“The ECB is now charged with directly supervising many of the financial institutions that are represented in the G30, including Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan and many more. There is no system in place to ensure an ethically appropriate level of distance between the ECB decision-making and supervisory processes and their friends in the G30 bankers’ club. There is no way to ensure that the private bankers and finance CEOs of the G30 do not influence ECB policy.


“Mr Draghi’s membership of the G30 is beyond inappropriate. It adds yet another layer to the opaque decision-making process in the ECB, and it is clearly at odds with its supposed independence.


“The ECB appears to believe it is beyond the basic norms of public scrutiny, accountability and transparency. In fact, it is beyond any form of substantial scrutiny or control from the European Parliament or any other democratic institution, and it faces no consequences for its point-blank refusal to adopt the Ombudsman’s recommendations.


“The European Parliament needs to act to exert the utmost pressure on Mr Draghi and the ECB over its offensive rejection of the Ombudsman’s legitimate concerns, and to ensure that this major conflict of interest is brought to an end.” ENDS



‘One-size-fits-all EU approach proves difficult to achieve for Haulage sector’ – Matt Carthy MEP

‘One-size-fits-all EU approach proves difficult to achieve for Haulage sector’ – Matt Carthy MEP


Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, has confirmed said that he and his party’s other MEPs today (Wednesday) supported amendments to the ‘Mobility Package’ that would protect companies and workers engaged in the Irish Haulage sector.


Carthy, who is a substitute member of the European Parliament Transport and Tourism Committee, was speaking in Strasbourg where files as part of the Mobility Package failed to be adopted at plenary level.  Carthy said that this result confirmed that the approach of the EU towards achieving legislation does not always take into account the differing circumstances of each Member State.


Speaking following the vote, MEP Carthy said:


“The Mobility Package reports voted today failed to reach agreement. This is an example of how a one-size-fits-all approach towards EU legislation does not always work.  Those who promote EU harmonisation often do not account of the many difficulties this can cause in individual Member States.  Specifically on this issue, the commission proposals have failed to recognise the particular challenges facing Irish hauliers who are geographically isolated and who also face the prospect of being disproportionately impacted by Brexit.


“The European Parliament today was divided on these important reports on several bases. Voting preference differed substantially between the East and West, the North and South, and between core and peripheries.


“Protecting worker’s rights in the transport sector is a key priority for Sinn Fein.  That said some of the proposals voted today would have had a disruptive effect on Irish hauliers and actually put the jobs of many haulage drivers at risk.


“While there may be a problem of social dumping in some centrally located Member States, this can be fixed by targeted national legislation rather than applying a one-size-fits-all model which could actually reduce protections and working conditions for countries on the periphery.


“To fill in the gaps in EU legislation on this, some central EU Member States have already adopted national laws on minimum wage in the road sector.


“On 1 January 2015, Germany introduced a minimum wage act, which applies to all transport companies providing transport services in Germany, including those not based in Germany. France adopted a similar law in 2015 to apply to international transport and cabotage operations.


“The positions within these reports will now need to be assessed and re-negotiated.


“The responsibility is now on the Irish government to ensure that the European Council adopts a realistic and pragmatic position towards these important issues that reflects the needs of Irish hauliers in these challenging times”.



“Collection of Farm Statistics only worthwhile if acted upon” – Matt Carthy MEP

“Collection of Farm Statistics only worthwhile if acted upon” – Matt Carthy MEP


Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, has said that the collection of Farm Statistics must be used to identify and respond effectively to problems exposed in the Common Agriculture Policy.  Carthy, who is a member of the European Parliament Agriculture & Rural Development Committee, was speaking in Strasbourg where a file on “Integrated farm Statistics”, on which Carthy was Shadow Rapporteur, is expected to be adopted this week.


He commented:


“I have worked on this regulation extensively over the past year as Shadow Rapporteur.


“The available statistics have starkly demonstrated the inadequacy of the current system, but we need more data, to grasp fully the challenges facing Irish and European agriculture and to properly inform the shaping of future CAP policy.


“The way in which the EU has gathered farm data in the past has been incoherent and hard to compare between states.  This is one area where I think a benefit can be gained from establishing a comprehensive framework to improve date transmission, consistency and allow much more targeted collection.


“The regulation will ensure a common methodology that places no extra burden on farmers. The impact of effective date collection is a more accurate picture of the effect of agricultural policies, changes to land use in rural areas, climate impacts and social changes.


“It can be utilized to identify where failings exist and examine how more equality can be injected into the unbalanced system of payments.


“I am especially pleased that the Sinn Féin priorities on this file have been included in the final outcome and will form part of the new survey, specifically related to farm ownership models, information of farm transfers and the age profile of our farming community.


“We can now hope that having this information will assist us in identifying where failings exist.


“Of course, statistics are only as useful as the purpose they are put to.


“For example, we’ve known for years that we have a serious problem in attracting young people into farming.


“We’ve known for years that there is a massive disparity in the CAP payment levels that go to the richest farm interests in comparison to the majority of farmers.


“We’ve known for years that peripheral farmers face greater obstacles than most.


“Yet, this information has not been sufficiently acted upon, the problems have gotten worse.


“So, if we are to have an improved information gathering system in place, it must be matched with improved reactions to the problems those statistics expose”.


‘Dangerous’ EU Investment Court must be put on hold – Matt Carthy MEP

‘Dangerous’ EU Investment Court must be put on hold – Matt Carthy MEP


Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has called on the European Commission to halt all negotiations on the Multilateral Investment Court pending the outcome of a European Court hearing which began this week.  Speaking following the first day of a hearing into the Court’s compatibility with EU law, Carthy said:


“The European Commission must respect due process on this matter.


“It is common knowledge that the European Commission is already paving out the way for the establishment of a Multilateral Investment Court at international level.


“Parliamentary Questions I have submitted on this matter over the past number of months and years have shown an increasing intensity in the work to get this Court up and running.


“The European Court of Justice has already ruled that an Investor State Dispute Mechanism (ISDS) included in a bilateral treaty between two European Member States is incompatible with the Treaties.  And now there is a likelihood that the Court will rule that the Permanent Investment Court System (ICS) included in the EU-Canada Comprehensive Free trade Agreement (CETA) is also incompatible with the EU law.


“The hearing, which began in the ECJ in Luxembourg this week, is the result of a legal challenge by Wallonia (French speaking region in Belgium) to this new Court system.


“The proposed Multilateral Investment Court and the Investment Court system in CETA, as the Tribunal in the Achmea case, are set up exclusively for wealthy investors removed from national and EU judicial systems.  It is an extremely dangerous concept that cannot ensure the full effectiveness of EU law and will have an impact on legislation enacted in Ireland.


“There is also a real danger that the creation of these Investment Courts, removed from national accountability, will infringe on the Irish Constitution to the detriment of decision-making in the public interest.


“I am again urging the European Commission to halt all negotiations to progress this Court pending the outcome of this Court case.  The Irish government must now resolve to prevent such courts being established considering the potential damage that decisions from such a court could have on vulnerable sectors such as Irish agriculture and the undermining of Irish democratic & judicial structures that would undoubtedly follow.”


The Court will deliver its Decision in October 2018.



“We have a responsibility to ensure that our people are protected, our Border communities are protected, and our all-Ireland economy is protected.” – Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy said that, since partition, Donegal and other Border areas had always suffered from socio-economic deprivation.

“There is no such thing as a soft border. The only question is, how hard?” he asked.

“In terms of the true implications for what a bad case Brexit would mean, we haven’t seen anything yet,” he said.

“We’re now in a crunch situation, the next six months could potentially define the future of Ireland for a number of decades, so we have a responsibility to ensure that our people are protected, our Border communities are protected, and our all-Ireland economy is protected.”

The entire Irish Times article can be read at the link below