Cavan/Monaghan Sinn Féin delegation in European Parliament

Matt Carthy MEP recently hosted a delegation of Sinn Féin members from the Cavan/Monaghan constituency to Brussels.

The delegation visited the European Parliament where they received a briefing on the workings of EU institutions and the Sinn Féin team there.

Speaking afterwards Matt Carthy said:

‘I was delighted to host a delegation of Sinn Féin members from my home constituency of Cavan/Monaghan to the European Parliament where they received a briefing of our ongoing activities and a tour of the European Parliament buildings.  They also learnt of our party’s efforts at EU level to respond to the challenges presented by Brexit.

“I believe it is extremely important that the people of the Midlands-North West constituency are aware and involved of decisions that affect their communities that are taken in Brussels.

“The delegation met with all four Sinn Féin MEPs, representing the entire island of Ireland, and listened to the priorities of each constituency.

“Martina Anderson MEP, Liadh Ni Riada MEP, and Lynn Boylan MEP met with the delegation to give insight into their work in the European Parliament.

“The delegation also received a briefing from Sinn Féin’s political advisors in the European Parliament who explained some of the issues that they are currently working on that may have an impact on the Irish border region.

“This delegation was a great opportunity for Cavan/Monaghan Sinn Féin members to ask their questions regarding the EU and Sinn Fein’s work here. I was happy to see the interest of those attending the delegation and the in-depth discussions that followed.

“There was clearly a focus on Brexit related issues and I was pleased to be in a position to confirm that Sinn Féin is central to discussions on this matter in the European Parliament.  The challenges presented by Brexit are very real, especially for people in Cavan and Monaghan, and it is essential we, as elected representatives, remain engaged with representatives from the communities that have most to lose from a bad Brexit deal.

“Sinn Féin MEPs have been successful in ensuring that Irish concerns are central to Brexit negotiations thus far but there is much work to do.  I hope that our delegates will bring the lessons from their visit to Brussels back to their home counties to ensure that campaign work continues.

“Since my election to the European Parliament I have brought several delegations from Cavan and Monaghan to Brussels to learn about my work on their behalf.

“I have always seen it as my role to be a representative of Ireland in the EU, as opposed to other MEPs who consider themselves Europe’s representatives in Ireland.   That means that I am dependent on Sinn Féin members and other community representatives to remain engaged with me on the issues affecting them.  Our visits to the Brussels are part of that work”.


Carthy calls on Kerry Foods to avoid escalation of dispute at Carrickmacross

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has called on Kerry Group to avert an escalation of an industrial dispute at its Carrickmacross plant by implementing a fair voluntary redundancy scheme.

Carthy visited SIPTU members at the factory on Tuesday as they commenced a 24-hour work stoppage in a dispute resulting from an attempt to make 31 workers redundant without agreement. There are over 300 SIPTU members employed in the plant.

Matt Carthy said:

“SIPTU members at Kerry Foods in Carrickmacross began a 24-hour work stoppage this morning over efforts force redundancy on 31 workers.

“Two other stoppages are scheduled to take place on Tuesday 13th and Tuesday 20th March.

“I had previously called on the company to use all avenues to avoid any redundancies if at all possible.

“In written correspondence and in phone conversation with a senior official in the company I further requested of Kerry Group, in the event that the loss of 31 jobs is unavoidable, to put in place a voluntary redundancy scheme as opposed to forced redundancy.

“I also made Sinn Féin’s position clear that there must be a fair and adequate redundancy package for those workers who may wish to leave.

“Kerry Foods is held in high esteem in Carrickmacross and surrounding areas and with a little bit of goodwill I believe Kerry Group could limit the potential for distress and disruption among workers and the local community.

“Kerry Group made profits of €750million in 2016.  There is certainly the capacity to be imaginative and fair in their response to this issue.  SIPTU representatives have made it clear that they are available to meet with the company at any time to discuss a fair resolution to this dispute.

“As MEP for the area and a previous Carrickmacross based Councillor, I know of the importance of this plant to the local economy and I am well aware of the devastation that local redundancies at the factory will have. I am eager to be of any possible assistance and I have offered to do anything I can politically to avoid any lay-offs.

“I also again call on the Government, particularly Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys to assist in resolving this serious situation.

“We have seen time and again government representatives quickly jump into the photo whenever there is a perceived ‘good news’ story.  They cannot run away when there are challenges.

“The Minister should now directly engage with Kerry Group to offer support in to protecting jobs at the Carrickmacross plant and I would urge her to join me in calling on the company to constructively engage with the representatives of the workers.”

Matt Carthy MEP with Kerry Food workers on the picket line in Carrickmacross

Carthy calls on Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to withdraw support for dangerous EU trade deals in light of ECJ ruling

MEP Matt Carthy has welcomed what is described as a ‘hugely significant ruling’ by the Court of Justice of the European Union this morning, Tuesday 6th March.

The court has found that arbitration tribunals, established exclusively for investors, which do not form part of a national judicial system, are incompatible with EU law.

Carthy said that this will have serious implications for the regressive trade agenda being pursued by the European Commission and provided with enthusiastic support by both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael despite the fact that the inclusion of an Investment Court likely infringes the Irish Constitution and could be detrimental to Irish interests in the areas of farming, business, environmental regulation and workers rights.

The ruling could result in the unravelling of deals such as the Canada-EU Free Trade Agreement (CETA), which allows for a Court which would facilitate private investors to sue states for loss of business and earnings.

Tuesday’s ruling came in a case involving a private sickness insurance company which sued the State of Slovakia for financial damage worth €22m when Slovakia reversed liberalisation of its sickness insurance market and prohibited the distribution of profits generated by sickness insurance.

Speaking following the announcement of the ruling, Matt Carthy MEP said:

“This is a hugely significant development. The ruling that Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms are incompatible with EU law, sets a hopeful precedent for the similar system included in the Canada-EU Free Trade Agreement (CETA) and proposed for other deals such as TTIP and Mercosur.

“ISDS is not only an unfair tool, allowing multinational corporations to obstruct public-interest decision making, but has now conclusively been deemed incompatible with EU Treaties and the EU’s legal order.

“There are many parallels to be drawn with the new multilateral investment court being proposed by the European Commission.

“The arguments that these Tribunals, established exclusively for wealthy investors outside national and EU judicial systems, cannot ensure full effectiveness of EU law, equally applies to any Investment Court system.

“Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have refused to engage in the debate surrounding these dangerous trade deals for the last number of years.

“Fianna Fáil submitted a Private Members Bill in June 2017 essentially handing the Government a blank cheque to continue advocating for the regressive EU trade agenda that has accelerated the establishment of this new international court and is clearly in conflict with Irish interests in the areas of farming, business, environmental regulation and workers rights.

“Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have lined up with corporate vested interests globally and against the interests of Irish citizens, environmental concerns, farmers and SMEs.

“I stand by my view that the creation of a Multilateral Permanent Investment Court, removed from any national accountability, for the benefit of international investors and multinational corporations, infringes the Irish Constitution and will be to the detriment of citizens, the judicial system and Irish sovereignty.

“Successive Ministers have refused to meet me on this issue and refused calls for a Referendum in their mistaken belief that such a court would not overturn legislation passed by the Oireachtas. The judgement this morning revokes just that argument.

“It is high time Fine Gael stopped acting as cheerleaders for the Commission on this issue and instead acted as defenders of Irish interests.

“It is time to withdraw Irish Government support for CETA and to demand a halt to all trade negotiations, including those with Mercosur countries, which are pivoted on these dangerous investment courts.

“I will be writing to the Minister Heather Humphreys to again request a meeting on the constitutional ramifications of this judgement.”

Carthy attends meeting with EU Brexit Chief Michel Barnier

MEP Matt Carthy was part of a party delegation on Monday, 5th March

which held talks with the EU’ Chief Negotiator on Brexit Michel Barnier.

The Sinn Féin delegation, led by Party President Mary Lou McDonald TD included Vice President Michelle O’Neill MLA & Martina Anderson MEP and discussed with Mr. Barnier the need to safeguard the Good Friday Agreement, the Irish economy and the rights of citizens in the North.

Speaking following the meeting Matt Carthy said:

“The meeting with Michel Barnier was an important opportunity to set out Sinn Féin’s concerns regarding Brexit and our response to the EU’s legal text and the subsequent speech by Teresa May last week to the head of the EU’s negotiations team on Brexit.

“It was particularly useful for me, as someone from the border county of Monaghan to again set out the potential devastating economic, political and social impact Brexit could have on our communities.

This was a very productive meeting.

“We raised our frustration at the British Government’s failure to offer any realistic solutions to the problems Brexit poses for Ireland.

“Mr Barnier has a very clear understanding of the challenges that Brexit presents for Ireland, certainly he has a better understanding than his British counterparts.

“Sinn Féin will continue to press the need for special status for the North, essentially to ensure that all of Ireland remains in the customs union and the single market, and we will aim to secure as much access to both the EU and the British market for the whole island.

“To this end we will work at home and abroad to achieve these outcomes.

“We cannot countenance any hardening of the border in Ireland.

“At this point we are of like minds with Michel Barnier and his negotiating team on this issue which is welcome.

“There is still much work to be done and we intend to remain vigilant to protect our country from a devastating Tory Brexit agenda.”

Banks can no longer hide behind ECB on vulture funds

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has commented on media reports regarding regulators’ views on the sale of distressed mortgages to vulture funds.

Carthy, a member of the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, was speaking from Brussels in response to an article on the topic published at the weekend in the Sunday Business Post.

Mr Carthy said:

“The comments from senior regulators reported in the media confirm what Sinn Féin has long been saying – that banks have other options to reduce their non-performing loans other than selling distressed mortgages to vulture funds.

“PTSB, Ulster Bank and other Irish banks can no longer hide behind the claim that the ECB’s guidelines for reducing NPLs, or any other ECB mechanism or directive, require them to sell off portfolios when regulators reject this outright.

“Senior regulators have confirmed that banks have not received instructions from the ECB to sell off distressed loans, and that they have several other options available to bring down bad debt including restructuring and writedowns.

“I wrote to the chair of the Supervisory Board of the ECB, Danièle Nouy, in November last year requesting clarification on whether split mortgages are classified as non-performing loans under the guidelines. She responded that the ECB was conducting a full legal and technical review on the topic. This month I have again written to the ECB requesting clarification on the claim by Irish banks that the ECB is forcing them to sell off their loans to vulture funds.

“The very significant comments made by senior regulators to the Sunday Business Post yesterday clearly aim to publicly dispel the myth that the banks must sell to the vulture funds, and confirm that debt restructuring and writedowns are definite alternative options. The comments also clarify that it should be possible for split mortgages to be classified as performing loans in certain circumstances.

“While these backgrounder comments from regulators are welcome in that they add clarity to this issue, both the Central Bank and ECB have a responsibility to publicly reject the banks’ claims that they have no other options to reduce their debt, on the record.”