“Homelessness is as a result of political choices” – Carthy addresses EU Housing conference

“Homelessness is as a result of political choices”

Carthy addresses EU Housing conference

 

The Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands, North-West, Matt Carthy, has said that the levels of homelessness experienced throughout Ireland and in many EU states are a direct result of the political choices taking by governments and EU institutions.

 

Carthy was invited to deliver the opening address at a conference hosted by FEANTSA, the European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless, in Brussels last week.  The conference saw the launch by the Housing Solutions Platform of a compendium document detailing some of the most innovative and daring examples of housing solutions for the locked out in Europe.

The selected projects in the paper entitled “50m Out-of-the-box Solutions for the Locked-Out” focus on providing safe, decent, and affordable housing through many different means including innovative construction, novel legal mechanisms, new forms of inter-agency collaboration, and more.  The innovative housing solutions selected in the paper also provide ways to overcome financial and political barriers within the European housing market.

 

During his opening remarks at the conference held in European Parliament organised Matt Carthy said:

 

“In the past decade homelessness has increased throughout the EU by 70%.

 

“In Ireland, the number of those homeless has trebled in the past five years alone.  Many families, who during any other generation would be purchasing their own home, instead find that they cannot even find affordable rental accomodation.

 

“All of this is as a result of political choices.

 

“The scandalous rise in homelessness is not accidental.  Governments were told by parties like Sinn Féin that the implementation of austerity policies, their privatization agenda and the de-financing of public bodies would lead us to where we are today.

 

“In particular, the retreat from public housing provision by governments such as those lead by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael and the drive to allow ‘the market’ to played the key role in house building are the route causes of the crisis we see in Ireland and elsewhere”.

 

Carthy asserted that it is only through the delivery of public housing provision that the current crisis will be addressed.

He said:

 

“The good news is the solutions are there, and they are simple.  They have been adopted before, indeed my own family was a beneficiary.  They revolve around local-authority led house building programmes and supports for first-time buyers in the private market.

 

“Just as the problems were caused by political choices so too will the solutions be found.  In Ireland, only Sinn Féin articulates these solutions and only Sinn Féin will have the political guts to implement them.

 

“So, those who want to resolve the current crisis and ensure that their own children can ever live in their own home need to get behind the policies that will deliver” he concluded.

ENDS

 

“Big Supermarket chains are fleecing Irish farmers” – Matt Carthy MEP

“Big Supermarket chains are fleecing Irish farmers” – Matt Carthy MEP

Big supermarkets are fleecing profits from Irish beef while farmers have to protest to receive even a few every extra cent for their produce, MEP Matt Carthy has said.

The Midlands North West EU Parliament representative made his comments after it was revealed that supermarkets are taking up to 50% of all profits made on fresh meat.

The revelation which was highlighted in Leinster House last week by Sinn Féin’s Brian Stanley, and which came after several days of protests by the IFA outside a number of high-profile retailers, will come as little surprise to farmers, Carthy said adding that “it is not only factories taking advantage of beef farmers but also large supermarket chains”.

The Sinn Féin MEP said: “This leaked information, that reveals supermarkets are pocketing between 33% and 45% of the retail price of meat, is further damning evidence that beef farmers are being fleeced.

“Three large supermarket chains make up 75% of the retail market in Ireland and they dominate the industry by taking advantage of a lack of price transparency in the supply chain.

“Thanks to these documents, farmers now know exactly how much of the retail price supermarkets are taking for themselves and it is almost half in some cases; while many farmers are losing 60 to 70 cents on every kilo produced”.

Carthy said there was “no fairness” in a system wherein farmers rear animals for two years “while the supermarkets have it for two to three days yet bank the bulk of proft”.

“Full transparency throughout the supply chain is the only way in which farmers and consumers could see exactly what the supermarkets are paying factories and what factories are paying farmers” he said “which is why Sinn Féin have prioritised our proposal for a Beef Transparency bill in the Dáil”.

He added: “We also need retailers to be active members of the Beef Taskforce – these leaked documents show the dominance they have on the industry and they must be present at talks to resolve the crisis that faces the Irish beef sector”.

ENDS

ECB review must learn from lessons of Austerity failure – Matt Carthy MEP

ECB review must learn from lessons of Austerity failure – Matt Carthy MEP

 

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has commented on the announcement by new European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde that she is to organise the first strategic review of ECB policy since 2003 in the new year.

 

Carthy, a member of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, was speaking during a parliamentary debate on the appointment of two new members of the ECB’s executive council.

 

Lagarde has indicated she intends to continue her predecessor Mario Draghi’s dovish position on monetary policy. She has directly called on the governments who have the fiscal space – meaning Germany, the Netherlands and other northern states – to use it, including by investing in infrastructure projects.

 

Addressing MEPs in the Strasbourg plenary on Monday evening, Carthy said: “We know that the ECB, going into next year’s strategic review, is a house divided.

 

“I welcome the new president’s call for fiscal stimulus to be used to complement monetary policy. But the irony is not lost on any of us who’ve been on the receiving end of its threats and blackmail that the ECB has been the chief enforcer of austerity over the past decade.

 

“Now that the manufacturing base in the northern states, and particularly in Germany, is threatened, the tune is changing.

 

“The Commission is considering ‘reviewing’ the Stability and Growth Pact. The simple fact is these crude and destructive rules should be binned, full stop.

 

“The ECB review needs to be more than a bun-fight between hawks and doves.

 

“We need a serious analysis of the consequences of ECB policy and its impact on people across the Eurozone, including the dangerous housing bubbles pricing a generation out of the market.

 

“Above all, the ECB needs to face the fact that its policies have helped massively inflate the wealth of a tiny minority, while doing nothing for the poorest.

 

“All options must be on the table going forward, including direct payments to households and direct green investment.” ENDS

Carthy to host Western Rail Corridor public meeting in Athenry this Thursday

Carthy to host Western Rail Corridor public meeting in Athenry this Thursday

The potential European funding available for the Western Rail Corridor will be explored at an important public meeting in Athenry on Thursday evening, hosted by Sinn Féin MEP for Midlands North West Matt Carthy.

The meeting, entitled: ‘The Western Rail Corridor – Can EU Funding get Athenry on track?’ will feature contributions from the European Parliament member, along with Louis O’Hara, Cllr. Gerry Murray and members of community group FLAG (Forward Looking Athenry Group) who believe the Western Rail Corridor can bring much needed investment and tourism opportunities to the Athenry area.

Mr Carthy will give an update on the current situation with the Western Rail Corridor and will outline potential EU funding streams for the project.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Mr Carthy said: ‘I would encourage everyone in the Athenry area to come along and support the campaign for the Western Rail Corridor, which was included on the EU’s 10 T map, a core travel network identified as priorities by the EU institutions for connectivity between and within EU member states.

‘We managed to secure overwhelming support from MEPs right across Europe in a vote for the Western Rail Corridor to be included in the core network list. Being included on this list means that governments and regional authorities are able to draw down funding and support from the EU.

‘But during negotiations with the EU Council, which the Irish government was party to, the Western Rail Corridor was removed from the core network list. There has been no explanation for this, but it’s only in the last few weeks that Transport Minister Shane Ross has written to the EU Commission asking for the Western Rail Corridor to be put back on the core network projects list – just months away from a general election here.

‘There has been utter failure from successive governments to commit to the Western Rail Corridor, but the door is now open to EU funding, which will be crucial in getting this much-needed train network up and running’.

The ‘Western Rail Corridor – Can EU Funding get Athenry on track?’ meeting takes place on Thursday December 12 at 8pm in Athenry Town Hall.

Measures urgently required to deliver meaningful Beef price increase – Matt Carthy MEP

Measures urgently required to deliver meaningful Beef price increase – Matt Carthy MEP

 

The Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy, has reiterated his party’s call for urgent measures to be put in place that will secure a meaningful price increase for Beef Farmers.

 

The Monaghan based representative was speaking this week as IFA protests continued at retailer & distribution centres and following the publication of figures from the Beef Price Index reveal that Irish prices are 50c/kg behind the price in Britain.  Carthy also described the price increased announced by ABP last Friday as ‘minimal and wholly insufficient’.

 

Matt Carthy said: “I welcome the fact that the Beef Taskforce is up and running. The lifting of injunctions related to the summer beef protests is also to be welcomed but were too late in coming to secure any good will among the farming community.

 

“The images of further farm protests this week show that the fundamentals of the beef sector remain imbalanced and unfair, farmers continue to operate at a loss and this is entirely unsustainable.  Farmers, and the communities that depend on them, need a substantial and realistic increase in the base price they receive.  The small increase announced by ABP is minimal and wholly insufficient.

 

“The Beef Price Index has indicated that prices secured by Irish farmers are 20c/kg behind the EU average (€80 per animal) and 50c/kg behind British prices (€180 per animal).  This is happening in a scenario where Irish beef is among the best in the world.

 

“The differences in the prices secured by Irish family farmers with their counterparts across Europe is the difference between our farmers surviving or being forced out of business.

 

“The price discrepancies point to margin manipulation by both factories and retailers.  Big money is being made from Irish beef but it is not going to the primary producers.  Instead, retailers and factories are making a killing and it is little wonder that farmers have felt that they have no choice but to take to the picket lines.

 

“If the Beef Task Force is to deliver then it needs to quickly ensure the removal of arbitrary rules such as the 30-month upper age limit and the four-movement restriction which simply serve to distort the position of the farmer in the market chain.

 

“Fundamentally, transparency throughout the supply chain is required so that the public can see directly who is making a profit from beef and who is being ripped off.  That is what Sinn Féin’s Beef Price Transparency Bill seeks to deliver by providing such transparency to not only farmers but for consumers too.  I am calling on both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to support our legislation to order to give farmers a level playing field.

 

“In the meantime Sinn Féin will continue to support those farmers who participate in protests aimed at highlighting the inequalities they face and we will join them in demanding a fair price structure for our family farmers”.

ENDS

Carthy invites public to bring stories of Insurance Rip-offs to public meeting with Pearse Doherty this evening

Carthy invites public to bring stories of Insurance Rip-offs to public meeting with Pearse Doherty this evening

 

Local Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, has urged a large attendance at the public meeting on Insurance reform which will be addressed by his party’s Finance Spokesperson, Pearse Doherty, tonight, Thursday 28th November, at 8pm in the Four Seasons Hotel, Monaghan.

This is the latest in a series of campaign events that Deputy Doherty has held across the state in his bid to reform the insurance industry and end the rip-off of individuals, businesses and families.

Pearse Doherty has been to the forefront of highlighting the practises of the insurance industry which rip off many families and have actually resulted in the closure of several businesses.  Several of his contributions in the Oireachas Finance committee have ‘gone viral’ as it had insurance executives on the ropes with probing questions.  Most recently a clip of Deputy Doherty exposing misleading statements from the insurance industry in the Oireachtas Finance committee has been watched by tens of thousands of Facebook and Youtube viewers.

Tonight’s meeting in the Four Seasons will be addressed by Pearse Doherty who will outline his full proposals to tackle the extortionate costs of insurance throughout the state for businesses and ordinary consumers.  The meeting will also be attended by local Sinn Féin representatives Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD and Matt Carthy MEP.  Crucially the meeting will provide an opportunity for people in Monaghan to tell their own stories of interactions with the insurance industry and to give their own perspective as to how it can be addressed.

Speaking this week Matt Carthy called for a large attendance:

“Insurance costs have become extortionate, ripping off consumers and closing down businesses.  Since 2016 Fine Gael have sat back in the face of rising insurance costs while Fianna Fáil have let them off the hook.

“The insurance industry tells us that fraudulent claims and the cost of personal injury awards are causing premiums to rise.  But through the work of Pearse Doherty we know that their figures don’t add up.  Despite the total number of motor insurance claims reducing by 22% between 2014 and 2017, the average motor insurance premium has increased by 53% between 2013 and 2017.

“Premiums are rising.  The only other thing that is rising are insurance company profits.  Pearse Doherty is leading a campaign to take on the industry and end the rip-off.  The policies and legislation that he has produced on behalf of Sinn Féin would stamp out fraud, protect consumers, ban price discrimination and reduce premiums for everyone.

“The issue of insurance is such a huge one and affects the lives of ordinary people and businesses alike throughout counties like Monaghan, so therefore it’s important that we see a large turn out at this event as part of Sinn Féin’s ongoing campaign to end the Insurance Rip-Off.  I urge anyone with a story to tell or a proposal to make to come along to be part of this important conversation.”

ENDS

Matt Carthy MEP: Incoming Commission a case of ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss’

Matt Carthy MEP: Incoming Commission a case of ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss’

 

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has confirmed that Sinn Féin MEPs voted against the appointment of Ursula von der Loyen’s College of Commissioners, stating that the incoming European Commission remains completely out of touch with the experiences of working people across the EU.

 

Speaking from Strasbourg, the Midlands North West MEP said: “This is a case of, ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss’. The incoming Commission President praised the legacy of Jean-Claude confirming that, from personnel to policy, this is just more of the same at a time when the European Union requires fundamental reform.

 

“From the statements of Ms von der Loyen it is clear that her intention is to continue down the same failed path as Juncker, and she has no comprehension of the struggles facing the people of Europe.

 

“The incoming Commission President spent most of her speech to MEPs discussing the need for the EU to compete on the global stage when it comes to digitalisation and new technologies.  Most people living in the EU are not concerned about whether Europeans invent the next big thing – they are concerned about job insecurity, the relentless increase in the cost of living while wages continue to stagnate, the likelihood of a new recession and the climate crisis.

 

“In the one area where she signalled an intention to advance – the Green Deal – the actual policy was left vague and undefined.

 

“The biggest problem here is that the priorities outlined today are totally contradictory. Ms von der Loyen acknowledged that the ‘twin transitions’ of climate and digitalisation require massive investment in the EU.  But at the same time she continues to champion the strangling Stability and Growth pact and the rules of the common currency – which tie the hands of governments when it comes to making the type of investments that are desperately needed.

 

“She has signalled her intention to follow the Juncker plan funding model of putting up limited public funds as a guarantee for private companies.  Juncker promised that this would mobilise massive private investment in the wake of the financial crisis and recession, and it demonstrably failed.

 

“In a period where demand is low, and consumer and business sentiment is wary, this model will again fail dismally in mobilising the kind of investment we need to meet the EU’s climate goals – no matter how many financial regulations are cut under the Capital Market’s Union.

 

“The endorsement of her predecessors’ vicious economic policies speaks volumes. This is the legacy that has left the Irish people with an outstanding bank bailout debt of €42 billion that it costs us a billion a year just to service.  This is the legacy that means the Greek economy is not expected to return to pre-crisis levels until at least 2034.

 

“Until the EU final abandons its 1980s-era austerity obsession and its drive towards a dangerous militarisation agenda; serious action on climate change, technological innovation and sustainable economic growth will remain pipe dreams.  Above all this commission is set to reinforce the democratic divide between EU institutions and citizens at a time when fundamental reform is required.

 

“For us in Sinn Féin we acknowledge that Ireland’s place is in the EU; but the EU itself most become more responsive to democratic demands and the needs of citizens.  There is no evidence that this incoming commission is up to that task.”

ENDS

 

 

Local MEP meets Ballybay Girl Guides

Local MEP meets Ballybay Girl Guides

Sinn Fein MEP, Matt Carthy, had an opportunity to call into the weekly gathering of the Ballybay Girl Guides last Thursday when he was on hand to present the girls with their new ‘EU badges’.

The EU badges are the latest award available to Guides who endeavour to learn about the workings of the European Union and its impact on communities.  The criteria to obtain the badges include meeting and talking to a relevant political representative.  Taking full advantage of the fact that Monaghan has its own MEP, Matt Carthy was duly called upon and described the occasion as ‘most enjoyable’.  “Ballybay Girl Guides have a great community spirit, a wonderful set of leaders and a committed team of guides and it was fantastic to be part of this important milestone of their work,” he said.

The MEP also received a surprise gift from leader Paula McQuillan of a set Girl Guides EU badges which he has promised to proudly display in his European Parliament office in Strasbourg.

ENDS

Carthy calls for rejection of current EU proposal to ban lead shot bullets

Carthy calls for rejection of current EU proposal to ban lead shot bullets

 

The Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy, has called on the Irish government, and the Health and Safety Authority of Ireland (HSA) to reject a current EU proposal to ban the use of lead bullets by hunters and farmers.  Carthy has said that the proposal should be withdrawn until such stage as there is a meaningful consultation with all stakeholders.

 

The HSA has been designated the competent authority for Ireland concerning the authorisation of chemicals, including lead, in the EU. This means it will be responsible for approving the proposed ban when the EU Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals committee (REACH) meets next week.

 

Matt Carthy said:

“The Irish government and the HSA, as the representative authority for Ireland, must relate the concerns raised by Irish farmers and the National Association of Regional Game Councils.  The current proposal for a ban must be rejected and a redraft submitted to stakeholders for consultation.

 

“In the last number of months, I have highlighted the failings of the previous consultation to the European Commissioner Karmenu Vella and European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly.  But the commission has proceeded with its proposal nevertheless.

 

“Farmers and game clubs are among the most important partners in the delivery of landscape and wildlife conservation.  It makes no sense to enact proposals that will negatively impact on them without first ensuring a comprehensive consultation.  Farmers account for more than half of gun users in Ireland.  With the cost of replacing a gun ranging between €750 to €1,000, this is a burden that many will be unable to bear.

 

“If farmers seek to have their guns modified to comply with the new legislation, which would ban lead shot in favour of steel, they cannot do so in this country as the facilities for doing so do not exist here.  Many guns are simply not suitable for conversion.

 

“I am again calling on government representatives, along with the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael TDs who keep them in power, to assert the position of Irish stakesholders and demand that the Commission withdraw their current proposal until an adequate engagement with stakeholders has taking place.

 

“The European Parliament does have power of scrutiny of such legislation before it comes into law and I will be working at that level to insert the concerns of Irish game clubs and farmers into the debate.  However, we need the government to become proactive.  The basis of this proposal was agreed by a Fianna Fáil government in 1999 and every subsequent government have nodded in agreement.  Yet, those who will be affected have never been properly consulted and most have only become aware of its existence in recent weeks.  This is not the way to build support for conservation measures.

 

“Sinn Féin support measures aimed at protecting and conserving our environment but the way to do this is in partnership with essential shareholders rather than behind their backs”.

ENDS

Pearse Doherty to bring Insurance Reform campaign to Monaghan (Sinn Féin to host public meeting on Thursday 28th November)

Pearse Doherty to bring Insurance Reform campaign to Monaghan

Sinn Féin to host public meeting on Thursday 28th November

 

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson, Pearse Doherty, who has been spearheading a campaign calling for Insurance Reform, will address a public meeting on Thursday 28th November, at 8pm in the Four Seasons Hotel, Monaghan.

 

This is the latest in a series of campaign events that Deputy Doherty has held across the state in his bid to reform the insurance industry and end the rip-off of individuals, businesses and families.

 

Pearse Doherty has been to the forefront of highlighting the practises of the insurance industry which rip off many families and have actually resulted in the closure of several businesses.  Several of his contributions in the Oireachas Finance committee have ‘gone viral’ as it had insurance executives on the ropes with probing questions.  This week it was announced that, on the back of Doherty’s work, the Central Bank has agreed to conduct a review into the practise of ‘dual pricing’ which is the mechanism insurance companies use to overcharge existing loyal customers.

 

The meeting in the Four Seasons will be addressed by Pearse Doherty who will outline his full proposals to tackle the extortionate costs of insurance throughout the state for businesses and ordinary consumers.  The meeting will also be attended by local Sinn Féin representatives Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD and Matt Carthy MEP.  Crucially the meeting will provide an opportunity for people in Monaghan to tell their own stories of interactions with the insurance industry and to give their own perspective as to how it can be addressed.

 

Announcing details of the public meeting this week, local Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, said:

 

“Insurance costs have become extortionate, ripping off consumers and closing down businesses.  Since 2016 Fine Gael have sat back in the face of rising insurance costs while Fianna Fáil have let them off the hook.

 

“The insurance industry tells us that fraudulent claims and the cost of personal injury awards are causing premiums to rise.  But through the work of Pearse Doherty we know that their figures don’t add up.  Despite the total number of motor insurance claims reducing by 22% between 2014 and 2017, the average motor insurance premium has increased by 53% between 2013 and 2017.

 

“Premiums are rising.  The only other thing that is rising are insurance company profits.  Pearse Doherty is leading a campaign to take on the industry and end the rip-off.  The policies and legislation that he has produced on behalf of Sinn Féin would stamp out fraud, protect consumers, ban price discrimination and reduce premiums for everyone.

 

“Only this week, Pearse successfully campaigned for the Central Bank to open up an investigation into price discrimination by the insurance industry.

 

“The meeting in the Four Seasons Hotel, Monaghan on the 28th November is one of several engagements across the state where Pearse Doherty has been meeting with the public to discuss Sinn Féin’s plan to tackle insurance costs and end the rip-off.

 

“We want to hear from people in County Monaghan who are being affected by high insurance costs so that we can work to stop it.

 

“We will be talking about Sinn Féin’s plan to set up a Garda Insurance Fraud Unit to tackle insurance fraud when and if it takes place and ban Dual Pricing by the Insurance Industry.

 

“Also, we’ll be discussing Pearse’s Consumer Insurance Contracts Bill law which, if enacted, proposes to abolish Premium Levies and put €230 million back in consumers’ pockets while also introducing State Intervention to address the market failure.

 

“The issue of insurance is such a huge one and affects the lives of ordinary people and businesses alike throughout counties like Monaghan, so therefore it’s important that we see a large turn out at this event as part of Sinn Féin’s ongoing campaign to end the Insurance Rip-Off.”

ENDS

 

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