New EU laws on shotguns -“Unworkable without dialogue with gun-owners & farmers” – Matt Carthy MEP

New EU laws on shotguns -“Unworkable without dialogue with gun-owners & farmers”

– Matt Carthy MEP

 

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has voiced his concerns with proposed new EU legislation that would force Irish farmers, hunters and gun-owners to pay millions of euro to replace their shotguns.

 

The Midlands North West MEP was speaking after he attended the 5th ICTSF World English Sporting Championship hosted by the Irish Clay Target Shooting Association at Dowth, Co Meath, last Saturday where he was accompanied by Sligo/Leitrim TD Martin Kenny and local Sinn Féin Councillor Johnny Guirke.  During his visit Carthy met with representatives of the Clay Target Shooting Association to discuss the proposals.  He was it was disappointing that the government have failed, thus far, to engage in talks with gun-owners about the proposals.

 

Matt Carthy said:

 

“EU and Irish Government officials are seeking to ban the use of lead in shooting and fishing, making over 100,000 guns in Ireland completely obsolete.  Consultation with game clubs has been almost non-existent.

 

“We are looking at a situation where 70% to 80% of shotguns in Ireland will be rendered unusable and the cost of replacing these guns could amount to over €150m.

 

“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 imposing a major financial burden on many hard-pressed individuals.

 

“If owners seek to have their guns modified to comply with the new legislation which bans lead shot in favour of steel, they cannot do so in this country as the facilities for doing so simply don’t exist here.

 

“The only option open to gun owners is to send their gun to Britain to be modified at a cost of anything up to €300 per gun.

 

“That this Fine Gael government, supported by Fianna Fáil, has agreed to enact this EU proposal without engaging with those affected has caused huge frustration and further alienation in rural communities who see this latest move merely as the latest in a long line of attacks on their way of life.  The EU proposals, as they currently stand, are unworkable and costly and are essentially tokenistic because they will result in the withdrawal from conservation measures a key constituency in the delivery of them, namely farmers and game clubs.

 

“Sinn Féin strongly supports the sustainable pursuit of traditional rural occupations including hunting and fishing, which are vital to the life and economy of rural Ireland.

 

“I have been engaging with both the Commissioner and European Ombudsman on this issue and will continue to work closely with game councils and conservation organisations to ensure that there is a full and robust dialogue process before the enaction of this legislation is further contemplated.”

ENDS

 

Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, joined his party colleagues Martin Kenny TD & Cllr. Johnny Guirke at Dowth, Co Meath where they met with representatives of the Irish Clay Target Shooting Association to discuss proposed new EU laws on shotguns.

“Government has reneged on HSE support staff promises” Matt Carthy MEP expresses solidarity with Striking Workers

“Government has reneged on HSE support staff promises”

Matt Carthy MEP expresses solidarity with Striking Workers

 

Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy has said the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform must honour existing agreements made between the HSE support staff and the Department of health.

 

Carthy was speaking as he expressed solidarity with up to 10,000 HSE support staff from 38 hospitals who were taking part in Strike action across the state on Wednesday following a deadlock in negotiations between SIPTU and Health Servive Management over pay and conditions.

 

The Midlands Northwest MEP said:

 

“I want to extend my full solidarity to those engaged in this Strike. These staff do not want to be on picket lines but are merely seeking pay justice. Promises were made and they haven’t been kept. The government must act now to prevent future strike action.

 

“The comments of Leo Varadkar in threatening staff on Strike with penalties is unhelpful and irresponsible.  The Taoiseach once again exposes himself as out of touch.

 

“Two years ago the Department of Health & the HSE agreed a job evaluation scheme with these workers to avert strike action.  This agreement was facilitated by the oversight body of the Lansdowne Road public service agreement.

 

“The scheme highlighted that workers such as Hospital porters, healthcare assistants, technicians and chefs are being underpaid for the roles they carry out.  The fractional pay increases and reduction of worker entitlements that have been offered are insulting to the workers concerned and shows bad faith on the Government’s behalf.  Minister Donohoe must act responsibly and initiate emergency talks now so all parties can come to a reasonable resolution and further disruption to our health services can be avoided.”

ENDS

Community anger over leniency of sentence for Graham Tobin’s killer

Community anger over leniency of sentence for Graham Tobin’s killer

Local MEP calls for clarity on sentencing determinants

 

Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, has reported widespread community anger and disappointment with the sentence of eight years imprisonment for the killer of Graham Tobin handed down last week.

 

The Co Monaghan based representative confirmed that he has been in regular contact with members of Graham’s family who were shocked by what they consider to be the excessively lenient sentence delivered in the case.  Carthy called for greater clarity on the determinants used by judges to mitigate sentences citing for example the position where a defendant has a sentence reduced for pleading guilty despite the fact that the guilt is never in doubt.

 

The MEP acknowledged that judges were acting within their remit but that the case of Graham Tobin’s killing, following as it does an even shorter sentence for the killer of Seamus Bell, have led to many calls from across Co Monaghan for stricter penalties for those convicted of violent actions which cause the death of innocent people.

 

Matt Carthy said: “Those of us who knew Graham Tobin remain in shock with what happened to him.  Graham was a gentleman in every sense of the word, he was liked by everyone who met him and he was a person who avoided conflict at every turn.  It is unthinkable that his life was ended in such a callous manner.

 

“The grief that his family are going through remains unbearable, they will never get over their loss.  He was a much-loved father, husband, son and brother.  I have to say it is sickening to think that Graham’s eldest child may be still in school when his killer is released.  Graham’s four boys have lost their Daddy and, of course, no sentence would compensate them for that.

 

“But, speaking to people in Carrickmacross in recent days, there is widespread anger and frustration and a belief that the sentences for crimes such as this do not sufficiently act as a deterrent.  In this case there were two distinct crimes – the unprovoked attack on Graham which led to his injuries and the subsequent refusal to seek medical intervention for him as he lay unconscious and critically injured for four hours.

 

“Sentencing guidelines need to reflect the second crime as much as the first.  There is also need for clarity regarding the mitigation applied by judges in cases like this.  It appears that a ‘Guilty’ plea will always lead to a reduced sentence even though in this case it is clear that guilt was never in doubt.  Also, the notion that a defendant can receive mitigation for writing a letter of apology, regardless of whether that apology is accepted or even if it is actually sincere needs to be addressed in my view.

 

“The defendant is this case was already serving a suspended sentence, therefore having broken the terms of the suspension he should have been returned to prison – the notion that the period he has spent on remand during this trial should be now taken off his time for Graham’s killing does not make sense.  It is also galling for Graham’s family that his killer’s sentence was further mitigated because of the so-called ‘good behaviour’ of the defendant while he was on remand.

 

“Unfortunately, incidents such as this are too prevalent.  Previously in South Monaghan, Seamus Bell was also killed by an unprovoked attacked.  In both instances the killers had previous convictions, in both incidents the prevailing opinion is that the sentences handed down did not reflect the grievous nature of the crime.

 

“I will be writing to Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan requesting that he prioritise the judicial council bill which, due to Sinn Féin input, has provision for sentencing guidelines for the first time in legislation.  If the Minister prioritises this bill it can be passed before the summer recess.  In that event the process of drafting guidelines can begin quickly which should lead to a situation whereby appropriate and more consistent sentences are handed down and excessively lenient sentences, such as in this instance, are eliminated.”

ENDS

Carthy demands Varadkar withdraw Ireland’s support for Mercosur deal

Carthy demands Varadkar withdraw Ireland’s support for Mercosur deal

 

“Position of FF & FG to EU trade agenda threatens Irish family farms” – SF MEP

 

Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy, has called on the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, to unequivocally remove Irish support for the EU mandate to negotiate the Mercosur trade deal.  He was speaking in response to the letter by Mr. Varadkar to Jean Claude Junker raising ‘concerns’ about the deal.  Carthy described this measure as “tokenism” and accused both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael of threatening the future of the Irish family farm model due to their deferential approach to EU trade deals.

 

Carthy said:

 

“The time for writing letters of concern on Mercosur is long past.  I have repeatedly called on the government to withdraw in full its support for the European Commission mandate to negotiate this trade deal recognising the impact it will have on Irish agriculture; they have repeatedly refused to do so.  In the absence of them taking that move, anything less is tokenism.

 

“We already know that the European Commission is willing to offer a tariff free quota of 99,000 tonnes of Brazilian beef per year into the EU.  We know that other sectors are at risk too, including poultry.  We know that there is nothing positive for Ireland in this deal, that it is being pursued in the interests of German car manufactures – why then is our government playing with words rather than stopping this deal?

 

“Coupled with other EU trade deals such as the CETA agreement with Canada (which includes provision for 50,000 tonnes of tariff free beef imports), Mercosur could become as big a threat to Irish agriculture as Brexit.  However, the approach adopted by both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to what is an aggressive EU trade agenda is extremely worrying.  Not only have they ignored the concerns associated with most EU trade agreements, they have attacked Sinn Féin when we raised those concerns!  Their deferential approach threatens the Irish family farm model.

 

“It is in this context that farmers should view letters from the government to the commission expressing ‘concern’.  It is time that farmers mobilised, not just against the European Commission but against the government parties of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil who have given the commission free reign to trade away their future in agriculture.

 

“Considering the looming threat of Brexit and the inherent contradiction and hypocrisy in supporting a deal that would see the importation of huge quantities of beef from the far side of the world when Irish farmers are being told to reduce production – it is time for the government to withdraw it’s mandate from any trade deal that risks our agriculture sector and the rural economies that depend on them, including Mercosur.

 

“For our part we in Sinn Féin will continue to adopt a vigilant position on EU trade deals and we will refuse to join Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in rubber-stamping deals which could collectively threaten Irish farming as we know it.”

ENDS

“Campaign by Tara workers’ against Revenue plans to remove allowances will have Sinn Féin’s full support” – Matt Carthy MEP

“Campaign by Tara workers’ against Revenue plans to remove allowances will have Sinn Féin’s full support” – Matt Carthy MEP

 

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has met with workers’ representatives in the Tara Mines in county Meath to discuss the impact of a proposal from Revenue to abolish existing tax allowances.  Carthy, who met with the Tara workers alongside Navan Councillor Sinéad Burke, heard how revenue is carrying out a review of the flat rate expense allowances.

 

He said: “Revenue is carrying out a review of flat rate expense allowances that cover the cost of equipment needed for work, including things like tools, uniforms and stationery.  The review is expected to be completed by the end of this year and it is proposed that many of the allowances will be abolished.  This will have the immediate impact of significantly reducing the pay of the workers affected.

 

“Workers in Tara Mines are organising against the current Revenue proposal to phase out the uniform allowance, other workers will undoubtedly be following suit.

 

“This suggestion from Revenue is simply a mechanism to take more money out of the pocket of hard-pressed workers and it should be rejected.  Revenue should listen to the voice of the Tara Mines employees on this issue and provide assurances that it does not intend to get rid of this uniform allowance which is clearly necessary for these workers.

 

“Along with Pearse Doherty in the Dáil, who I have been already liaising with, and our local Navan representatives, Sinéad Burke and Eddie Fennessy, Sinn Féin will be leading the opposition to this suggestion from Revenue at political level.  The Minister for Finance should immediately intervene to put a halt to this proposal and we will be demanding that he does so.”

ENDS

 

Fianna Fáil want more economic powers transferred to Brussels – Matt Carthy MEP

Fianna Fáil want more economic powers transferred to Brussels – Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has criticised the proposal from Fianna Fáil European election candidates to transfer even more economic decision-making powers from Dublin to Brussels.

Carthy, representative for Midlands North West, said: “It beggars belief that after the experience we went through with Troika-imposed austerity that any Irish party would be calling for a further transfer of our economic decision-making powers to Brussels.

“Fianna Fáil is clueless when it comes to the EU’s economic governance framework. In the party’s election manifesto they call for a Eurozone budget and joint bond issues as a step towards a full fiscal and transfer union in the EU. In practice, this means they are supporting the call by their EU political group (ALDE) and Fine Gael’s group (EPP) for the creation of an EU Finance Minister to control the budgets and spending of the member states.

“There is a persistent drive by the political groups of both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to make any and all EU spending conditional and dependent on Member States implementing so-called structural reforms. These structural reforms are invariably bad for working people and the environment and usually involve privatisation, cuts to public spending and frontline services, and attacks on workers’ rights.

“Proposals for an EU Finance Minister and an increased EU Budget are part of the this drive for the Commission technocrats to be able to exert even more power than they already have when it comes to the surveillance and control of the spending decisions of democratically elected governments.

“Fianna Fail’s ALDE group’s election manifesto cals calls for cohesion policy to be ‘linked’ to the European Semester and the implementation of structural reforms. This means they want to see EU funds for the most disadvantaged and underdeveloped regions to be dependent on those areas selling off their publicly owned utilities and services and scrapping laws that aim to counter the exploitation of workers.

“Fianna Fáil, ALDE and the EPP group are also supporting the transformation of the existing intergovernmental bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism, into a European Monetary Fund. This would potentially leave the Irish government without a vote in the fund’s decision-making process.

“The call in Fianna Fáil’s manifesto for a review of the fiscal rules, after urging Irish voters to support the Fiscal Compact being inserted into our Constitution, is hypocrisy of the highest order.

“Their candidates should have the decency to admit to Irish voters that they have got it wrong, time and again, when it comes to the EU’s economic governance system.” ENDS

Matt Carthy MEP: FF & FG approach to EU trade deals mean Mercosur agreement imminent

Matt Carthy MEP: FF & FG approach to EU trade deals mean Mercosur agreement imminent

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has warned that the recent news of reopening talks on the proposed EU-Mercosur free trade agreement is very bad news for the Irish agricultural sector, especially beef farmers. He said that the approach of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to dangerous EU trade deals means that a strong showing for those parties in next week’s election will mean that the likelihood of a Mecosur deal will be increased.

The Midlands North West representative said: “Reports of the reopening of talks on the Mercosur deal have intensified in recent days with Brazilian negotiators claiming that France – which had previously taken a position defending the French agricultural sector – has now dropped its opposition in exchange for access to Mercosur countries’ markets for EU industrial goods.

“The perilous position of Irish farmers has been largely ignored by the EU in its drive for new generation trade deals. This is because Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have offered blanket support for all EU trade deals regardless of the cost to Irish agriculture and indigenous businesses. Hence they support the CETA deal with Canada despite the facilitation of a 50,000 tariff-free beef quota and the inclusion of an Investment Court system that will allow foreign companies to sue national governments for enacting progressive legislation.

“The Mercosur deal promises to flood EU markets with further hundreds of thousands of lower quality beef. The very fact that Fine Gael agreed a mandate for the EU commission to negotiate this deal, without a whimper from Fianna Fáil, should be a cause of serious concern to Irish farmers.

“Some of the key issues that led to the collapse of talks previously were transparency and food standards. Unbelievably, the European Commission was prepared to offer Mercosur countries a 99,000 tonne quota on beef just weeks after several Brazilian factories were delisted due to sanitary concerns.

“The European Commission have never prioritised the interests of farmers or rural communities because the lucrativeness of the South American markets for the German automotive industry meant that agricultural access for South American has become a key bargaining chip.  

“Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan and the Irish government have continuously failed to stand up to the commission in the interests of Irish agriculture across a range of trade deal talks.  

“Brazilian negotiations are indicating that they believe the deal will be sealed in coming months, when Brazil takes over the presidency of Mercosur. 

“The election of the extreme right militarist Jair Bolsonaro as Brazilian president in November should have been the final nail in the coffin for the Mercosur deal. Bolsonaro has clearly expressed his intention to attack the rights of women, Indigenous people, minorities, LGBTI people and the poor in Brazil. He has already enacted policies doing so.

“Last year I negotiated a report in the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee that warned that there will be a direct downward pressure on prices farmers receive should this deal go ahead. The cumulative impact of this and other deals are setting the sector up for disaster.

“It is absolutely appalling that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have been loud cheerleaders of potentially ruinous free trade deals that threaten Ireland’s rural communities, that are conducted entirely behind closed doors with no public scrutiny and that all include secret investment courts where corporations can sue elected governments for enacting policies that they don’t like, just because they may impact on their profits.

“A vote for Sinn Féin MEPs this Friday is a vote against any EU free trade deals that undermines our democratic structures or devastates rural communities & vulnerable economic sectors in Ireland. It will be a vote for progressive free trade and fair trade policies that protect Irish interests while providing access to world markets”. 
ENDS 

Fianna Fáil Attack smacks of Pathetic Desperation

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has described attacks on him by Fianna Fáil EU candidate Brendan Smith as pathetic and said they smack of desperation.

Matt Carthy said:

Brendan Smith has issued a pathetic attack on me that smacks of desperation due to the fact that his own campaign thus far has been such a flop.  

“I am proud to be standing in this election on the basis of my record.  This is in stark contrast to Brendan who has been eager to avoid any mention of his record of failure in that Fianna Fáil government that crashed the economy and where, as Minister for Agriculture, Brendan proved disastrous for family farmers especially through his ending of the important REPS scheme and his cuts to ANC payments.

“Sinn Féin’s record of fighting for Ireland in the Brexit negotiations is clear.  Border communities know our record and they know we can be trusted to put Irish interests first at all times.

“We will never play political games with Brexit, as Fianna Fáil are now doing, because we recognise the need for all-party cooperation on this issue – Brendan needs to recognise the importance of putting aside narrow party political interests on this crucial matter if he wishes to portray himself as a prospective MEP.

“I want to be re-elected to continue important work at European level on behalf of the people of the Midlands North West.  I cannot predict the future but my focus if re-elected will be on continuing to fight for Ireland and delivering as an MEP on key issues such as curbing the free rein that Fianna Fáil gave the banks and vulture funds and ensuring that EU funding is directed to the communities in Ireland that need it and not wasted on the creation of an EU army which is supported by Fianna Fáil’s group in the European Parliament.” 

ENDS

Sinn Féin has led defence of Ireland against Brexit

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has outlined his party’s record of delivering for Ireland in Europe with respect to the challenges presented by Brexit since 2016.

The Midlands North West representative said:

“Sinn Féin MEPs have played a crucial role of providing political leadership in response to Brexit since 2016.

“We advocated a Remain vote in the referendum while others, some who are now EU candidates, recklessly promoted the Tory Brexit agenda.

“It was the Sinn Féin team in Brussels that brought Irish concerns, particular concerns regarding the border, and the need to protect the Good Friday Agreement, to the heart of Brexit deliberations.

“While others accused us of being naïve when we first raised the notion of special status for the north, our efforts ensured that that became, essentially, the position of the Irish government and subsequently the EU.

“Sinn Féin MEPs have also played a constructive role in helping shape the Withdrawal Agreement, which includes the backstop.

“There can be no dilution of that provision; it represents the least worst option for our country. Anything less is a major threat to the Good Friday Agreement, to our rights and to our economy.

“We cannot tolerate the North being excluded from the customs union or single market. We cannot return to borders of the past.

“We have been advocating since 2016 for a Brexit relief fund for Ireland, including an automatic mechanism that can easily be triggered in the event of tariffs being instated, significant currency fluctuations or other Brexit-related shocks.

“We have called on the EU to establish such a fund, and to suspend state aid rules that would prevent the Irish government from providing support to crucial sectors that will be negatively impacted by Brexit.

“Returning a strong Sinn Féin team to the European Parliament means that we can continue to fight to ensure there is no dilution of the backstop, and to ensure that people in the North continue to have representation in Brussels and enjoy their full rights as EU citizens.

“We will continue our work of calling on EU leaders to adopt a position in favour of the reunification of Ireland under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.”

Fianna Fáil complicit in squandering billions in Broadband Debacle

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has slammed the government for squandering of billions on euro on the National Broadband Plan, and labelled Fianna Fáil as being “complicit” in the debacle.

Carthy, EU candidate for Midlands North West, said:

“This government’s mismanagement of the provision of a vital infrastructure for rural Ireland once again exposes Fine Gael’s utter disregard for people living in rural areas.

“The revelation in recent days that taxpayers will pay up to €3 billion, while private equity fund Granahan McCourt will invest just €200 million and at the end of the project will own the infrastructure, is absolutely scandalous.

“The result is that billions of euros of taxpayer funded infrastructure will be handed over to a private bidder – and that this company could walk at any moment with little to lose. The risks involved in this plan were pointed out to the government in by its own senior officials.

“That the Taoiseach has dismissed Sinn Féin’s cost-effective alternative proposal – a Dáil motion that calls for the appointment of ESB to deliver high-speed broadband to every home, farm and business in rural Ireland – adds insult to injury.

“This situation could have been easily avoided if the government delivered the service through a state-funded scheme. Despite its criticism of the National Broadband Plan, Fianna Fáil is complicit in this farce by continuing to prop up this government.

“Sinn Féin’s alternative plan would ensure the infrastructure paid for by the public stays in public hands. It would deliver value for money and, crucially, it would deliver high quality broadband for the half a million households in rural communities who are still without it – after years of neglect.

“We need to intervene now to stop this mess from getting worse. Fianna Fáil needs to support Sinn Féin’s motion to appoint the ESB to deliver broadband to rural communities. Anything else would be pure hypocrisy, and a betrayal of rural Ireland.”

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