Earlier in the campaign, I was pleased to in Oxfam’s debate “For a More Equal World”. Further to a number of conversations that I have had on the subject with people that I have met while canvassing, I am pleased to confirm that I was happy to sign the Oxfam pledge and also to post my contribution to that debate here.
As a member of Fianna Fáil, I am committed to a stronger, simpler and more democratic European Union. I believe that the EU must pursue policies which promote growth, equality and fairness.
Since Ireland applied for membership under former Taoiseach Seán Lemass, Fianna Fáil has been a pro-European party.
If I am elected to the European Parliament, I will be a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) – a strong voice for citizens in the European Parliament.
Fianna Fáil wants to elect strong members of parliament that represent communities across Ireland. Our candidates want to be constructive so that we can represent and tackle issues that affect people.
As the European Parliament is the only directly elected European body of the European Union, the policies it promotes must deliver for every citizen.
We need policies at an EU level that work for us all.
We must end one-size-fits-all austerity.
The European Union must do more to focus on creating jobs and growing the economy .It must cut bureaucratic rules which are strangling our small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).
It must also use our money better and cut unnecessary waste which creates a further burden on our hard pressed taxpayers.
Fianna Fáil in the European Parliament will fight for a better EU which serves its citizens instead of serving itself.
Response to Oxfam Document
I am committed to promoting equality in Ireland, in Europe and in the world. Fianna Fáil believes that the best way of promoting equality in the EU and in the globe is by guarantying the right to education for all. Ireland and the EU’s aid programmes should cater for the most basic needs of those in need but also seek to broaden the numbers of individuals who can access education in their country.
Promoting Gender Equality
I am committed to ensuring that our aid policy promotes gender equality in our world. Along with fellow Fianna Fail members, I believe that Ireland and the EU have a responsibility to ensure that human rights are respected and there is no distinction in the allocation of rights as a result of gender. The EU should also seek to secure the rights of women to be treated equally across the world. The EU should ratify the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.
A Transparent Tax System
With my colleagues in Fianna Fáil, I will work to achieve tax and corporate ownership transparency. We will work for an end to EU tax havens. It is important to note that the OECD has stated that Ireland is not a tax haven and is nowhere near becoming one.
I will fight to maintain Ireland’s control over its Corporation Tax rate. National taxation rates are a national competency in the EU. I will fight to ensure that this remains the case. I will, however, support the establishment of a favourable financial framework to encourage the setting up of new businesses in Ireland and Europe.
Investment must be welcomed in Europe, not discouraged. I am committed to the principle of tax competition. I am convinced that we need to do more to fight tax avoidance and evasion.
I welcome any progress made on international tax agreements and believe that the Irish government should cooperate fully with these talks.
Food and Climate Justice/Land Based Biofuels
With my colleagues in Fianna Fáil, I support the EU climate targets for 2030 – reductions of
55% in greenhouse gas emissions and binding targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency. We will ensure the EU meets its share of the climate challenge by providing climate finance for adaptation and mitigation in developing countries.
I firmly believe that renewable energy is part of the solution to reduce Ireland and Europe’s massive dependence on energy imports. The pursuit of renewable energy in Ireland and the EU offers the potential to shield us from ever rising oil and gas prices and help reduce our CO2 emissions. However, it is vital that renewable energy projects are developed in a sensitive manner to the environment and the developing world.
Helping the Poorest in Our World
With my colleagues in Fianna Fáil I commit to ensure aid ends hunger and malnutrition. We are interested in discussing Oxfam’s plan to use the revenues from carbon pricing of maritime and aviation transport and the diversion of fossil fuel subsidies for development and for climate finance further. We support the goals behind Oxfam’s idea to push for 50% of revenues from the European Financial Transaction Tax to be allocated to fight against poverty and climate change however we would need more information on this matter. We are happy to commit to protecting the independence of humanitarian aid. When Fianna Fail signed up for the Millennium Goals (for Ireland to contribute 0.7% of GDP), Ireland was contributing 0.3% of GDP to foreign aid. Under Fianna Fail led governments this increased to 0.55% but has fallen back to approximately 0.43% since Fianna Fail left office.