Issuu on Google+

Sean Kelly MEP Autumn Newsletter

A chairde, Welcome to my Autumn newsletter. The Presidential elections are due to take place on Thursday 27th October and I am humbly asking you all to give your Number 1 vote to my friend and colleague, Gay Mitchell. Having spent just over two years working alongside Gay in the European Parliament, I have seen at close hand the respect which Gay commands across the political divide in Europe, the experience he has, his ability and his integrity. He has unrivalled experience at all levels of public life, from Councillor, Lord Mayor, TD and MEP over the past 32 years. His knowledge, experience and compassion is fitting of the highest office in the land. I believe these qualities make Gay the best candidate for President of Ireland and I urge you to give him your first preference on October 27th next. Is mise le meas, Seรกn Kelly.

seankellymep@gmail.com

Tel: 061-468788

1


Sean Kelly MEP Autumn Newsletter

Haulbowline - Toxic Dump clean-up will boost local economy Readers will know that I have campaigned to clean up Haulbowline since I was elected to the European Parliament. Along with Orlaith McCarthy and Mary Mackey, I presented a petition of 5,000 signatures to the Petitions committee alongside the Cork Harbour Health Study Group in June of this year. In the hearing in Parliament, the Government was given a deadline to announce measures to clean up Haulbowline. I am glad to see that the Government, led on this issue by Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, have stepped up to the plate and announced €40 million in funding to clean up the mess. I would also like to pay particular tribute to David Stanton TD who campaigned tirelessly on the issue as well. This is going to come as an enormous relief to the people of Cobh who have quite rightly feared for the health of their community for over ten years with unchecked emissions of a carcinogenic toxin, Chromium VI, coming from an unlicensed landfill. While a baseline health study has never been carried out, the National Cancer Registry of Ireland proves that the rate of cancer in Cobh is 37% higher than the national average. Furthermore, we cannot forget the environmental and economic concerns also at the fore of the Haulbowline campaign. This toxic dump is located in a very scenic part of Ireland and while it is difficult to measure its impact in monetary terms, no one can deny its existence has had a detrimental effect on Cobh's tourism potential. For ten years various agencies passed the buck on Haulbowline in a disgraceful way. However, with Cabinet approval of €20m in the 2012 budget and €20m in the 2013 budget due for the restoration of the area, the people of Cobh can look to a brighter future.

seankellymep@gmail.com

Tel: 061-468788

2


Sean Kelly MEP Autumn Newsletter

Reduction in EU Interest Rate following Threat of Legal Action In February of this year I exercised my right as an MEP to hold Commissioner Olli Rehn and the Commission as a whole to account for the legality of the bailout terms given their punitive nature, particularly the margin of 2.925%, which I felt violated EU law. In light of the extraordinary economic factors that led to Ireland's acceptance of the bailout, the intended profit margin of almost €8.2 billion is a punitive and illegal burden on Irish citizens, contrary to the spirit of solidarity and/or to the spirit and the letter of Article 122.2 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. I am well aware that Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Finance Minister Michael Noonan also put pressure on the Commission. It was therefore excellent news to hear that the Commission had accepted our arguments and agreed to abolish the interest rate margin and increase the term from 15 to 30 years, saving an estimated €8.2 billion in total, or €656 million per year to the Irish Exchequer. It demonstrates what concerted effort and collaboration can achieve in terms of a real renegotiation of the EU/IMF programme. It was also a wise decision to ease the financial burden on the Irish government. Ireland has demonstrated a determination to repay our debts and rebuild our economy - becoming the model bailout country. It makes sense to enable Ireland to repay the loan by easing pressure on our budget with more reasonable terms. Hopefully, it will allow us to provision for increased spending to fuel renewed growth in future.

Commission Urged to Address High Suicide Rates I have called on the European Commission to launch an in-depth medical research initiative into the worrying prevalence of suicide and in particular, the high rate of suicide amongst young men. I made this call recently while co-chairing a high-level meeting of politicians, policy makers and stakeholders with expertise in research, health policy and gender issues later this afternoon at the European Parliament, Brussels. I believe the issue of suicide is one that must be urgently addressed by policy makers. It is widely documented that there is a higher rate of death by suicide among the younger male population, but men tend to be reluctant to seek help. Positive mental health and wellbeing is something we need to encourage and men should feel able to access support services when they need to, instead of carrying the full weight of their worries on their own shoulders. Services are available, but are they working? Does every citizen know where to get help if needed? We need to thoroughly research this issue and come up with effective answers to the issue and support people in finding a way to move forward in their lives. We have a responsibility to address the very serious issue of suicide across Europe.

seankellymep@gmail.com

Tel: 061-468788

3


Sean Kelly MEP Autumn Newsletter

Irish sugar beet: Commission urged to reinstate industry at Parliament hearing

Pictured in the Petitions Committee with Allan Navratil, Chairman of the Irish Sugar and Biofuels Initiative I recently supported a call on the European Commission to reinstate the Irish sugar industry at a hearing of the European Parliament's Committee on Petitions alongside the Irish Sugar & Biofuels Initiative. I joined the Initiative Chairman, Allan J Navratil, in highlighting how the Commission's poorly informed decision to regulate sugar beet quotas led to the destruction of the Irish industry. Mr Navratil cited the conclusions of the Court of Auditors from the November 2010 inquiry which found the reform process was based on outdated and incorrect data. "The Court of Auditors determined that there was no economic justification for closing the Irish Sugar Industry, especially as Ireland's only remaining factory was among the most efficient in Europe," Mr Navratil told the committee. I reminded those present that the EU is now only 85% self-sufficient in sugar since the Mallow factory closed. The EU sugar reform had aimed to introduce competitiveness and efficiency, but I pointed out that quite the opposite was achieved with a loss of revenue, employment and home-grown produce. The EU now pays €40 per tonne more to import sugar than Irish produce would cost. I am thus urging the Commission to seriously look at the possibility in assisting Ireland in re-establishing its sugar industry with a combined sugar beet and bio-fuel plant. I said €400 million would set up a new factory and singled out an existing fund of €640 million which could be utilised for this purpose.

seankellymep@gmail.com

Tel: 061-468788

4


Sean Kelly MEP Autumn Newsletter Bioethanol represents an opportunity for growth especially in the context of EU 2020 targets. We must develop domestic supply within the EU and not rely on expensive imports. Therefore there is a clear market demand which Ireland can once again supply whilst reviving the sugar beet sector. On my proposal, the suggestion is to be forwarded to the Parliament's Agriculture Committee for further consideration. The destruction of Irish sugar beet industry was based on a flawed decision and the Court of Auditors backed up that view last year. The only way to re-compensate Ireland for that is to help the sugar industry get back on its feet. This is an opportunity for further discussion and for the Commission to redress a great wrong and foolish decision.

Around the Constituency

At the recent Volunteering Fair in Waterford City Library The past few weeks have been very hectic with events all across the country. I think many people's schedules have been dominated with All-Ireland Finals, county finals, the Rose of Tralee, the Ploughing Championships, charity events, agricultural shows, local festivals and of course the Presidential election, to name but a few. Attending many of these events across the country in the past few months I was struck by the undiminished spirit of the Irish people. In spite of the economic gloom that hangs over the nation, we remain remarkably stoical and good-humoured in our daily lives. This year is the European Year of Volunteering and I would say Ireland is probably unsurpassed in our voluntary and generous nature; whether people are involved in sporting, charitable or cultural organisations. This trait is something that

seankellymep@gmail.com

Tel: 061-468788

5


Sean Kelly MEP Autumn Newsletter we should continue to encourage and foster in the next generation. I saw a good example of this recently when I attended a voluntary exhibition in Waterford Public Library and I was both humbled and heartened to see so many people of all ages selflessly working together for the good of communities. Here in Europe I continue to hold up Ireland as an example of how volunteering can enhance communities and society as a whole. I have hosted a number of hearings in the European Parliament on health and volunteering issues and I also had the honour of travelling to Rome to speak on behalf of the European Parliament at an international health conference. We recently saw the publication of the Commission proposals on CAP Reform (Common Agricultural Policy) and the CFP (Common Fisheries Policy), which I must acknowledge have not been well received at home and I of course recognise the shortcomings of these proposals. There is a lot of work needed on this issue so as to amend some of these proposals and to ensure a fairer deal for our farmers and fishermen. I have already had meetings with farmers and fishermen with regards to this issue and I am aware of their significant concerns. Further to this, I have met with Ministers, TDs, Senators and officials to work out the best way of coordinating a national and united response and I promise to continue to work tirelessly on these issues here in the European Parliament. We also received other disappointing news recently in the South East with the closure of the Talk Talk facility in Waterford. This saw 575 workers lose their jobs abruptly with little or no warning. I have been very involved on a European front in aiding the plight of these workers by helping secure the recently announced financial support from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. In a recent meeting I had with Commissioner Andor I highlighted the situation in Waterford and how we needed support. Tackling unemployment is vital to Ireland's economy and I will continue to work here, in my role as an MEP, on behalf of the people of Ireland South. Gan dabht a lán cúraimí ach tugaimís faoi le spiorad.

seankellymep@gmail.com

Tel: 061-468788

6


Sean Kelly MEP Autumn Newsletter