A Chairde, Fáilte mór to my new style newsletter - shorter and hopefully snappier, in line with general feedback. People are getting so many e-mails now that they that they are finding it difficult to keep up with them all. I have been very involved in preparing some reports here in Brussels and raising important issues in Parliament, including EU/IMF bailout, corporation tax and the cap on retail development in Ireland. I will have more on these in the next issue when things settle down and Government get down to business. Le dea mhéin, Sean Kelly MEP
Sean with poet and Kerryman Gabriel Fitzmaurice, who gave a reading in the parliament at an event promoting Irish Publishers and Booksellers
Sean with former President Mary Robinson in the Parliament celebrating International Womens Day
Enda Kenny Elected Taoiseach Well, of course, the big news is that we have a new government led by father of the Dáil, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, and therein lies a tale. If ever an example was needed of the power of perseverance, never say die spirit and face all challenges with courage and dignity, you could find no better example than Enda Kenny. What next - Mayo to win an All-Ireland? Well, I forecast in a public talk in Castlebar library in 2006 that Mayo would win the AllIreland in 2011!! Unlikely? Stranger things have happened. Regardless, we wish Enda and his new government well and I, certainly, will be pulling my weight here in Europe to help him turn the country around and make Ireland great once again. Congratulations to all successful candidates and commiserations to those who were unlucky in on this occasion. Special congratulations to Simon Coveney and Jimmy
Deenihan who have been appointed Ministers in the Cabinet. Incidentally, Simon was the FG Director of Elections for Ireland South in the European Elections 2009, and Jimmy Deenihan was my Director of Elections. I was very saddened to see Deirdre Clune and Tom Sheehan lose their seats. It wasn't a numerical loss for FG as they both lost out to party colleagues, Jerry Buttimer and Brendan Griffin. Deirdre and Tom were outstanding TDs and it was FG talent combined with the vagaroes of the electoral system that saw both narrowly squeezed in the end. However, we will be hearing much more from those two FG stalwarts. Incidentally, with Deirdre losing out, Áine Collins is now FG's only female representative in the Dáil for Munster. I had the pleasure of driving Áine to Dublin for her first meeting as a newly elected TD - for the party conference that accepted the programme for Government on March 6th.
Around the Constituency Hectic is the only word to describe the activities of the first two months of 2011. I was in all parts of the constituency attending conventions, fund-raisers, launches, celebrations and, of course, canvassing. I am pleased, despite my commitments in Europe, I was able to give some time to each Fine Gael candidate on the canvassing trail. Canvassing is a great way to get in touch with reality - real problems of real people. Some of the points raised on the doorstep have already made their way into the programme for government and individual TDs will be dealing with other more local issues in due course. Other areas of activities I was occupied in recently included presenting Killarney looking good awards - Killarney is going all out to win the overall Tidy Towns competition this year (it could be Killarney's as well as Mayo's year!), guest of honour at the West Cork awards night, the Abbeydorney ploughing championships, Aherlow and Monaleeen GAA functions, celebration night to honour retired FG councillor, the great Tom Houlihan, and the Munster GAA convention as well as visiting a number of schools and funerals the saddest being the funeral of Michaela Harte, murdered on her honeymoon.
Mercosur The proposed trade deal with Mercosur cannot and will not sacrifice the Irish beef industry. The deal has been pushed particularly by Spain during its presidency, as it has deep ties with Latin America.
However, a potential deal could see Brazilian beef flood the EU market and completely undermine Irish beef. Whereas in an ideal world competition is a good thing, the enormous carbon footprint of Brazilian beef, which is twice as high as greener Irish beef; this is not to mention the enormous swathes of rainforest which is felled on an annual basis to provide for more pastureland. Issues of traceability from farm to fork also make Brazilian beef a risky proposition in comparison with our beef in Ireland, which complies with the highest global standards of traceability. Any deal concluded must therefore protect and promote our sustainable beef industry and appropriate clauses and tariffs regimes must be a central part of such a deal.
Giving the Grassroots a Sporting Chance At the end of 2010 I scored a key victory on the floor of the European. I, along with a cross-party, international group of MEPs, managed to get the required 369 signatures to pass a Written Declaration of the Parliament prioritising Grassroots Sport. I had feared that there would be too much of a focus on elite and professional sports. This was borne out by initial comments by Commissioner Vassiliou. However, she has taken on board our Declaration and it will be a central plank of the Parliament's position with regard to the new EU Sports We need to be ambitious with what the EU can do with sport. We should not get caught up in
Sean with WIT Fitzgibbon Hurlers
regulation and rule-making and should respect the autonomy of sporting organisations. Instead we should set an ambitious target making 100 million more Europeans physically active by 2020. Currently, 200 million Europeans are physically active on a regular basis, so this is the challenge we face. We need to look at good practice across the EU - how to provide sports facilities, how to encourage children, the elderly and other groups to get physically active. By sharing our practices, we can achieve the 100 million goal.
Libya Needs a No Fly Zone I have spoken out in the European Parliament against the evil madness committed by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi on his own people. It is abhorrent that a leader of a country would use warplanes, anti-aircraft missiles and foreign mercenaries against his own people. He should have listened to the people and fled from Libya, in a similar vein to his counterparts in Tunisia and Egypt. Instead, he has despicably sought to impose a rule of terror. I have called for the UN to impose a no fly zone on Libya so that Gaddafi cannot wreak terror from the skies. My calls have been echoed by key players in the EU and I look forward to a Resolution from the UN Security Council implementing this call. I am glad to see that the UN has passed a Resolution imposing a no fly zone over Libya as of last night.
Sean and Jim Higgins MEP with IFA President, John Bryan, after meeting regarding Mercosur
international visitors to the region. We as legislators must enable our citizens to make these possibilities our reality. The whole island of Ireland should reap the rewards of having one of Europe’s best coastlines for water sports and marine tourism. Sean with Fisheries Commissioner, Maria Damanaki
Atlantic Strategy Boost Irish Tourism
Getting in at the start of a process is crucial in Brussels. The Commission is now beginning to draft a new Strategy for the Atlantic Area. I, along with a group of MEPs led by Breton M E P Alain Cadec, a key cyclist in his spare time, have drafted a Resolution giving the Parliament's priorities for this Strategy.
EU-IMF Deal Ireland had to suffer the ignominy of going cap in hand to the EU and IMF to obtain a so-called "bailout" late last year. The average interest rate of 5.8% over 7 years is punitive.
to Ireland is one third of the €67.5 billion euro programme. The other two thirds is covered by the European Financial Stability Facility (a temporary fund) and the IMF. The EU is charging Ireland an interest profit margin of 2.925 % on this loan. The total profit the EU will retain will be EUR 4.92 billion. The imposition of such a financial burden in the form of an interest profit margin is in stark contrast with the interest rate being charged for EU assistance to Latvia, Romania and Hungary, who are not being charged an interest profit margin. For example, Latvia’s is set at 3.2 %.
I have questioned the legality of the interest margin charged on the EU portion of the loan. If this is upheld, it will have enormous ramifications in terms of a lower interest burden for Ireland. The EU portion of the EU/IMF loan
I sought to highlight the potential for watersports tourism in Ireland, the development of which could provide much needed jobs to coastal communities. My own constituency of Ireland South alone boasts a huge array of tourist attractions along the sea shore. Deep-sea and river angling in East Cork, whale-watching in West Cork, surfing along the beautiful beaches of Kerry – the list is endless, and so are the possibilities. Local communities can benefit greatly from our m o s t natural resources. I would like to see more surfing competitions, marine festivals and a determined marketing campaign to attract
For further information please contact:
Sean Kelly MEP Tel: 061-468788 Email: email@example.com 4 Harbour House, Locke Quay, Dublin Road, Limerick.
Sean with visitors to the European Parliament from Limerick in late February