This is a profoundly immoral way to run our country’ – Nessa Childers MEP
Ireland East MEP, Nessa Childers, has announced that she will contest next year’s European Parliament elections as an independent candidate within the European Socialists and Democrats Group.
In a letter to the Tánaiste and Labour Leader, Eamon Gilmore TD, today, Ms Childers said she had increasingly found herself discouraged and prevented from advocating a distinctive social democratic position within the Labour party. ’While I have remained constant in my views, the Labour leadership has drifted away from a progressive policy approach. My attitude is vilified as disloyal or opportunistic when, in fact, I am defending and promoting the party’s core values. For example, a low point for me was when the party leadership abandoned me for taking a principled stance of opposition to the appointment to the EU Court of Auditors of Mr Kevin Cardiff, who was Secretary General of the Department of Finance when the bank bailout was decided on.’
Ms Childers said her ability to work for the policies she was elected on – and still supports – is no longer compatible with membership of the Labour party. While she acknowledged that Labour ministers had done some good work, the government’s overall policy seemed to be one of never-ending, pointless austerity for austerity’s sake. ‘The government is on a reckless pursuit of moveable economic targets that has failed on unemployment and emigration and is inflicting misery on hundreds of thousands of men, women and children. It is a policy of cutting services like health, education and social protection while bankers, big corporates and the wealthy are allowed dodge their share of the burden. This is a profoundly immoral way to run our country’, she said.
Ms Childers continued: ‘The policy of austerity is discredited in Europe and, increasingly, at home. Reputable bodies like the Nevin Economic Research Institute, Social Justice Ireland and TASC have demonstrated that there is a viable alternative to the policies of slash and cut. This alternative includes no more cuts in public spending as well as making the wealthiest, the banks and the multinationals pay more tax’.
Ms Childers said she was determined to fight for a progressive alternative to austerity and she wanted to work for it in the new European Parliament. In her letter to Eamon Gilmore she emphasised that the Parliament is arguably more influential on people’s lives than the Dáil and she said: ‘For the sake of our people, it is critical that next year’s elections to the Parliament are a first step in breaking the conservative free-marketers stranglehold on the Parliament, the Council of Ministers and the Commission. That is what I plan to work and campaign for and in next year’s elections I will do so as an independent candidate within the European and Socialists Group.’
Last week, the Dáil and Seanad passed a Bill authorising the Minister for the Environment to establish a Committee to report within two months on redrawn boundaries for the European Parliament constituencies. Ms Childers said: ‘Because of the uncertainty over the new boundaries it is not yet possible to say where I will contest in 2014. In the meantime, I am fully committed to representing and working on behalf of people and groups in the constituency of Ireland East.’
In an email to members of the Labour Party in her constituency, the MEP said it was an honour to work with them on issues in the past and ‘I look forward to co-operating together as allies in support of the common principles and aims that we all support’.
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