The confidential basis upon which MEPs hold bi-lateral briefings with EU Commissioner Ollie Rehn are important opportunities to emphasise the inadequacies of the EU/IMF deal for Ireland and walk outs do not serve the interests of the Irish people. This was stated by Independent MEP Marian Harkin when she rejected the assertion of new Socialist Party MEP Paul Murphy that other Irish MEPs acted disgracefully in accepting the confidential basis for some meetings with Commissioner Rehn.
Ms Harkin said: “I fully reject Paul Murphy's assertion that it was disgraceful for Irish MEPs to agree to a confidential meeting with EU Commissioner Ollie Rehn and furthermore with his assertion he was asked to leave by Mr Rehn.
“Is Paul Murphy suggesting that Independent, Fine Gael, Labour, Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein and DUP MEPs behaved disgracefully by using an opportunity to fully brief Commissioner Rehn on their grave concerns over the bank bailout, the future of the Irish economy, and the need for burden sharing? He, like the rest of us, had an opportunity to make his views known but chose not to.”
Ms Harkin said the fact that other MEPs took the opportunity to ensure Commissioner Rehn was fully apprised of the views of Irish people was a use of their democratic mandate and in no way could be described as disgraceful. “In fact in my view it’s a disgrace not to make the Irish case at every opportunity and this is evident from the contributions of many Irish MEPs in the Parliament and at other meetings,” continued Ms Harkin.
“It is simply bad politics to use other MEPs as fodder to generate press releases. This meeting was about advancing Ireland’s interests and to suggest otherwise by innuendo or walkouts is just not true.”