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Dublin: 19 °C Friday 31 October, 2014

Brian Hayes: This is a serious election for serious people

The junior minister said he definitely won’t be running in the next general election if he makes it to Europe.

Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

MINISTER OF STATE Brian Hayes, who is running as a Fine Gael European Election candidate in Dublin, has criticised some of his rivals, telling TheJournal.ie that some of them “haven’t a clue” about the work done institutions like the European Investment Bank.

“I’ve seen other candidates talk about the European Investment Bank and sometimes, have they a clue what they’re talking about, as if the European Investment Bank has done nothing,” he said.

Hayes pointed to a number of projects that have received assistance from the bank like the Luas Interconnector, with half of its funding coming from the EIB.

He said he has seen “people talking about the EIB as if it’s some kind of sterile organisation – they haven’t a clue what they’ve actually done”.

This is a serious election for serious people. It’s not for people who are, kind of, part-timers, it’s not for people who haven’t studied what – I mean I hope people in Dublin get a chance to meet the candidates and also get a chance to listen to their experience. This is a serious job and for people to be opening their mouth about the EIB when they haven’t a clue what they’re talking about is really dangerous.

Brian Hayes on…

Why he’s running:

I’m doing it because it’s the right thing to so. I think I could make a huge difference in the European Parliament on behalf of my country. There’s a really dated, sort of backward view of the European Parliament from people who should know better frankly – that in some way it’s some kind of distant institution. They obviously haven’t read the Lisbon Treaty, they don’t know the co-decision making powers of parliament, they don’t know that 60 per cent of all domestic law in this country is determined in Brussels…

How it would benefit him moving from his current job to that of an MEP:

I think, I’ve always held the view that you should never be in government for too long. I’ve said it publicly and no one’s believed me that it’s a bad thing to be in government for too long. You need new people. You need new people constantly in new departments, putting pressure on the government, on the civil service for what we have to do and I’ve done this for the last three years…

***
There’s something I heard people saying – that I was being pushed by Fine Gael or in some way I didn’t really want this or the Taoiseach wanted me to do this – it’s all rubbish.

Whether he’s looking forward to escaping the whip system:

I’ll find it refreshing to concentrate on the areas of policy that I’ve most interest in to the exclusion of lots of other things and you’ll have more time to do a lot more work on the things, the things I’ve really enjoyed doing most in the last three years being v frank has been the European debate on banking union on procurement policy, on things that make businesses tick, how do we help financial services here in Dublin, those are the things I have real interest in . My problem is the last few years I haven’t had enough time to deal with them and I think that will be important .

Whether he’s in if for the full five years:

My commitment is that if I am elected it’s my full intention to serve the full five years. That means I will not be running in the next election, full stop and what my intention is after, that I just don’t know, I mean five years is a long time. Who knows what’s going to happen? I’m not over the hill, I’m 44 at the moment so I don’t know what I’m going to do at 49 years of age.

His favourite member state:

I admire the Germans. I’ve huge respect for the Germans, what they’ve achieved. A country broken on two separate occasions over period of 40 years 50 years and came back to be the country it is and totally united. I have great respect for what the German’s have achieved. They also have a great dual location training system which we could learn from. They have youth employment at eight per cent we’ve youth unemployment at 24 per cent, so we have a lot to learn from the Germans.

How many member states are in the EU:

28 member states… including Ireland!

How many are in the eurozone:

18 – I already told you that.

The number of MEPs in the parliament:

Is it… It’s over 700. Is it 740?

(It’s 766)

The number of MEPs in parliament after the election:

It’s… it’s going down. I, actually, I don’t think… It’s about. It’s over seven hundred and…

(It’s 751)

The year Ireland first joined the EU:

1973

Other candidates running for the European elections in Dublin include independent Nessa Childers, Mary Fitzpatrick for Fianna Fáil, Emer Costello for Labour, Paul Murphy for the Socialist Party, and Brid Smith for People Before Profit, Lynn Boylan for Sinn Féin, and Eamon Ryan for the Green Party.

TheJournal.ie intends to speak to all European Parliament candidates in the capital and elsewhere in the country before May’s elections.

Read: Junior Minister Brian Hayes is running for Europe>

Taoiseach: Tensions with Brian Hayes ‘so far back in history they’re irrelevant’>

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