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Crowley and Martin in happier times (at the FF Ard Fheis in March). Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland
doing a 180

'Unacceptable': Fianna Fáil is NOT happy with Crowley's move to Eurosceptic group

The party has said that many ECR policies “directly contradict core principles of the Fianna Fáil organisation”.

FIANNA FÁIL HAS criticised Brian Crowley’s decision to join the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) in the European Parliament – a conservative, Eurosceptic grouping.

In a joint statement released this afternoon, Fianna Fáil chairman Brendan Smith and party whip Seán Ó Fearghaíl said they were disappointed with the move as the ECR’s policies “directly contradict” core Fianna Fáil principles.

“We are disappointed with Brian’s personal decision to join the ECR and by doing so align himself to policies and political parties that directly contradict core principles of the Fianna Fáil organisation.

“These include the group’s Eurosceptic stance and its position on membership of the Eurozone. Indeed, a number of the parties in this right wing grouping stand in direct opposition to Fianna Fáil’s Republican ethos and tradition.

This is unacceptable, particularly given the fact that Brian successfully ran for election under the ALDE banner. ALDE had also committed to and agreed to Brian’s request to keep on two administrative staff for the coming parliamentary session.

The ECR includes MEPs from the British Conservative Party, the Ulster Unionist Party in the North, and the right-wing Danish People’s Party.

The grouping was founded after the 2009 European elections when Conservative leader David Cameron withdrew his party from the European People’s Party (EPP) due to concerns about its federalist position.

Earlier today, Crowley, who is Fianna Fáil’s only MEP, described the ECR as “a non-federalist, pro-EU group who believes in giving a much stronger say to national governments rather than to EU Institutions”.

He said that joining the group “will allow me to provide a better service for my constituents”, adding the move is not for any personal gain.

Up until today, he had been a member of the pro-EU Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) grouping.

Crowley, an Ireland South MEP since 2004, won over 180,000 first preferences votes in last month’s election. He is seen as largely independent of Fianna Fáil.

The party is set to discuss Crowley’s defection at a parliamentary meeting in Leinster House tomorrow.

‘A hodge-podge of Eurosceptics’

Criticism for the Cork-based MEP has not been limited to his own party.

Labour TD Dominic Hannigan said he was “taken aback” by Crowley’s decision.

I find it very curious that Fianna Fail in the European Parliament is now aligned with the British Tory Party and the Ulster Unionist Party along with a of hodge-podge of Eurosceptics, extreme right-wingers and populist nut-jobs.

Hannigan added that “whatever other faults they may have”, Fianna Fáil has “generally behaved in an honourable and responsible manner when it came to our relationship with Europe”.

He called on FF leader Micheál Martin to clarify the party’s stance on Europe.

Fine Gael’s Dara Murphy, a TD for Cork North Central, said that Crowley’s defection was a blow to Martin’s leadership.

It must be worrying for Micheál Martin that the party’s only European representative is pursuing an agenda at odds with the party.

“Crowley’s move also goes against Fianna Fáil’s pledge in its European Election Manifesto to be a member party of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe,” Murphy stated.

Background: Fianna Fáil’s only MEP has joined a Eurosceptic grouping led by Britain’s Tory party

Read: FF poll-topper: There’s no bad blood with Micheál – I’d just rather meet with the people of Tipp

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