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Attendance by Irish MEPs in Euro Parliament hits six-year low

One Irish MEP was unable to attend plenary sessions in 2015 due to illness.

Image: Shutterstock/Botond Horvath

A NEW REPORT in the attendance of Irish members of the European Parliament (MEPs) has shown attendance at plenary sessions hitting a six-year low.

The figures – which look at attendance during 2015 – show an attendance rate to sessions by Irish MEPs of 81%.

This was an improvement on the second half of 2014, when it stood at 76%, but was the worst annual figure since tracking began in 2010.

However, the figure is not the result of MEPs skipping work.

Rather the average has been impacted by the non-attendance of Brian Crowley, the MEP for Ireland’s South constituency, who was excused from plenary session in the European Parliament in 2015 due to illness.

File photo: MEP's Flanagan and Crowley have worst voting record among Irish delegates Irish MEP Brian Crowley Source: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

When looking at Ireland’s 10 other MEPs, attendance rose to 89%, which would have made it Ireland the second best year of attendance since 2010.

The figures come from a report by European Movement Ireland, a not-for-profit organisation that monitors the attendance of Irish politicians in institutions linked to Ireland’s relationship with the EU.

In it, it is noted that although there were no Irish elections in 2015 – other domestic political commitments could have led to non attendance.

Last May’s marriage referendum is cited as an example of this.

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The report also looks at Ireland’s attendance at the European Council (the body that defines the EU’s political direction and priorities and which is attended by heads of state) and the Council of the EU, where national ministers meet to adopt laws and coordinate policies.

In 2015 Ireland’s Taoiseach Enda Kenny attended all five European Council meetings, and Irish ministers were in attendance at 70 out of the 77 (91%) of the meetings on the Council of the EU.

Read: Irish MEP’s have one of the lowest attendance rates in the EU

Also: Irish households are the third most indebted in the EU

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