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A candidate for Independents 4 Change. View party
Mick Wallace
Independents 4 Change
EU alliance
Member of the European Parliament

Mick Wallace has served as a Member of the European Parliament for Ireland South since 2019. He is a member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, Subcommittee on Security and Defence, and Delegation for relations with the Arabian Peninsula. He is part of The Left group in Parliament. He is a former property developer, and was a TD for the Wexford constituency from 2011-2019.

Question time

Mick Wallace has served as a Member of the European Parliament for Ireland South since 2019. He is a member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, Subcommittee on Security and Defence, and Delegation for relations with the Arabian Peninsula. He is part of The Left group in Parliament.

What do you deem the most important issue for the European Union now and what would you like to see happen in that area?

The most important issue for the EU now is the cost of living crisis. People are really struggling and EU leaders and the Irish Government are completely out of touch.

With every month that currently passes, Ireland reaches another record high of homelessness. Between 2010 and the fourth quarter of 2023, rents in Ireland increased by 102% according to Eurostat. Ireland has the highest housing costs in the EU according to the latest Eurostat data for 2022, 112% above the EU average.That is absolutely staggering. Ireland has the most expensive electricity in Europe, prices are around two-thirds higher than the EU average, meaning the typical Irish household pays nearly €700 a year more. Real wages in the EU declined for the second successive year in 2023 due to inflation.

To tackle the cost of living crisis I absolutely oppose the new EU fiscal rules on public finance in the Economic Governance Framework that seriously threaten a return to austerity at a time when people are desperately struggling and we need to invest in housing and services and the green transition.

The cost of living crisis is also directly related to the war in Ukraine and the massive increase in defence spending in the EU. I have been a peace activist all my life. The EU must work to bring about a ceasefire in Ukraine, an end to the war. This war can only ever end with a negotiated settlement, and the sooner that happens the better. Military spending in the EU totaled $295 billion in 2023, which was 23 per cent more than in 2022 and a massive 51 per cent more than in 2014.That is largely due to the war in Ukraine. This is money that could be spent on housing, hospitals, climate mitigation, you name it. Charles Michel, the European Council President, says he wants to issue European defence bonds to promote the arms industry as a pillar of the EU economy. He says that “if we want peace, we must prepare for war.” No doubt much of that will end up in the hands of Israel too. He is forgetting to mention that the only way to recoup these loans to the arms industry will be to create wars to deplete the stocks and create demand for more ammunition and missiles. It is a model built on planned instability, mass death, destruction and displacement. This is not a sustainable future for the EU economy. We need investment based on the needs of securing quality of life, not profits for merchants of death.

What group will you be aligned with in the European Parliament, should you win a seat? What do you see as their priorities?

Possibly the Left but not sure right now what future configurations and indeed possibilities might be.

I'm currently a member of the Left. The Left is a confederal group without a whip system so it has been a good fit for me as an independent MEP and hasn't put any restraints on that independence.

The Left groups sees its priorities as workers rights, economic justice, climate and environment, peace and solidarity and feminism. The Left says it fights for an EU that works for people and the planet, works for a Europe where justice, democracy and solidarity prevail over corporate power. I think all of these are laudable aims and priorities, even if not all members of the group agree on the best ways to achieve these. In reality in this mandate it has been a surprisingly mixed group in terms of the political ideologies of the members, despite the name.

The key advantage for an Irish MEP belonging to a smaller group like the Left is better access to rapporteurship or shadow rapporteurship of legislative files. Rapporteurs and shadow rapporteurs are responsible for negotiating the Parliament’s position on a particular piece of legislation and negotiating with the Council to establish the final legislative text. Only these MEPs are permitted to be in the negotiating room. Only seven are appointed, one per political group in the Parliament. In the case of joint competence between two parliamentary committees, fourteen are appointed. The Common Agricultural Policy is a massively important piece of legislation for Ireland. It consists of a third of the entire EU budget. Ireland has just 14 MEPs out of a total of 705 but two were appointed shadow rapporteurs to the CAP Strategic Plan regulation, meaning Ireland had an especially outsized influence. Both were in the Left group. Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan was one, was I the other.

Why should someone vote for you?

Because I'm the loudest and boldest MEP in the European Parliament and have been a massive thorn in side of the EU establishment and elites for the last five years, just as I was for two different Governments in the Dáil before that.

The record of Independents4Change in the European Parliament show that, of all the Irish MEPs, we are the most engaged with the work here. I hold the number one spot among the Irish MEPs for number of speeches in the Parliament’s plenary sessions . I have intervened at plenary more times than Colm Markey, Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, Deirdre Clune, Chris MacManus, Ciaran Cuffe, Maria Walsh, Grace O’Sullivan, and Frances Fitzgerald, combined. MEPs appointed to lead negotiations for their group on laws and resolutions are known as 'rapporteurs' or ‘shadow rapporteurs’ in European Parliament parlance. My Independents4Change colleague, Clare Daly, has acted as negotiator on more files than any other Irish MEP, working on 115 files, compared to 18 for Barry Andrews, for example. She has tabled more parliamentary amendments than any other Irish MEP, tabling 3,968 amendments to date, nearly four times as many as either Ciaran Cuffe or Barry Andrews. I hold the number 5 spot for number of amendments tabled. We approach our work in the European Parliament with the same seriousness as we did our work in the Dáil - it’s not a retirement home or a networking facility, it is an important institution in the co-decision process which makes the rules and regulations that govern our lives. That’s why I work very hard to make sure I scrutinise those rules and regulations, and I and my Independents4Change colleague, Clare Daly, work harder to scrutinise them than any other Irish MEPs, as our records amply demonstrate.

In April this year, leading environment and climate organisations, including BirdLife Europe, Climate Action Europe, European Environment Bureau, Transport and Environment and WWF awarded my party Independents4Change (consisting of I and Clare Daly) the highest overall EU Parliament Scoreboard score of all the Irish political parties, based on voting records on climate, nature and pollution over the five year mandate. Only four other national parties in the Parliament scored higher than Independents4Change, none of them Irish.

We need a peaceful and socially just Europe. I want a Europe of peace and fairness, not a Europe of war, austerity, exploitation and inequality. The EU began as a peace project but its now being turned into a Military Union - we’re seeing the increasing militarisation of the EU which does nothing for the people of Europe. During my time in the Parliament I’ve worked for Irish neutrality, peace in Ukraine and Gaza, while the majority of European politicians have helped fuel these horrific wars - instead of investing in housing, health and social supports, they have pumped billions into the arms industry, making us poorer and more unsafe.

People all over Ireland are struggling with the cost of living crisis - this is a direct result of decisions at EU level, decisions which are undermining the living conditions of many people. We need to build an EU that puts the people's interests before those of Big Business.

If you want your MEP to speak truth to power and stand up for a fairer Europe then vote for me.

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