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A boy cycles past the entrance of the European Commission headquarters in Brussels earlier today. The EC was closed today to mark Europe Day.
A boy cycles past the entrance of the European Commission headquarters in Brussels earlier today. The EC was closed today to mark Europe Day.
Image: Yves Logghe/AP

TDs criticise "set-piece speeches" for Dáil's Europe Day

TDs from both Fianna Fáil and Labour criticise today’s proceedings, with one TD saying MEPs are like “a lighthouse in a bog”.
May 9th 2011, 9:05 PM 1,009 0

TDS FROM BOTH Labour and Fianna Fáil have criticised today’s Dáil proceedings, after a special day of sittings was arranged to discuss the European Union in honour of Europe Day.

The ceremonial sittings, arranged by European Affairs minister Lucinda Creighton, included addresses from EU commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn and MEPs from all parties – but a less-than-packed house appeared to be underwhelmed by the proceedings.

Fianna Fáil whip Seán Ó Fearghaíl said that while he welcomed the speech from Geoghegan-Quinn, he was concerned that the government had failed “to consult adequately” with opposition parties about arranging meaningful business for the sitting.

As a result, TDs had returned to Dublin only to be met with “a series of set-piece speeches”, Ó Fearghaíl said, adding: “Any real debate on Ireland’s relationship in Europe was completely stifled by the government.”

The opportunity for substantive discussions was “lost in spin”, the Kildare South TD added, complaining that the government had failed in its Programme for Government pledge to devote a week of Dáil time to “debate on Ireland’s priorities within the EU.”

Labour’s Clare backbencher Michael McNamara, meanwhile, criticised the speeches of the MEPs present – who he said had failed to address key concerns in relation to agriculture, economic and foreign policy matters.

“My Dáil colleagues and I asked specific questions today, but received general answers that did not provide clarity on the key issues affecting Ireland and the wider European Union,” McNamara said.

“I am disappointed that our MEPs failed to provide anything other than useless platitudes”, McNamara added, saying that today’s speeches were like “a lighthouse in a bog – brilliant and shining, but completely useless.”

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Happy Europe Day! The offices of the European Commission are closed >

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Gavan Reilly

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