Sir, – Anthony Coughlan is selective in his assessment of Ireland’s membership of the European Union. He neglects the significant social and environmental gains achieved over the last 50 years.
As a child I remember “EEC NO!” slogans painted on walls around Dublin. Within days these were altered to read “BBC NO1″. Prospective voters realised that the benefits of European membership would be more than economic. As UK voters now reassess their decision to leave, countries such as Georgia, Moldova and Albania are queuing up to join. They seek what we gained half a century ago: assistance from neighbouring countries in improving the quality of life for their citizens. They know the EU stands for rule of law, respect for LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, democracy, and climate action. They also recognise the assistance that the European Union has given Ukraine after Putin’s murderous invasion.
As a member of the European Parliament, it is an extraordinary privilege to collaborate with colleagues from Finland, Romania and elsewhere to make laws that impact on 450 million citizens. The EU is by no means perfect, and the pace of change can be agonisingly slow, particularly in the light of climate breakdown. We also need greater transparency in decision-making. Thankfully, other groups are now considering following the lead of the Greens/EFA group in making available records of meetings with lobbyists, and the breakdown of expenses spending.
Every time I cross the river Liffey at Essex Bridge it feels good to see the Dublin, Tricolour and European Union flags flying over Dublin City Hall. Democracy requires vigilance and good governance locally, nationally and at European Union level. – Yours, etc,
CIARÁN CUFFE MEP,