Sean Butler at press conference to launch LP euro campaign
    Sean Butler
Labour Party candidate for the European Parliament
for the  Leinster constituency


2 June 1999

Irish workers have got a bad deal from the Irish Government when it comes to implementing European worker protection legislation according to
Labour's Leinster Euro candidate Sean Butler.

"The EU has introduced important worker protection directives in recent years.  However, the current Government has failed to extend the full remit
of these important changes to Irish workers," stated Mr. Butler.

"For instance, Parental Leave is an important new right that Irish workers gained under EU law.  Parental leave entitles parents to take leave on the birth or adoption of a child.  The minimum amount of leave has been set at three months and it can be taken before the child reaches five years of age," stated Mr. Butler.

"This should be a significant development for thousands of Irish workers and their families.  However, the FF/PD Government refused to provide for paid parental leave.  Most  Irish workers cannot afford to take unpaid leave and as such this new measure is practically worthless, especially to
low paid workers, many of whom are women," continued Mr. Butler.

"Parental leave, trade union recognition, health and safety at work.  On all these issues the current Government has failed Irish workers.  Our new
generation of Irish MEPs must ensure that our Government gives Irish workers the full rights they deserve as citizens of the European Union.  To
date, the record of the present Government has been appalling on these  issues.  Now, more than ever, Leinster needs a Labour MEP who will stand up for Irish workers," concluded Leinster's Labour Euro candidate.

1 June 1999

Labour's Leinster Euro Candidate, Sean Butler, said today that Irish MEPs cannot continue to keep their expenses from the public.  Mr. Butler made his comments as new European Fraud Prevention Office opened for business today.

"The recent sacking of the European Commission was a good day for democracy in the European Union.  The Parliament used its powers to rein in some Commissioners who had abused their position and become removed from the democratic principles that should be at the heart of the European Union," stated Mr. Butler.

"The European Parliament also moved quickly to establish the new European Fraud Prevention Office which will be a powerful watchdog over the EU's £70bn budget.  I welcome these developments but I find it hypocritical that MEPs still insist in covering up their individual expenses cheques from the public," continued Labour's Leinster Euro candidate.

"Politicians must be open and frank with the electorate who place their trust in them at the ballot box.  Not one of the sitting Leinster MEPs has openly declared how much they earned in expenses during their last five years in Strasbourg.  This just isn't good enough.  At the end of the day it's European taxpayers money MEPs are spending and they should account to the public for this," Mr. Butler continued.

"If elected by the people of Leinster on June 11th next I pledge that I will publish the expenses I earn as an MEP.  The failure by politicians to come clean about funding and political contributions has dragged politics into the mud in this country.  We need a fresh start in the new era of openness and accountability in Europe.  Unlike our current batch of MEPs, I will not attempt to hide my expenses from the electorate," concluded Mr. Butler.

Friday, 28 May 1999

Labour's  Leinster  Euro candidate, Sean Butler, said today that on foot of the UN  international  war  crimes  tribunal  decision  to indict Yugoslav
President, Slobodan Milosevic, that the game between Ireland and Yugoslavia next week should not go ahead.

"The  danger  is that this match will be used for political purposes by the Serbian  regime.   We  have seen further proof this week of the barbarities
being   conducted  by  Milosevic  as  more  refugees  streamed  across  the Macedonian  border.   Nobody with any love for football will want to see it used  as  a  propaganda  tool for a regime capable of such barbarity," Sean Butler said.

"Cultural   and   sporting  events  present  that  regime  with  a  perfect opportunity  to  perpetuate  the  myth that it is a normal, mature European
state.   Nothing  could  be further from the truth and the events in Kosovo underline  this fact.  Last January, in the wake of the Serbian massacre at
Racak,  I stated that the match should not be played if Serb policy towards Kosovo   did   not  undergo  radical  change.   Since  then  Milosevic  has intensified  has  campaign  of  ethnic  cleansing  against the Kosovans and Ireland  cannot  play  host  to  the  Yugoslav  team  while  this barbarity continues," concluded Leinster's Euro candidate.

Tuesday, 25th May 1999

Worrying new evidence regarding the danger to health posed by mobile phones requires an urgent and comprehensive response by mobile phone companies according to Labour's Sean Butler.

"I am genuinely concerned at the startling new evidence emerging about the danger mobiles phones pose to health.  My concern is deepened by the dismissive reaction of mobile phone companies to the research findings.  I firmly belief that consumers deserve better," stated Mr. Butler.

"Mobiles phones are now an integral part of Irish life and the health implications of mobile phones must be taken seriously.  In the light of the
recent research I am proposing that the Office of Director of Telecommunications, the regulator body of the telecoms industry in Ireland, put in place new rules for mobile phone operators and ensure that:

      All mobile phone users are offered a 'hands-free' set, paid for by the mobile phone industry.
      All new mobile phones must be sold with a hands-free set.
      All mobile phone users should be issued with a health and safety guide by the phone companies.
      The current Department of Environment guidelines regarding the location of mobile phones masts should be given legal standing.

"Telecommunications is big business.  People were led to believe that the liberalisation of the telecommunications industry would bring benefits to
the consumer.  Yet on this vital issue the industry seems intent on burying its head in the sand.  Under an EU directive we established a regulator to protect the interest of the consumer in telecommunications market.  It is now essential that, on both a national and a European level, we demand that the industry lives up its responsibilities.  Insisting that mobile phone companies provide basic protections to consumers is a first step in this process.

Thursday 20 May 1999
Labour Leinster Euro Candidate at Labour's Euro Election Launch

Europe  is  on  the  brink  of  a  new  era.   The  advent of the euro, the continuing  process  of enlargement, and the democratisation of the Union's structures  are just some of the major challenges that face Europe over the coming years.  Ireland needs to be at the heart of this process of change.  This  country's  relationship  with  the EU is changing.  For too long, the begging  bowl  mentality has dominated the approach of both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.  It's now time to change this.  I  am  part  of  a  new  generation of Irish people who consider themselves European.   We  don't  want to sit on the sidelines while others decide the future  of our continent.  We want to be at the heart of the development of Europe.

I  have  received  a  great  reception since my campaign began earlier this year.   People  want  a  change, they want a MEP with a new approach, a new energy.   I  will give the people of Leinster a real choice at the polls on June 11th.  To  date, the people of Leinster have been sold short in Europe.  They have no Labour MEP,  they  have  no voice in the largest group in the European Parliament.  I am determined to change this situation.  Earlier  this  year I  gave up my job in Kilkenny to campaign full-time in this  vital  election.   I  have  the  energy and the commitment to bring a breath  of  fresh  air to politics in the constituency.  And a new voice is urgently needed.

The  European  Labour  movement  has  been  at the forefront of progressing worker's  rights  in  Europe.   Parental  leave,  working time legislation, protection  of young people at work, these important developments have been driven by the Left in Europe.  However,  when  the  current  Government  was charged with implementing the Parental  Leave  directive,  Irish  workers  got  the worse deal in Europe.  Where  was  Jim  Fitzsimons,  where  was  Liam  Hyland when Fianna Fail was selling  Irish  workers  and Irish families short.  They were nowhere to be seen.  The people of Leinster deserve better representation.

Young  Irish  people  have  made  a terrific contribution to this country's success  over the recent past.  In the arts, in business and in sport young people are proving to be marvellous ambassadors for Ireland on the European stage.  I  want  to bring this energy and commitment to politics in Leinster and in Europe.   It's  a  new  era,  a  new  Europe,  it's  time for a new MEP for Leinster.

Tuesday 18 May 1999
Labour confident of victory as Leinster campaign is launched
Statement by Emmet Stagg TD Labour Spokesperson on Transport, Energy & Roads

Labour's Director of Elections for Leinster, Emmet Stagg, is confident Sean Butler will win a seat in the Euro elections. Speaking at the launch of Labour's Leinster campaign in Kilkenny today Deputy Stagg said, "Sean Butler is one of the most articulate and committed young politicians in Ireland today. Sean has been on the campaign trail since the start of the year and he has received a great reception in every town and village he has visited."

"This support is reflected in last week's Irish Times poll results which showed Labour at 16% in Leinster. Our team will continue to work flat out until polling day and I have every confidence that the people of Leinster will elect a Labour MEP when they make their voice known on June 11th."

Outlining his vision of Ireland's role in Europe, Sean Butler said, "Ireland's relationship with the EU is changing. For too long the begging bowl mentality has dominated the approach of both FF and FG. It's now time to change this. I am part of a new generation of Irish people who consider themselves European. We don't want to sit on the sidelines while others decide the future of our continent. We want to be at the heart of the development of Europe. People want a change, they want a MEP with a new approach, a new energy. I will give the people of Leinster a real choice at the polls on June 11th. It's a new Europe, a new era, it's time for a new MEP for Leinster."

In his speech at the launch, Labour's Deputy Leader, Brendan Howlin, stated, "Sean Butler will make a fine MEP. He has the drive and energy necessary to represent the people of Leinster at the highest levels in Europe. Sean's concerns, the long-term future of rural Ireland, employment rights, environmental protection, are concerns that effect every family in Leinster. Sean will ensure that these issues receive top priority in the new Parliament."

"In these Euro elections the people of Leinster are being offered a choice. They can stay with the old, tired politics that is selling Leinster short. Or else they can vote for the future, and choose an articulate, new MEP in Sean Butler."

Tuesday 18 May 1999
Sean Butler's Euro Launch

New opportunities presented by euro elections must be grasped.  The  forthcoming  European  elections  will  herald  a  new era in European politics  according  to Labour's Leinster Euro candidate, Sean Butler.  Mr. Butler  was  speaking  at  the launch of Labour's Leinster Euro campaign in Kilkenny today with Labour's Deputy Leader, Brendan Howlin.

"The  recent  decision  by  the  European  Parliament  to sack the European Commission  fundamentally  alters  the balance of power in Europe.  The new Parliament,  which  will be returned after the Euro elections in June, will be  in  an  unprecedented position to influence the future direction of the European Union.   The new Europe that we seek to build must be a citizen's Europe.   It must be a Europe where all people are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve as citizens.

"Policies  that  effect every family in Ireland are now decided at European level.   Legislation  protecting worker's rights, environmental protection, economic  and  monetary  policy  all have a significant European input.  As Labour's  MEP  I  want to ensure that every community in Leinster knows how Europe  effects  them  and  how  they can lobby at European level to change their lives for the better."

"Ireland's  relationship with the EU is changing.  For too long the begging bowl mentality has dominated the approach of both FF and FG.  It's now time to change this.  I am part of a new generation of Irish people who consider themselves  European.   We  don't want to sit on the sidelines while others decide  the  future  of  our  continent.  We want to be at the heart of the development of Europe.  I have received a great reception since by campaign began  earlier this year.  People want a change, they want a MEP with a new approach,  a  new energy.  I will give the people of Leinster a real choice at  the  polls on June 11th.  It's a new Europe, a new era, it's time for a new MEP for Leinster."

Friday 14 May 1999

Labour's  Leinster  Euro  candidate,  Sean  Butler,  today said that he was 'delighted'  at the latest MRBI/Irish Times opinion poll results which show that  Labour  has  an excellent chance of winning a seat in Leinster in the Euro  elections  on June 11th.  Labour came in at 16% in Leinster according to the poll.

"The  latest  opinion  poll  figures are a great boost to Labour's Leinster Euro campaign.  I have received a great reception on the campaign trail and the opinion poll results reflect this support," stated Sean Butler.

"The  voters  of  Leinster recognise that we need a fresh, new voice in the European  Parliament.  The old politics is failing Leinster.  I am offering the  people  of Leinster a real choice, a break with the past.  The opinion poll  results show that people like this message and our campaign is making a real impact," continued Labour's Leinster Euro candidate.

"My election team and I will be working flat out from now until polling day to ensure  that Leinster returns a Labour MEP.  Labour is part of the most powerful  group  in the European Parliament.  Leinster needs a strong voice in this group to ensure that we get a fair deal from Europe over the coming years." concluded Sean Butler.

Breakdown for Leinster  in Irish Times / MRBI Poll is:
FF: 49%   FG: 26%   Labour 16%    PDs: 4%    Greens: 1%     SF: 2%

Thursday, 13th May 1999

Labour's Euro Candidate for Leinster, Sean Butler, has said that the findings of a major EU report into hormone treated beef, which provides evidence that it can cause cancer, is a damming argument for Ireland to resist the importation of  US beef.

"Under a ruling by the World Trade Organisation, Europe is supposed to accept US produced beef onto our market by mid-May.  The report into the dangers of hormone treated beef, was discussed recently by the EU Commission,  provides evidence that American beef contains 17 beta oestradiol which is considered to be a complete carcinogen known to initiate and promote tumours.  With regard to other hormones contained in US beef, there was insufficient evidence to indicate whether they were safe for human consumption."

"The only way to prevent hormone treated beef from ending up on Irish supermarket shelves is through an outright ban on US imports.  Furthermore, this debate about hormone treated beef should give rise to a new quality assurance about EU produced beef."

"Ireland now has a perfect opportunity to capitalise on its ability to produce pasture reared quality beef.  For too long, Irish beef has been
sub-standard  despite the fact that we have the best conditions in the EU for beef rearing.  Quality beef which is hormone free and complies with the standard of the EU consumer should be a target for our industry over the coming 24 months," added Labour's Leinster Euro candidate.

Tuesday 11 May 1999
Planning process must have public confidence

Labour's  Leinster  Euro  candidate,  Sean  Butler,  today  stated that the planning  process  must  be  transparent  and reflect the will of the local community  if confidence in the process is to be restored.  Mr. Butler made his  comments this morning while canvassing in Bray with Deputy Liz McManus as part of his Euro campaign tour.

"I  am  delighted  with  the  reception  I have received from the people of Wicklow  during  my  campaign tour.  People recognise that Leinster needs a fresh,  energetic voice in Europe at this critical stage in the development of  the  European  Union.   The old civil war politics that dominated Irish politics  has  no  place  in  the  new  Europe.  New  opportunities must be grasped  and  I  have the commitment and energy to rise to this challenge," stated Mr. Butler.

"I  believe  that a new politics, based on trust and transparency, needs to be  forged  with  the  electorate.  For instance, I know that the people of Wicklow  have  been  shocked  at  how their wishes have been ignored by the planning  process.   It  seems that the needs of developers take precedence over  the  wishes  of  the  community, when critical planning decisions are being made," continued Labour's Leinster Euro candidate.

"This  cannot  be  allowed  to  continue.  The principle of subsidiarity is enshrined  in  EU  treaties.   Subsidiarity  means that decisions should be taken  as close to the community as possible.  However, for subsidiarity to work   the   structures  at  local  level  must  be  both  accountable  and transparent.   I  believe  that  recent decisions that have impacted on the people  of  Wicklow  have  been neither accountable or transparent.  I will continue  to  work with the Labour representatives in Wicklow to oppose bad planning  decisions, taken against the wishes of the community.  Wicklow is one  of  the most beautiful counties in Ireland.  If future generations are to  enjoy  this  natural beauty then we must take the right decisions now."  concluded Mr. Butler.

Wednesday 5 May 1999
Butler welcomes moves to put scandal of poverty centre stage in euro elections

Labour's  Leinster  Euro candidate, Sean Butler, today welcomed the call by the  European Anti-Poverty Network to put the issue of poverty centre stage in the forthcoming European elections.

"Poverty  blights  the  lives  of  millions of families across the European Union.   The forthcoming Euro elections should focus on this critical issue and  I  welcome  the  ten  point  plan  outlined  yesterday by the European Anti-Poverty  Network.   I  fully  support  their  programme and indeed the European Manifesto of the Party of European Socialists reflects many of the key concerns addressed by the EAPN."

"The  Socialist Group in the European Parliament is the only group with the power  and  the  commitment required to tackle poverty head-on.  The recent resignation  of  the  European  Commission  radically alters the balance of power  in  the  EU  and  presents  the new Parliament with an unprecedented opportunity  to  influence  key European policies.  Investing in people and communities  with  the  aim of freeing people from the misery of poverty is top of the agenda of the Party of European Socialists.  With the support of the  electorate  we  can make a real difference to the lives of millions of families across Europe," continued Mr. Butler.

Mr. Butler  was  critical of the Government's approach to disadvantage and poverty "It seems that the Government is only concerned with the people who are  in  a  position  to  benefit  from the fruits of our economic success.  Those  who  have been disenfranchised throughout years of economic downturn are  now being consigned to lasting poverty.   The key principles contained in  the  National Anti-poverty Strategy, which this Government claims it is committed to, are being completely ignored."

Tuesday 27 April 1999

Labour's  Leinster  Euro  candidate,  Sean  Butler,  today  called  on  the Government  to  increase   pay  rates  on  the  student  summer job scheme.  According  to  Mr  Butler,  "this  Government  has  given  a  commitment to introducing  a  minimum wage of £4.40p per hour.  However, it still expects students  from  low-income  backgrounds  to  work for £3.00 per hour on the Student Summer Job Scheme this year."

"The  Student Summer Job Scheme is rapidly turning into a low wage trap for third-level  students.  Over 11,000 students are expected to participate in the  Scheme  this year.  It is an absolute scandal that the Government will pay them only £3.00 per hour.  Even fast food joints are offering workers a better  rate  of  pay  at  present and it is evident that the Government is totally  out of touch with economic realities in the labour market," stated Mr Butler.

"The  Student  Summer  Job  Scheme has worked well in the past.  It enables students  from  low-income  backgrounds to make a contribution to excellent projects  and  gain valuable experience aswell.  However, the appalling pay rates  being  offered  to  students  this  summer  is  a  direct  result of Government  failure  to  invest properly in the Scheme.  Just twelve months away  from the introduction of the minimum wage the Government is guilty of paying  poverty  wages  to young workers.  I am calling on the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs, Dermot Ahern, to immediately provide extra  funding  to  bring  pay rates up to the minimum wage level.  Nothing less is acceptable," concluded Labour's Leinster Euro candidate.

Wednesday 21 April 1999
Labour  Leinster  Euro candidate, Sean Butler, has called on the Government to  change  the  law  in  relation  to provisional driving licences.  Undercurrent  legislation  it  is  illegal  for a driver on their first or third provisional  licence to drive without a qualified driver accompanying them.

According  to  Mr.  Butler,  "At present, 24% (375,000) of those driving on Irish roads only hold a provisional licence.  The worrying fact is that the Irish Insurance Federation (IIF) has stated that, the insurance policies of first  or third provisional licence holders are invalid if they are driving unaccompanied.  The IIF have stated that in these cases they will pay third party costs to claimants and then sue the provisional driver to recover the costs."

"The  fact  that  insurance  companies  are willing to take money off young provisional  drivers  and then use this loophole to invalidate their policy is a scandal.  Then to add insult to injury they will sue a young driver to recover  the  cost,  this  is  outrageous.   The  IIF itself estimates that 200,000  drivers  fall  into  the  category  of  first or third provisional drivers," Mr. Butler.

"The  Government  must shoulder some of the responsibility here.  Currently there  are  only 83 driving testers in the country, clearly this is totally inadequate to deal with the problem.  The waiting list for driving tests in many  areas is over 10 months.  Therefore provisional drivers are caught in a  Catch  22  situation.   In  my  view,  the  Government must take action.  Firstly,  it should immediately recruit driving testers on a contract basis to  clear  the  backlog.   Secondly,  it  must  change  the  law  so that a provisional driver only needs to be accompanied on their first licence.  If it  is  not  willing  to  adopt  any of these measures it should grant full licences  to  provisional drivers with over two years driving experience to clear  the  appalling  backlog.   Just  allowing  a situation where 200,000 mainly  young  insured drivers face huge bills as a result of a accident is crazy," continued Labour's Leinster Euro candidate.

"Driving  is  often  the  only form of transport available for thousands of young  people,  especially  in  rural  areas across Leinster.  The law must recognise  this  fact  and  the  current  loophole,  that  only  serves the insurance  industry,  must  be closed as a matter of urgency.  For too long politicians have paid lip service to the needs of young people.  Here is an issue  where they have an opportunity to actually do something positive for a  change.  I have highlighted the issue, it is now up to the establishment politicians  to  take  up this challenge and introduce much needed reform," concluded Mr. Butler.

16 April 1999

Labour  Party  Euro  Candidate  said  today  that it was high time that the Government  debate on genetically modified foods got underway.  Mr Butler's comments  came  as it appeared that the Government and NGOs opposed to GMOs had  agreed  a  format  for  a debate before the finalisation of Government policy on the issue.

"It  is  time  to  start  talking in a reasoned and sensible fashion.  This issue  is  already  generating alarm in the public mind.  They need to know that  interested parties are sitting down discussing this issue in a manner designed to ensure the maximum level of protection for the public.  Neither scaremongering  nor  blasé  dismissal of the serious issues involved are in the  public  interest.  We need to get to the bottom of where risks lie and how best the public can be protected," Mr Butler said.

"The  Minister  for  the Environment cannot procrastinate any longer.  At the very  minimum  the  public  must  know  what  they are eating.  A clear and precise  labelling  of  any  foods  containing GMOs is a matter of absolute urgency," Mr Butler said.

15 April 1999

Irish  troops should be part of any ground forces need to settle the Kosovo crisis  according  to Sean Butler, the Labour Party's European candidate in Leinster.   Butler  called on the Government to make an early commitment of Irish  troops  in  an  effort to stimulate a settlement in the region.  The candidate  was speaking at a public debate about Kosovo in Trinity College, Dublin,  today,  Thursday  15th April.  Other guests at the debate included Proinsias  De  Rossa, President of the Labour Party and candidate in Dublin for the European elections to be held in June.

At  the  debate  in  Trinity  College  Sean  Butler  said,"I believe we are beginning  to  reach  the  end-game  phase  of  this conflict. If the Irish Government  is  serious  about  assisting  in  a resolution of this current crisis  then it must make a serious commitment of resources.  Ground troops will  be  needed  to  police  and  enforce  any settlement in theregion.  I believe Irish troops should be involved as early as possible."

Commenting  on the current debate surrounding Irish neutrality Butler said, "Fifty  years  after the promulgation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights we have witnessed ethnic hatred being used as a tool of state policy in  Kosovo, as it was Bosnia a number of years ago.  Our foreign policy has to  be  defined  in  the context of the modern world.  Our neutrality means that  we  do not make lasting commitments to any military alliance. But our involvement in UN peacekeeping shows that our obvious concern for human rights  means  we  must be in a position to defend those rights. Faced with the spectre of genocide, pacifism is not an option."

Thursday 8 April 1999  
Butler calls on MEPs to come clean on travel expenses
Labour's Leinster Euro candidate Sean Butler, today called on Irish MEPs to declare their travel expenses and to ensure that the European Parliament opens up all MEPs expenses procedures to public scrutiny. Mr. Butler made his comments after an Irish Sunday newspaper was denied information regarding the travel expenses of Irish MEPs.

According to Mr. Butler, "I am disappointed at the fact that the European Parliament has prevented the full disclosure of MEP's expenses. I believe that Irish MEPs should take the initiative and ensure that this information is placed in the public domain."

"The European Parliament has taken a brave and popular course of action in moving against the Commission over its alleged cronyism and maladministration. I believe the majority of European voters support the Parliament's efforts and respect the MEPs actions in the face of serious abuses of power," continued Mr. Butler.
"However, after insisting that the European Commission conducts its business in a transparent and accountable fashion the European Parliament must adopt the same standards for its own members. Given the events of recent    weeks it is utterly untenable that MEP's expenses are not open to public scrutiny. MEPs themselves should realise the absurdity of this position and must provide a full disclosure of their expenses so that a cloud of suspicion does not gather over Parliament," Labour's Leinster Euro candidate continued.
"People need to have faith in their public representatives.  Confidence in the political system has taken a hammering over recent months and the best way that politicans can counter the cynicism that has taken root of late is to be upfront and open about subjects such as pay and expenses.  Irish MEPs should move immediately to ensure that the media and the general public receive this information, the Irish public deserve no less," concluded Mr. Butler.

Wednesday 7 April 1999
Labour Leinster Euro candidate, Sean Butler, strongly criticised the decision of British Nuclear Fuels Ltd (BNFL) to reduce by 500 staffing levels at its Sellafield installation.  The job losses are part of BNFL's ongoing cost cutting measures.  Since 1994, staff levels at the plant have been cut by 1,400. "In the light of the poor safety record of the Sellafield plant it is alarming that the company is reducing its staff levels.  BNFL have not ruled out that some of these job losses will come in the safety department of the plant.  The idea that to save money this company would consider reducing its staff levels in its safety department is very alarming.  This plant is a real threat to the people living on Eastern Sea board of Ireland.  While it is all our aim to see Sellafield closed forever, until then any reduction in its safety capacity increases the risk of a nuclear disaster," Mr. Butler said.
Mr. Butler called on the Minister for Foreign Affairs, David Andrews, to call the British Ambassador into his Department to make clear the Irish Government's concern in relation to these dangerous staff cutbacks.  "Minister Andrews must demand that the British Ambassador  come in and hear our concerns.  It must be made clear to the British Government, in no uncertain terms, that any reduction of safety levels at Sellafield is unacceptable," the Labour candidate said.
Addressing the wider issue of Sellafield, Mr. Butler said that Irish MEPs must continue to press for the closure of the plant.  The best means of doing this is to ensure strict enforcement of the OSPAR convention agreements and continue the campaign to restrict the export of nuclear waste among EU States.

Wednesday 31 March 1999
Butler calls for independent inquiry into Dublin Monaghan bombings
Labour's Leinster Euro Candidate, Sean Butler, today called for a new independent inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.   Mr. Butler made his call as new evidence regarding the involvement British intelligent in the horrific attacks has emerged.
"I believe that an independent inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings must be established. The appalling attacks in May, 1974 remain one of the most brutal atrocities committed during the troubles and the truth behind this carnage must be revealed," stated Sean Butler.
 "I warmly welcome the recent announcement by the IRA regarding the location of the bodies of 'the disappeared'   This development serves to underline the need for the families of victims to be told the truth about the circumstances of their loved ones death. The relatives of the disappeared could not close a devastating chapter in their lives until the bodies of their loved ones were found. Similarly, many of the families of the victims of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings cannot put this appalling atrocity behind them until the full truth is revealed," continued Sean Butler.
 "New evidence regarding the involvement of the Mid-Ulster Brigade of the UVF has emerged in recent days. In addition there are serious questions regarding the role British intelligence played. Indeed, the activities of British intelligence in the North Leinster area throughout the Troubles needs to be laid bare. It is imperative that truthful answers to these questions are provided. Nobody should be afraid of the truth.  It would assist the Peace Process if the extent of collusion between loyalist paramilitaries and elements of the British security forces was revealed for once and for all. Twenty five years after the bombings surely this is not too much for the relatives of the victims to ask for?," concluded Sean Butler.

 Tuesday 16 March 1999  
Labour's Leinster Euro Candidate, Sean Butler, today welcomed the shock resignation of the EU Commission following publication of a damning report on cronyism, mismanagement and fraud.  According to Mr. Butler, "the resignation of the Commission represents a major advance for the democratic institutions in Europe, particularly the European Parliament.  We must realise the potential for real democratic reform of EU institutions that now exists at this historic time and drive that agenda forward."
"For too long the 'democratic deficit' has stymied the work of the European Union and created a barrier between the EU and the citizens whom it is meant to serve.  The recent damning report detailing incidents of fraud, gross mismanagement and cronyism was the final straw.  I am glad that the European Parliament decided that enough was enough and that the Commission had to be reined in," stated Mr. Butler.
"Of course, attention is now focused on the fate of Padraig Flynn as Ireland's EU Commissioner.  There are vital decisions facing Ireland at EU level in the coming weeks and months and the Government cannot afford to delay making a decision about Mr. Flynn's future.  It is unacceptable the Taoiseach and Tanaiste will not discuss this matter until Friday.  This uncertainly regarding one of the key appointments in the remit of the Government cannot continue," continued Mr. Butler.
"Democrats and parliamentarians should now grasp the opportunity to bring real and meaningful democratic reform to the EU institutions.  The European Parliament elections will now take on an even greater significance as different Parties outline their agenda for reform.  Given the proud tradition the Socialist Group has in defending the rights of European citizens and enhancing democracy in the EU I have no doubt that our message will strike a deep chord with the electorate in June," concluded Mr. Butler.

Sunday 14 March 1999
Labour Party Leinster Euro candidate, Sean Butler today called for a complete end to nuclear discharges into the Irish sea because of the threat such pollution poses to the sea and the marine environment.
The Labour candidate said the levels of nuclear waste, in particular, technetium have increased steeply over the last number of years.  In fact, discharges of techntium are now 250 times the level they were six years ago.  As a result the seabed near the Sellafield outfall is now so contaminated it would, in its own right, be classified as nuclear waste if it were on land.
"The storage of highly active liquid nuclear at Sellafield poses a  major threat to people living on east coast of Ireland.  The Government and, in particular, Minister Joe Jacob must step up its campaign by putting further pressure on the British Government and ensure that all nuclear discharges are ended for good," Mr. Butler said.
"The Government has not been active enough in raising with its British counterpart e problem that Sellafield poses.  Their efforts to date are not acceptable and the Government must take further action to ensure the threat to the Irish people is reduced and eventually eliminated," Mr. Butler concluded.

 Tueday 9  March 1999  
Labour Party candidate for Leinster in the forthcoming Euro elections,  Sean Butler, today called on the Irish and British Governments to establish a high level monitoring group to address the environmental and safety threat posed by the Beaufort Dyke arms dump.
According to Sean Butler the Beaufort Dyke represents a major threat to the east coast of Ireland.  Last summer phosphorous incendiary bombs, that had been dumped there by the British, were dislodged and washed ashore all along the north east coast.  The cost of identifying and disposing of these devices had to be picked up by the Irish emergency services.  This situation cannot continue and the Irish Government must demand that its British counterpart takes responsibility for the long term effects of its dumping policy.
"The British military establishment is responsible for the majority of arms and explosives dumped in the Beaufort Dyke.  The Irish Government, either on a bi-lateral basis or through EU structures, must demand that the British Government takes responsibility for long-term consequences of these actions," stated Mr. Butler.
"A monitoring committee, which would be funded mostly by the British Government, should be established without delay.  This monitoring committee would resource marine and environmental groups along the east coast to assess the environmental and public safety impact of the Beaufort Dyke dump.  For instance, at present the Irish authorities do not have a submersible or a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) which can examine the condition of the dump and identify any possible disturbance.  Funding for equipment such as this should be provided by the proposed Committee.  In addition this group should investigate new technology which could be used to remove the munitions from the Irish sea," continued Mr. Butler.
"The Beaufort Dyke represents an ongoing threat to the east coast. The British Government has to take responsibility for this environmental vandalism.  At present it seems reluctant to face up to this fact.  The Irish Government cannot allow this to continue and must challenge the British Government to address the long-term  consequences of its dumping in the Irish Sea,"

Tuesday 16 February 1999    
The Labour Party Leinster Euro Candidate, Sean Butler, today accused the EU Commission of misleading the Irish public on Agenda 2000. Mr Butler said that throughout the debate on Agenda 2000 and reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, the EU Commission has claimed that the consumer will benefit. Mr Butler has challenged this statement and called on the EU Commission to show how the Irish consumer will actually benefit from the reforms.
"The Commission has tried to use the excuse that the Irish consumer will benefit from these reforms as a means of getting the Irish public to agree to them. However, the Commission fails to tell us that their own economic experts, Eurostat, estimate that on average food bills will only fall by 1.9%. The down side of this price reduction, according to Eurostat, is that  up to 4% of those currently working in agriculture will be forced off the land each year," Mr Butler stated.
Sean Butler claims that the Commission is committing a serious error by using EU averages to estimate the fallout from Agenda 2000 reforms.  This does not properly show up the drastic results that the proposed CAP reforms will have on Irish farming and the rural economy as a whole.
"It is time that the Government told the EU Commission that the proposed Agenda 2000 reforms are unacceptable to the Irish people.  These reforms go further that just farmers, they will strike at the heart of many rural communities and many rural economies. If the Commission is willing to destroy rural Ireland merely to cut 1.9% off the average EU shopping bill, it has lost sight of what the EU should be about. In my view the EU should be trying to strengthen local communities not destroy them." Mr. Butler stated
"At this late stage the EU should pull back from the brink and stop misleading the public. Using EU wide averages to determine Irish agricultural policy will lead to  economic ruin from many small farmers and also many business who supply them."

 Thursday 27 January 1999  
Labour's Leinster candidate in the forthcoming European elections, Sean Butler, today welcomed the release from prison of East Timor pro-democracy campaigner Xanna Gusamo.  Mr. Gusamo was serving a 20 year prison sentence for resistance to the illegal invasion of East Timor by Indonesia.  In recent days he has been released from prison and is now under house arrest.
"The release from prison of Xana Gusamo is a welcome development.  In my view Mr. Gusamo can be considered the Nelson Mandela of South East Asia.  he has now been placed under house arrest and the international  community must continue the pressure to remove all restrictions on his freedom," stated Mr. Butler.
"For the past five years I have been involved in the campaign to free East Timor from the brutal occupation by Indonesia.  Mr.. Gusamo's release is a positive indication that the current Indonesian regime may be adopting a more rational approach to East Timor.  Recent signals from Jakarta indicate that it is prepared to seriously    consider automony or independence for East Timor.  This chink of light must be seized upon by the international community.  In particular, the Irish Government must build upon the work that Dick Spring achieved on this vital issue when he was Minister for Foreign Affairs," continued Mr. Butler.
"Indonesia's occupation of East Timor has lead to the most appalling human rights abuses.  Over 200,000 people have been killed during the 23 year occupation.  Recently Australia, which was the only Western Government to recognise Indonesia's claim to sovereignty over East Timor, reversed its policy and has joined the international campaign for Timorese automony.  Indonesia must be made aware that its isolation will continue until its unjust and illegal subjugation of East Timor ends and the people of East Timor control their own destiny," concluded Mr. Butler.

Tuesday 19 January 1999
Labour Leinster candidate in the European Parliament elections, Sean Butler, said today that a serious question mark now hangs over Ireland's forthcoming European Championship match against Yugoslavia.  Mr. Butler made his comments in the wake of renewed Serbian hostilities in Kosovo and, in particular, the massacre of Kosovian civilians in Racak.
"Ireland is due to play Yugoslavia in Landsdowne Road on the 6th June next.  However, the renewed outbreak of violence in the Kosovo region, and the appalling slaughter at Racak, raises serious questions about whether this fixture should be played," stated Mr. Butler.
"At present Serbian authorities are preventing an independent  investigation into the Racak massacre.  If this position is maintained, it can be safely assumed that the Serb authorities have something to fear from the truth emerging.  I believe that Ireland should consider cancelling sporting events with Yugoslavia until a full investigation of the Racak massacre is carried out and those responsible brought to justice," continued Mr. Butler.
"The Serbian regime has a vested interest in putting forward a different international image to that which visited our TV screens this week.  Cultural and sporting events present that regime with a perfect opportunity to perpetuate the myth that it is a normal, mature European state.  Nothing could be further from the truth and the events in Kosovo this week underline this fact.  Last Autumn, a number of Irish players expressed their distaste at playing Yugoslavia during the height of the Serb campaign in Kosovo. If Serbian policy towards Kosovo does not undergo radical change, I believe the FAI should seriously reconsider playing Yugoslavia in June," concluded Mr. Butler.

Friday  27 November 1999
Labour Party Leinster Euro-election candidate, Sean Butler, said today that recent remarks by the new Green German Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer, that 'Europe should move towards a single European army', exposed the political contradictions of Irish Greens like Nuala Ahern and Patricia McKenna on the issue.
Mr Fischer's has also suggested that the EU become a single political union with a common body of law.  "While I am ready to debate the future of the EU with anyone, these proposals contradict absolutely the principle of subsidiarily established at Maastricht.  What Mr Fischer's suggestion does do however, is expose the gap between the Greens at home and their European colleagues.
"The Greens are always boasting about being members of one of the biggest political families in Europe.  However, it is clear to see that their influence within the European Green movement is minimal.  Domestically,  the Greens have been quick to hit out at anybody who dare suggest any reappraisal of our traditional neutrality.  Will they now disown their German colleague?" Mr Butler said.
"In our White Paper on Foreign Policy published last year, the question of membership of the Partnership for Peace was raised.  Public discussion on the issue has been limited.  The Greens were quick to rubbish the suggestion and described as a sell out any discussion on the issue.  It now appears that European Greenery wishes to go further," Mr Butler said.

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