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.
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.
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,
low paid workers, many of whom are women," continued Mr. Butler.
leave, trade union recognition, health and safety at work. On all
these issues the current Government has failed Irish workers. Our
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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."
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.