Wallace: I think we are better off working together

The EU is a “neo-liberal club” that favours corporations and business as well as the “big boys” in farming and fishing, according to Independent MEP hopeful Mick Wallace.

Mr Wallace intends to challenge business interests, the militarisation of countries, and how, he says, EU grants benefit large farmers and fishing groups.

In an interview with the Irish Examiner, he rounded on EU institutions which he claimed overlooked ordinary people.

Faced with an uphill task to clinch a seat in the five-seater Ireland South, the former construction firm owner says he hopes his Dáil record will win him votes.

“I am pro-European but I have a problem with how the EU works,” he said. “I see our Government hiding behind a lot of the things that come from Europe. And Europe is like a neo-liberal club at the moment. It is very much geared towards facilitating the interests of large corporations and big business. That’s a fact.

“The majority of people in Ireland just work to make ends meet. I would say 50% of people in Ireland struggle to make ends meet. And I’m not so sure that Europe does much for them. There’s not a lot here for them.

I don’t agree with Brexit. I think we are all better off working together. But I want a Europe that works for everybody and not just the better off. And at the moment I think that the European Union is a neo-liberal club and doesn’t represent the majority of the people. And I want to change that rather than reject it.

While well known along the east coast and in Leinster, it remains unclear what kind of support he could muster in the likes of Cork or Kerry, especially competing against household names such as Fine Gael MEPs Sean Kelly and Deirdre Clune or Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher.

“That’s a big challenge,” he said. “It won’t be easy, I accept that. I can’t go door-to-door because there are over a million houses. You couldn’t go door-to-door in Wexford in a month. In 12 counties, forget it.

“I’m going to canvass for the month of May and I may spend two days in every county.”

Mr Wallace was instrumental in triggering an inquiry into the sale of Nama’s Northern €1.4bn loan portfolio, after he claimed millions in sterling was deposited in a foreign bank for a political party. The allegation sparked several inquiries, including one led by a High Court judge

“I have done my best to highlight how [Irish] society is poorly organised and there is a serious lack of fairness in how we govern,” said Mr Wallace. 

“I’ve really been the only one working on Nama in here [in the Dáil] for four and a half years now.

“It is frightening that the government don’t want to know about it.”

He claimed that “one of these days the people will know the truth about it because it is the biggest financial scandal in the state”.

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