Former junior finance minister, Brian Hayes, in an interview with the Irish Examiner in Monday’s newspaper, accused some of his fellow MEPs of playing party politics in the European Parliament.
Elected for Fine Gael in Dublin last May, Mr Hayes said he was frustrated by what he described as “the appalling kind of party politics games that the Irish MEPs play”.
He accused them of engaging in Punch and Judy politics and said that if all 11 Irish MEPs came together they could achieve an awful lot more for Ireland.
Sinn Féin’s Lynn Boylan, another Dublin MEP, said “We will not apologise for our position on the issues, if we did we would be going back on the election promise we made, to not become part of a cosy consensus in Europe and to put Ireland first”. She said that it seemed for Mr Hayes that unless Sinn Féin took on the Fine Gael whip on issues “then we’re not pulling on the green jersey”.
“When we asked the Irish people for their vote, they provided us our mandate for Europe. Simply put, if it’s a bad deal for Ireland we won’t vote for it”, she said.
Independent MEP Nessa Childers was equally critical of Mr Hayes’ comments, describing them as “extraordinary” and suggesting he did not understand how the European Parliament works.
The former Labour MEP did not appreciate Mr Hayes view that while Ms Childers is a member of the Parliament’s second biggest political group, the Socialists, she did not as yet carry the same weight as Labour’s ex-MEP, Proinsias De Rossa.
Mr Hayes acknowledged that all MEPs did not share the same political philosophy as the centre-right Fine Gael members, but said that “there are some issues of such significance for Ireland, they break across these ideological barriers”.