Sinn Fein join European Parliament grouping
Sinn Fein's two new members of the European Parliament (MEPs)
are to work within the United European Left and Nordic Green
Alliance group in the parliament, they confirmed today.
As they prepared for their first visit to the Parliament as
MEPs, Mary Lou McDonald and Bairbre de Brun said they would use
their new platform to advance the peace process and push for
European Union reform.
They said: "We enter the European Parliament as Sinn Fein MEPs
mandated to deliver on our agenda for change and to deliver for
Ireland. This means working effectively both inside the
Parliament and in Ireland.
"In Europe we will work through the European United Left/Nordic
Green Group (GUE/HGL). This is a very effective and progressive
group within the Parliament, which does not operate a whip
system ensuring that for us, it is Sinn Fein's and Ireland's
priorities, which will come first.
"We will also continue to engage with the widest possible range
of MEPs and groups across Europe to advance our agenda for
change on EU matters, the peace process and Irish unity and
Sinn Fein's decision to link up with the United European
Left/Nordic Green Alliance comes as little surprise.
The party hosted a visit by the group to north and west Belfast
However during the visit to Belfast, the group of 33 MEPs was
accused of being "Trotskyite" by hardline Unionist, Jim
The United European Left/Nordic Green Alliance has in the past
drawn MEPs from the French, Portuguese and Italian Communist
Parties, the Latvian and Dutch Socialists and the Greek
Democratic Social Party.
The Sinn Fein MEPs vowed to continue the party's outreach work
with local communities, women's groups, trade unions, voluntary
organisations, business sector, farming organisations and
justice groups on both sides of the border.
"We want to demystify the role of MEPs and to develop mechanisms
whereby that position can be used as a conduit to empower local
communities," they said.
The chairman of the European United Left, Mr Francis Wurtz, said
Sinn Fein had "something remarkable to offer" the group,
particularly in view of the party's experience in the Six
"Sinn Fein membership will reinforce our political identity as
one of the most energetic, innovative and progressive political
groups in the European Parliament. We hope to benefit from their
expertise on conflict resolution, on defending civil rights, and
on advancing politics out of stalemate and into compromise," he
The group is one of smallest in the Parliament. The arrival of
the two Sinn Fein MEPs for the North and Dublin will bring its
membership to 41.