Hannigan condemns ‘stale succession’ of MEPs from traditional parties; questions commitment of opponents

Issued : Friday 3 May, 2019

The Labour Party candidate for the European election, Dominic Hannigan, was highly critical of his opponents in the Midlands North West constituency during his official campaign launch today (03.05.19).

At the launch, Mr. Hannigan questioned the commitment of some of his fellow candidates to fulfilling their duties as an MEP, if elected. He also said the Midlands North West needs to replace the “stale succession” of MEPs elected from traditionally conservative parties in recent decades with more progressive and dynamic voices.

A Crucial Period

“The coming five years will be a crucial period for Irish and European politics,” he said. “We have seen the growth in recent years of far-right, anti-progressive movements across Europe. And, much closer to home, we are seeing the devastating impacts of Brexit.

“More than ever before, we need MEPs representing Ireland now who are politically experienced, outward-looking, dynamic and courageous.  We do not need people who view the European Parliament as a cushy post en route to retirement – or as a stepping stone to Dáil Éireann.  To run with such views in mind is arrogance in the extreme, and both disingenuous and disloyal to the people of this constituency.

“If elected, I pledge to give my all over the next five years to fight for the Midlands North West in the European Parliament.  I do not have ulterior motives or ambitions: I am in this race because I want to be an MEP and I want to achieve positive change for this constituency.

“I will not shy away from tackling big issues such as climate change and gender inequality.  And I will do my utmost to ensure jobs in this region are protected; sustainable development is promoted across our towns; and workers in the Midlands North West enjoy a decent standard of living and an excellent work / life balance.”

Mr. Hannigan said the MEPs elected for the Midlands North West in recent elections have failed to deliver progressive change for the region. 

“Over past decades, we have seen a stale succession of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin MEPs elected to represent this constituency in Europe – but they have consistently failed to deliver progressive change for people in the Midlands, Northern and Western counties,” he said. 

“This region was deeply impacted by the recent recession, and is only now starting to benefit from the national recovery.  We need to futureproof the constituency to make sure we can withstand any future economic downturn.  We also need to prepare ourselves for the workplace of the future, ensuring people in the Midlands North West have access to the training, skills and opportunities they need to withstand changes brought about by automation and the transition to a carbon-neutral economy. 

“At a time when our economy and society in undergoing profound change, what we do not need is politicians who will rest on their laurels.  If people vote for the traditional parties this time round, they can expect more of the same, but nothing startlingly new or progressive.  The traditional parties have had the opportunity to make a difference and improve the lives of people in this constituency.  They have failed to do so.  We will not achieve real progress in the Midlands North West if the ‘same old, same old’ remain in place.”

Campaign Priorities

Mr. Hannigan outlined his three campaign priorities at the launch today:

  1. Valuing regional towns;
  2. Climate change and protecting the environment; and
  3. Achieving excellent standards in how we live and work.

“Over the past week, I launched my policy paper on ‘How We Live and Work’, outlining my vision for an Ireland with a living wage, watertight protection of workers’ rights, and a higher quality of life for all,” he said. 

“Next week, I will launch my policy on climate change, one of the most important issues facing the world today.  Finally, I will also be focusing on regional towns – what measures are needed to reinvigorate them and ensure they can thrive in the years to come.  These are the issues that I will prioritise as an MEP.”

Endorsement from Senator Ivana Bacik

Senator Ivana Bacik also spoke at the launch of Mr. Hannigan’s campaign.

“I am delighted to stand beside Dominic, as he launches his bid for a seat in the European Parliament,” she said.  “Dominic is one of the most courageous and principled politicians I know.  He was one of the first openly gay politicians in Irish public life, and one of the first two openly gay TDs elected to the Dáil.

“One of his most striking attributes is his energy and dynamism – he is tireless in campaigning for his constituents and on the issues in which he believes.  We need people with this type of energy and dedication in the European Parliament.  I would urge all those seeking progressive change for the Midlands North West to give Dominic your Number 1.”