Saturday 20 December 2014

'I won't work with extreme right wing in Europe' - Ming

Published 26/05/2014 | 13:12

LUKE ‘Ming’ Flanagan has insisted he will not work with extreme right groups once he is officially elected to the European Parliament.

The Independent who is set to top the polls in the Midlands Northwest constituency said he would seek out other Euro-skeptics from the centre and left perspectives to work along side.

“Now that the results are crystallising I see that there an awful lot of people who would be classified as Euro-sceptics getting elected to the Parliament. 

"If I get over there is I will build common cause with people who have a problem with the European Union who come at it not from an extreme right perspective but from a centrist and a left perspective because I believe there are many people out there like that,” he told Independent.ie

He said he would work with all Irish MEPs who get elected and was “praying and hoping” that Marian Harkin takes the fourth seat. But he warned any Fine Gael MEP that he would tackle them on any statements he deemed untrue.

“I will work alongside any Irish member of the European Parliament. People don't elect you to a parliament to fight with one another, they elect you to work with each other.

"But if I see that Fine Gael MEPs are out in the European Parliament telling everyone that everything is fine and rosey in the Irish household I will be very quick to tackle them on that and point out that it isn't true, that I would like if it was true but we need to do certain things to change that,” he added.

Flanagan said the first thing he would concentrate on was opening a trading bloc which would allow farmers access the British market.

“We need to be able to get into the British market and that is one of the first issues that I will tackle there because it is crippling Irish farming and we need to do something about it,” he added.

Flanagan said he had anticipated that he could top the poll following the response he received on doorsteps in the past fortnight.

“It might seem a little arrogant but I wasn’t surprised. In the last two weeks of the campaign it became obvious to me that people were agreeing with my message, a message that the European Union has gone to far, we need to go back to being a community.

"They agree with my message that we have too many rules and regulations and that seems to have been borne out in the vote,” he told Independent.ie.

However, he hit back at claims that his popularity was a protest vote.

“When people go out and voted for Fine Gael in the last General Election no one called it a protest vote, when people voted for the Labour Party no one called it a protest vote so I certainly wouldn't insult the people who voted for me by calling it a protest vote.

"I would call it a vote based on ideological grounds and that ideology is Europe has gone too far, it’s time to go back to being a community,” he added.

Irish Independent

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