Wednesday 24 January 2018

Luke 'Ming' Flanagan: 'It's time for a re-think on Europe'

Maresa Fagan in Roscommon

Independent TD Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan is “satisfied” with early exit poll predictions that he is on course for a seat in the European Parliament.

Speaking from the count centre in Roscommon town this evening the TD said it was time for a rethink on Europe.

“I’m satisfied that the people agree with my message that we need a serious rethink on Europe. We need to go back to being a community. We got our independence for a reason and we want to remember what that reason was,” the Castlerea-based Independent said, adding that Ireland was being “squeezed” by Europe.

Buoyed by estimates that he has taken over 20% of the vote in the Midlands/North West constituency, Deputy Flanagan said the electorate was weary of austerity and being dictated to by Europe.

“People were sick and tired of red tape and regulations coming from the Europe Union; People were sick and tired of the amount of debt they were in, €70 billion on our shoulders, which was bank debt and not our debt,” he said.

“People are looking for a big change and they want someone to go out to the European Parliament and point out that ‘No’ that things are not going that well. And in the same way that Greece got a €130 billion write down are now back in the markets borrowing at less than before the crisis; they want equal treatment,” he added.

Among his priorities in Europe will be the export of live cattle, the Common Agricultural Policy, turf cutting and the Habitats Directive, the Environmental Impact Directive, and rural post offices.

“The core issue would be that the European Union needs to go back to being a community and working with people a community that helps people when they’re down. Unfortunately the European Union seems to have a philosophy of kick you when you’re down,” Deputy Flanagan said.

Running on a Eurosceptic platform he said Ireland should consider pulling out of the Eurozone: “I have to make up my mind, people have to make up their mind. Do we want a European super State? If you don’t then we’re going to have to work how Europe, not just Ireland, moves away from the Eurozone. I think the whole of Europe should abandon the Eurozone”.

On course for Europe, Deputy Flanagan said he would hope that an Independent would take his seat in Roscommon/South Leitrim.

“If I do get elected to the European Parliament we do need another Independent in the technical group that will fight our corner,” he said.

“If there’s a by-election I think it would be essential to get an independent candidate elected and the best way to achieve that would be someone like myself Denis Naughten, the hospital action committee, putting our heads together and coming up with a consensus candidate,” he added.

Irish Independent

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