The substitute for MEP Brian Crowley, Kieran Hartley has asked for his Fianna Fáil colleague to step down from his role if he is unable to return to the European Parliament within a month.
MEP for Ireland South Brian Crowley was elected to represent Ireland South in 2014, but has been absent from parliament for three years due to illness.
Paralysed from the waist down since he was a teenager, A spokesperson said for Mr. Crowley said that he “is in Cork Regional Hospital recovering from a series of hip and leg and operations.”
However, his substitute Kieran Hartley has recently written a letter of complaint to Fianná Fáil leader Micheál Martin over his absenteeism, saying that the people he was elected to represent are now not being served for in the European Parliament.
Speaking to Séan O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio one, Mr. Hartley said “As it currently stands, Fianna Fáil has no representation to represent 1.4 million people in the Ireland south constituency at the same time Brexit is taking place.”
“On a political level, we need representation in the European Parliament.”
While Mr. Hartley is currently acting as Mr. Crowley’s substitute, he is unable to vote on issues in the European Parliament.
He is now asking that Brian Crowley steps down from his position if he is unable to return to the parliament in ‘a very respectable time’.
“Brian has not voted. Therefore our vote is not being counted,” Mr. Hartley explained.
“When you vote for a MEP, you vote that person will take his seat and vote, in favour or against anything whatever you are asking him to do.”
“When Joe Schmidt picks his rugby team, if his number 9 is not fit and ready, you put a sub in place. You do not leave that jersey hanging in the dressing room. You put a full team out”
Despite Mr. Hartley’s complaints, Fianna Fáil have indicated in a statement read out on air by Sean O’Rourke that they will be supporting Mr. Crowley during his recovery, and that his office is still carrying out necessary constituency actions.
“Following Brian Crowley’s decision to join the ECR grouping in the European Parliament, he was no longer a member of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party. However, he remains a Fianna Fáil party member,” the statement reads.
“Brian was elected in the European Parliament in 2014 with the single largest vote in Ireland, and while he is currently suffering from ill health we understand that his office continues to provide a full range of services to constituents. We wish Brian and full a speedy recovery.”
Mr. Hartley was expressing his concerns on the basis of an upcoming vote concerning Brexit and the possible implications for Ireland.
However, while he admitted that the official vote does not take place for another two years, there should still be a voice representing the Ireland South constituency.
“I cannot take my place in the parliament. I cannot vote. I cannot veto the upcoming Brexit vote which will probably be the most important vote in Ireland since we joined (the European Union) in 1973.”
“I would believe that 3 years is a very respectable amount of time to let anybody recover, in any walk of life.”
“If Brian Crowley is able to return to the European Parliament in a very respectable time i.e a month, I’d be the first to work for him and welcome him back.”