Lynn Boylan MEP slams Minister Fitzgerald for refusal to request Ireland’s inclusion in Pitchford Spycop Inquiry

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has again demanded that Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald formally request the extension of the terms of reference of the Pitchford Inquiry in Britain into undercover political policing to cover Ireland, North and South.

The Dublin MEP made the call after attending a press conference in Buswells Hotel in Dublin on Monday, organised by core participants of the Pitchford Inquiry and Shell to Sea activists.

Boylan stated:

“The press conference heard first-hand accounts from two British female activists who had been persuaded to come to Ireland by discredited British police agent, Mark Kennedy, to help cultivate his cover as an environmental activist.

“One of the women told how she was in a long-term intimate relationship with Kennedy unaware that he was, in fact, a police spy.

“In light of these revelations, I am again demanding that Minister Frances Fitzgerald formally requests that the Britain Government extend the terms of reference of the Pitchford Inquiry into undercover political policing to cover Ireland, North and South.

“To date, the Minister has refused to follow the example of her counterparts in Germany, Scotland and the North by seeking an extension of the terms of reference of the Pitchford Inquiry, despite acknowledging that Garda authorities were aware that undercover police officers were operating in Ireland.

“The testimony raised by participants at today’s press conference raises serious questions about the extent to which An Garda Siochána was aware of the activities of these undercover police officers in this jurisdiction.

“We know for sure that at least one undercover police officer, Mark Kennedy, visited Ireland on a number of occasions and infiltrated a number of campaign groups, including Shell to Sea and Shannonwatch.

“The fact that undercover British officers were operating on the island of Ireland and spying on legitimate, democratic campaign groups and organisations is deeply concerning. There are so many questions that need to be answered.

“Some 56 convictions have already been overturned in Britain because of the actions of Mark Kennedy alone. Among many other questions, we need to find out if these spies have been responsible for similar miscarriages of justice in our jurisdiction.”

Lynn Boylan MEP lambasts EU Commission plan to scrap anti-corruption report

Speaking this morning, Sinn Fein MEP Lynn Boylan has news that the EU commission’s Vice-president Franz Timmerman stated that a planned anti-corruption report on the Member States is to be dropped.

MEP Boylan said;

“It is beyond comprehension that this report, which was due to be released last month, has now been scrapped altogether. The actions of the EU commission in this regard not only discredits how people view the EU, but it undermines accountability and democracy, and undermines faith in the EU to do what is right and in the benefit of the people.

“While such actions by the EU commission are hardly surprising, that they have the audacity to row back on such an important issue shows the contempt with which they treat the people of the EU.

“The report was a promised follow-up to a similar anti-corruption report from 2014. It intended to take stock of how far things had moved forward in relation to combatting corruption, however, this follow up report has now been shelved.

“The 2014 report said member states needed to strengthen controls, put in place more “dissuasive sanctions”, and improve transparency in order to combat corruption. While that report gave a good outline of issues and recommendations to overcome problems, this report was to be a concrete follow up assessment of progress and continuing problems.

“Furthermore, the Commission was also supposed to look at the EU institutions but that report has also been dropped until a “further date”.

“But Mr Timmermans letter states that there is no need to publish any more reports. It states that the first report in 2014 was good enough because it provided an overview and created a basis for further work.

“Such a statement is beggars be belief, especially when one looks at the situation surrounding NAMA and accusations of corruption in Ireland, both north and south.

“My shock at this move increased with the widespread protests in Romania after the government de-criminalised low-level corruption, and the unfolding scandal in France where presidential contender Francois Fillon is facing allegations of fraud after paying his wife almost €1 million for fictive work from the public funds.”

MEP Boylan added:

“The most sickening aspect in all of this is the EU commissioners speaking out of both sides of their mouths. Earlier this week Mr Timmermans and EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker issued a joint-statement on Romania stating that “the fight against corruption needs to be advanced, not undone.””

MEP Boylan concluded:

“As always, the gap between the rhetoric from the unelected bureaucrats in the EU commission and the reality on the ground in different states is striking.”

Report shows Egypt illegally detaining Ibrahim Halawa – Lynn Boylan MEP

Lynn Boylan MEP has called for the immediate release of Ibrahim Halawa on foot of a report from human rights lawyers from the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies that state he is being imprisoned illegally.

MEP Boylan said:

“A new report from the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) appears to expose an egregious miscarriage of justice against Ibrahim Halawa, and many others, by the Egyptian Government. The report states that Ibrahim and thousands of other peaceful protesters are being illegally imprisoned under the colonial-era ‘Assembly Law’ that CIHRS has discovered was repealed nearly a century ago.

“Although invalidated through a unanimous repeal by the Egyptian Parliament on January 30, 1928, Law 10 /1914, known as the Assembly Law, continues to be unlawfully exploited in tandem with the notorious Protest Law, passed in November 2013.

“It is astonishing that this law is being illegal implemented 89 years after its formal repeal in order to imprison thousands of peaceful demonstrators.

“On top of denying Ibrahim and other detainees a fair trial, it now appears to be the case that President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has illegally imprisoned them, hiding behind British colonial administration law, originally designed to suppress Egyptian resistance to occupation.

“It is time that President Sisi takes the initiative to immediately renounce this historic and legal indignity by releasing every citizen deprived of their freedom under this unjust, obsolete law.

“This new evidence alongside the existing avenues open to Ibrahim of the Presidential Decree and the Youth Prisoner Committee point to the fact that Enda Kenny needs to now act with some backbone.  He must phone President Sisi and demand the immediate release of Ibrahim Halawa, instead of cowering behind letters and emails.”

 

Link to CIHRS report

http://www.cihrs.org/?p=19448& lang=en

 

Not unusual for public ownership of Water Services to receive constitutional guarantee – Lynn Boylan MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has said that it is not unusual for European Union member states to provide a constitutional guarantee for public ownership of water services.

Boylan made the comments today as she called for maximum support for a Bill that will come before the Dáil this Wednesday calling for referendum to insert the public ownership of water services into the constitution.

Lynn Boylan MEP at Water Taxes Protest 2016-09-17, Dublin.
Lynn Boylan MEP at Water Taxes Protest 2016-09-17, Dublin.

She said: “Enshrining access to clean water and sanitation in our constitution and protecting this access for future generations is surely an initiative that all parties and TDs can get behind.

“The only real barrier to supporting the Bill on Wednesday would be if a party, or parties, see the privatisation of our water services as something to consider. I know that in the past Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes strangely referred to the call for an Irish referendum as ‘unwarranted and bizarre’.”

“However, the truth is that the idea of providing a constitutional guarantee for the public ownership of water services is not unprecedented or unusual in the European context. Over 90% of citizens in both Italy and Greece voted in referendums to ensure that water privatisation systems were not implemented. The Netherlands passed a law in 2004 banning private sector provision of water supply. Furthermore, France has returned control of its water services to municipal level due to transparency issues and rising costs.

“I am of the firm view that the Dáil must afford the people the opportunity to insert public ownership of water services into our constitution. The government and Fianna Fáil are not exempt from that responsibility and therefore they should support the bill on Wednesday.

“There shouldn’t be any reluctance to hold such a referendum if there are no plans to fully privatise water services in this state.”

 

2016-09-17 Anti water-charges protest march, Dublin

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Minister Charlie Flanagan must apply for Presidential Decree on Ibrahim Halawa’s behalf now

Minister Charlie Flanagan must apply for Presidential Decree on Ibrahim Halawa’s behalf now – Lynn Boylan MEP

Responding to the shocking news that Ibrahim Halawa’s trial has been postponed for a fourteenth time until October 2nd, Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has urged the Irish government to act immediately for the sake of Ibrahim’s mental health.

Speaking from Brussels, the MEP said:

“I, along with Ibrahim’s family, have pleaded for some time with the Irish government to apply for the Presidential Decree on Ibrahim’s behalf. The Presidential Decree has always been available to the Irish Government pre-sentencing.  It would allow Ibrahim to return to Ireland before a final ruling has been made in his case, and it is used in cases where a deportation or extradition would serve the ‘higher interest’ of the Egyptian state.

Ibrahim Halawa, an Irish citizen, who is being held indefinitely in an Egyptian prison.

“Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan has always refused to do so until the trial has been completed.  We had been led to believe that a verdict would be issued today but we now hear that Ibrahim’s trial has been postponed until October.   Minster Flanagan and the Irish government must surely now accept that their strategy is failing. They need to follow the example of the Australian Government and apply for the Decree pre-sentencing.

“Australian journalist Peter Greste, a former cell mate of Ibrahim’s, was released and back home with his family before his trial concluded.

“For the sake of Ibrahim’s mental health, the Irish government must act now. News of such decisive action would give some comfort to the young man.

“I believe this must now be Minister Charlie Flanagan’s sole urgent plan of action.

“How much longer will the Irish government stand idly by as trial after trial is postponed? Enough is enough. Please act now and apply for the presidential Decree.”