The following extract from a contribution by Sinn Fein TD Pádraig MacLochlainn delivered to the Dail on‘Europe Day’ seems to succinctly outline the party’s position on the EU.
Sinn Féin is proud to be a euro-critical party. While it believes Ireland’s place is at the heart of Europe, it also believes it is the responsibility of Government and Opposition to play a full part in EU affairs and to this end, Sinn Féin has long advocated greater attention to EU affairs in public and Oireachtas debates. However, what marks out Sinn Féin as distinct from the other major political parties in this House is that while we support those aspects of European Union policy that are in the interests of the people of Ireland, we are not afraid to oppose those policies which we believe are bad for Ireland. We do not believe that opposition to aspects of the EU project, whether in the form of directives, Council decisions or treaties, makes us anti-European. Indeed, Sinn Féin argues that when it critically opposes aspects of EU policy, it is on the grounds that these policies are bad for both Ireland and the EU as a whole.
Richard Boyd Barrett of People before Profit Alliance pointed out that;
If this gathering were truly to reflect our current relationship with the European Union, Jean-Claude Trichet of the ECB would be sitting in the Taoiseach’s seat, flanked by the heads of the Bundesbank and the other big European banks, and all the public representatives in this Chamber would be bound and gagged.
Next day, Boyd Barrett was ordered to leave the Dáil chamber after a row with the Ceann Comhairle. Boyd Barrett shouted that it was "abuse" when he was told to sit down during questions to the Taoiseach.
Independent TD Luke Flanagan doesn’t mince his words!
I often said in the last few weeks that I could not understand who is and who is not a socialist, but at this stage I know who is not a socialist. The Members on the other side of the House are not socialist. One does not talk about there being some type of moral hazard in an individual defaulting on their debt while simultaneously believing there is no problem with a bank offering money to people it knows could never repay it if anything went wrong.
21% of people in this country, or 735,000, have €70 per month after they pay for everything. Will they be all right in the next couple of years after they pay the new water charges that will be introduced and the new housing tax to be imposed on us by our friends in Europe and the IMF? Our friends in Europe are also talking about increasing interest rates by 1% or, in their language, 100 basis points. That is only another €1,000 gone from one’s income.
Apparently, the difficulties in which we find ourselves are not the fault of Fianna Fáil or the previous Government of which it was a part. Our problems are due, it seems, to the worldwide financial crisis. It did not take those opposite long to turn into the same beasts - and they were beasts - as those who served in government before them. They should be ashamed of themselves.
And an important question from Pádraig MacLochlainn the following day;
The Taoiseach will acknowledge that it will be rather difficult for us to deliver on the goals we set ourselves in the national reform plan while, at the same time, implementing the austerity programme from the EU, the IMF and the ECB. The Tánaiste has announced the diplomatic initiative. Does that initiative involve engaging with the Governments of Greece, Portugal and, potentially, Spain on a counter-offensive to the narrative that exists in northern Europe that the bailout is a result of the recklessness of the peripheral economies when, in reality, the recklessness of major financial institutions in the core states being allowed by the ECB and IMF to lend banking institutions in the peripheral states was the cause of the crisis? What engagements have taken place with those Governments?
Enda Kenny’s less than encouraging reply can be read at; http://www.kildarestreet.com/debates/?id=2011-05-11.228.0&s=EUROPE#g271.3