“A number of candidates in the Midlands North West European constituency are asking voters to support so-called Eurosceptic policies without spelling out the disastrous consequences of that approach for Ireland”, Fianna Fáil MEP candidate, Thomas Byrne, has warned.


“I am calling on these candidates to come clean on what would happen to the Irish people if we pulled out of the current European Union or if we scrapped the Euro and went back to our own currency.


“If we pulled out of the European Union, there would be no more CAP funds for farmers, no further money from Europe for LEADER and rural development and we would have only limited access to the European market for our goods and services. This would not only wipe out farmers but also the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people in our villages and town who supply goods and services to farmers or who whose jobs depend on processing, transporting or selling farm output.


“Outside of Dublin, one in every four jobs is linked to agriculture, the agri-food industry or in related service industries. That is a total of a quarter of a million people whose way of life is put in jeopardy by this reckless Euroscepticism. Out of every €100 Ireland receives in European funding, €80 goes to support farming and rural development – a total of €12 billion in the years 2007 to 2013. It would simply not be possible for us to as a country to sustain a loss of jobs on that scale or to maintain support expenditure on that scale.


“I understand that many people are angry at the way they have been treated because of policies imposed on Ireland by the European Commission and the European Central Bank. I share that anger. However, pulling out of Europe or the Euro is not a solution. That will only make things worse. We need to channel and focus our anger so that we achieve solutions to the problems that are causing the anger in the first place:


–       like getting the European Union to honour the commitment they made in June 2012 to share the cost of Ireland’s bank bailout

–       like undoing the cuts in funding for the European Youth Guarantee

–       and putting in place pro-jobs and pro-growth policies at European level.


“I have a consistent track record of fighting in the Dáil and Seanad for people, including those people who are being treated unfairly by the banks over personal and mortgage debt and insolvency. I have worked to make the banks accountable for their actions. That shows how I will fight for people if I am elected to the European Parliament.


“I am not seeking a seat in the Parliament just to sit there. I have the technical background in European Law and the necessary experience to fight and succeed on the issues that are making people angry.