Ireland North West MEP Pat the Cope Gallagher has sharply criticised the decision taken today in the European Parliament (19 February 2013) by the Constitutional Affairs Committee to reduce the number of MEP seats allocated to Ireland from 12 down to 11.
The recommendation was drafted by the two largest parties in the European Parliament, the EPP (Christian Democrats) and S+D (Socialists). This decision according to Pat the Cope is “biased against small member states such as Ireland which has a population of 4.5 million.”
Pat the Cope said today “When I was first elected to the European Parliament in 1994, Ireland had 15 MEPs. This was subsequently reduced to 13 and then further reduced to 12 to accommodate the enlargement of the European Union.”
“These new changes are necessary due to the pending accession of Croatia. However, this could have been facilitated by reducing the number of seats allocated to larger member states where there is a list system for their entire country, which is in contrast to Ireland with multi seat constituencies.”
“The large sprawling constituency of Ireland North West which I represent may have to be further enlarged to accommodate the loss of an Irish seat. This will be subject to a boundary commission review.”
“The recommendation will now go to the plenary of the European Parliament where I will have an opportunity to vote against this recommendation. However, the real decision rests with the European Council and the Government has the option to veto any reduction in the seats allocated to Ireland.”
“I strongly call on the Government to use its veto to protect Irish seats and influence in the European Parliament.”