Its election time in Ireland, so the air is thick with disinformation. Let’s try and cut through it.
(Note: the page is entirely dedicated to Luke Ming Flanagan at this point)
1. Luke Flanagan and the Common Fisheries Policy
Luke Flanagan is featuring an image on his Facebook page which suggests that the Common Fisheries Policy has resulted in Ireland forfeiting fish to the value of €184bn to other EU member states.
Flanagan doesn’t give any source for this figure, but as with most things Flanagan comes up with, its barstool wisdom and has no basis in fact.
The only assessment of this net cost to Ireland of the Common Fisheries Policy is that carried out by the Canadian University of British Columbia as part of its The Sea Around Us project, in 2009.
The findings of this project are summarised at this link:
The were also referred to during the most recent Lisbon Treaty debate, when Ireland’s largest fisherman’s organisation, the Killybegs Fisherman’s Organisation, called for a Yes vote.
To quote from the above article:
‘An independent study carried out by the Canadian University of British Columbia in Vancouver as part of the Sea Around Us project puts the total value of fish taken from Irish waters from 1974 to 2004 at €8.5bn. During this time, Irish ships took €3.9bn from the Irish waters and €3.16bn from British waters that Irish boats have access to because they are part of the EU.
Mr O’Donoghue said that as a result of EU membership the Irish industry got aid that between 2000 and 2013 amounts to some €100 million. “The national government would not have been able to provide the aid to the same extent if we were not part of the EU,” he added.’
2. Luke Ming Flanagan and Ireland’s growth rates prior to joining the Euro
Flanagan has made the following claim on his election leaflet, and repeated during a television debate on Sunday night.
“The greatest period of real growth, averaging 8.6%, that this State has experienced was between 1993 and 1999. This was at a time when we had our own currency.”
Ming wasn’t really involved in serious politics in the 1990s, so he’s probably never heard of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, or ERM.
The ERM was an agreement between EU member states to maintain their currency values as close as possible to a predetermined value, and was in effect between 1979 and 1999, when the Euro was finally introduced. The mechanism was put in place to achieve the necessary stability to introduce a common currency.
Each EU currency had a corresponding value in ECUs, the currency unit of the ERM. It was, in effect, the Euro without the notes and coins.
Its also worth noting that Ireland has never had any real currency independence, in that prior to joining the ERM in 1979, the Irish Punt was always pegged to the Pound Sterling.
3. Ming and the disappearing Prime Time broadcast
Ming went on Facebook in the week before the Election to claim that RTE had removed a Prime Time broadcast in which he featured from the RTE Player website, apparently because they are biased against him.
RTE hadn’t removed it. They had just changed the URL when they reposted a different version of the programme.
(He later admitted that he made a mistake, but didn’t acknowledge it in another Facebook post)
4. Luke Ming Flanagan on the use of liners on bogs
Ming has regularly claimed that its possible to protect the drainage systems in bogs, and therefore allow mechanical extraction, by placing a plastic liner between the parts that are cut and the parts that aren’t.
Anyone with even a basic knowledge of physics knows that this is nonsense, unless the water in bogs doesn’t obey the laws of the gravity, of you were able to place a liner on a bog all the way down to the bedrock below it.
More recently, Ming has claimed that the NPWS are actually using these liners to “prevent water leakage”.
The NPWS have never used liners to “prevent leakage”. They have used a liner on one bog, Raheenmore, in conjunction with a dam system, to assist in the restoration of the bog, not to allow turf extraction.
When Ming was queried on Twitter about which bog the liner was used to “prevent leakage”, he told the respondent to “Ring the NPWS”.
5. Luke Ming Flanagan on the closure of rural Post Offices
Ming has made the following claim on Facebook
“Under the EU Postal Directive it is proposed that post offices are no longer necessary as they now stand.”
Ming is trying to suggest here that there is some new EU legislation about Postal Services in the offing. There isn’t. The last Directive was in 2008.
The thrust of EU legislation in relation to postal services is that State’s gradually reduce their monopolies on the services and open it up to competition. The latest date for full liberalisation of the market was 2012, 2 years ago.
Member states are perfectly free to continue to operate rural post offices (as evidenced by their continued existence) provided they don’t confer any advantage on State operated postal services that are not available to private companies.
You can read about the EU’s postal services legislation here:
The principle objective of the legislation is:
- To define at Community level a universal postal service, conceived as a right of access to postal services for users, encompassing a minimum range of services of specified quality which must be provided in all Member States at affordable prices for the benefit of all users, irrespective of their geographical location
6. Luke Ming Flanagan on not breaking the law
According to this article, Ming was accosted in Galway by a man who wanted to bring him to a Garda station for breaking the law by extracting turf from an SAC, which Ming freely admits to doing.
In the article, the author explains that Ming argues with the man about whether he has broken the law or not.
Ming has broken the law in this regard, when he allows the cutting of turf on a bog where he used to have rights but which is now an SAC.
The law that he breaks is Section 35.1.b.2 of the EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES (BIRDS AND NATURAL HABITATS) REGULATIONS 2011, which available at this link (see Page 71 of the document).
A person who, without lawful authority—
enters or occupies any European Site, or brings onto or places or uses
or releases in any European Site any animal or object, including but
not limited to—
machinery for the extraction or mining of natural resources
including, but not limited to trees, vegetation, minerals, rock, soil,
gravel, sand, turf or peat,
where such action or the use or presence on the European Site of such an animal or object is likely to have a significant effect on, or adversely affect the integrity of, a European Site, shall be guilty of an offence.
If you contract someone to extract turf on an SAC, you are breaking the law.
7. Luke Ming Flanagan and the relationship between SIPTU and Labour
In a Facebook post from May 22, the day before the election, Ming has claimed that SIPTU are “trying to save Labour’s bacon” and suggests that canvassing on the part of SIPTU for Labour candidates is a misuse of SIPTU members subscriptions.
SIPTU have always campaigned for and endorsed the Labour Party during elections, because as a Union, SIPTU is affiliated to Labour. This involves SIPTU paying a subscription to Labour and SIPTU voting at Labour conferences. SIPTU make no secret of this fact:
“The Labour Party traces its origins to 1912 when the former ITGWU successfully sponsored a motion at the Annual Conference of the Irish Trade Union Congress to create a political voice for Irish workers. The affiliation of the Union and Labour party in pursuit of the joint goal of bringing about progressive change in Irish society remains today.”
Ming’s suggestion that SIPTU are doing this “behind the scenes” is yet another attempt to misinform voters.
8. Luke Ming Flanagan on Climate Change
Ming attended a hustings organised by the Irish Environmental Pillar in Carrick On Shannon in the run up to the EU Parliament Elections in 2014. While answering a question about Climate Change he acknowledged that action needed to be taken to reduce Co2 emissions. The audience were left in no doubt that Ming is on side when it comes to Climate Change.
However, in a previous parliamentary question put to Brian Hayes, Ming had the following to say:
If someone believes that carbon dioxide emissions need to be reduced, why would they be questioning the scientific consensus that climate change is caused by carbon dioxide emissions?