Fine Gael’s European election candidate for Dublin, Mark Durkan today warned that Sinn Fein positions have provided grist to Nigel Farage’s mill.
Mr Durkan warned: “Sinn Fein have supposedly moved from being Eurosceptic to now saying they are Euro critical.
“In reality, they are backing vocalists for Euro-disruptors, humming the same phoney anti-establishment tunes that drove the Brexit agenda in the UK. Only this week Nigel Farage’s Brexit party are using a speech by Mary Lou McDonald as a visual aid to support their pretensions.
“The record of Sinn Fein MEPs in the last European Parliament clearly shows the party is closer to Nigel Farage, content to disrupt issues of crucial importance to Ireland.
“Sinn Fein voted against the European Investment bank’s EFSI investment programme which has delivered social housing in Ireland.
“They also voted against the successor to the EFSI, Invest EU, which aims to mobilise almost €700 million in infrastructure investment.
“Sinn Fein is in many ways mirroring the Farage playbook of politics, – peddling in lies, half-truths and total distortions often to distract from their own record.
“Sinn Fein MEPs have consistently voted against anti-terror initiatives at EU level. I have negotiated for peace and voted against war so I was appalled when Sinn Fein MEP, Lynn Boylan posted propaganda material on social media associating myself, and, Frances Fitzgerald with obscene visuals of bombings, deaths and destruction.
“This from an MEP and party who voted against a resolution condemning ISIS in the European Parliament; ISIS, the very group who claim credit for terrorist bombings in Sri Lanka which killed at least 253 people at Easter.
“Sinn Fein are now suggesting that the threat to the future of the EU comes from the parties that have consistently upheld the European project to advance peace, rights, prosperity and environmental responsibilities.
“The reality is that Sinn Fein, who opposed the EU, are now playing rhetorical footsie with the populist disruptors who debase democracy and want to destabilise Europe.”
Fine Gael’s Director of Elections for Europe, Minister Regina Doherty supported Mr Durkan’s assertion. She added: “Let’s be very clear, the next EU Parliament will see a battle around Europe’s values.
“If the polls are to be believed, it is expected the next Parliament will be more divided, a slimmer pro-European majority, with multiple factions and wedged by populists intent on disrupting the important agenda around Social Europe, Climate Change and the Platform of Rights.
“Brexit is a game changer in all our lives and none more so than for the people of Dublin, the engine room for the island of Ireland.
“It is important there are strong pro EU voices representing the people of Dublin and the best way to ensure that is if we get large numbers of people out to vote and to ensure we have MEPs who represent our true interests.”