Delegates vote in favour of joining EU liberals

 

EU MOVE:FIANNA FÁIL delegates last night voted to accept a move to a more liberal political grouping within the European Parliament.

In the last vote at the ardfheis at 10.30pm, the party accepted a motion that “this ardfheis ensures that Fianna Fáil’s alliance within the European parliament be based on a pro-European Union position, which is true to the traditions of this party”.

In his speech earlier in the evening, Taoiseach Brian Cowen said the party “will soon advance a proposal to join, for the first time, a pan-European party, the European Liberal Democratic and Reform Party.

“Our representatives have been part of that party’s group in the Council of Europe for some time and this has worked out well – particularly because it is a group which works hard to respect the views of smaller countries.”

During a debate on party organisation, Stephen Dixon of Dublin said Fianna Fáil was a pro-European party and should not be party of a “small micro group”, a collection of far-right parties.

The party is currently part of the Union for the Europe of Nations, which includes Eurosceptics and MEPs of the far-right.

Earlier there were angry complaints about the selection of candidates for election by interview rather than convention.

John Butler from Athlone asked if delegates were going to allow the party to become “fascist”, which he said had happened.