Brian Crowley’s MEP group ‘xenophobic’, says FF leader

ECR parliamentary grouping contains ‘racist’ and ‘homophobic’ elements, says Martin

Ireland South MEP Brian Crowley. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Ireland South MEP Brian Crowley. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

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The Eurosceptic grouping that Ireland South MEP Brian Crowley has joined, causing his expulsion from the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party, contains elements which are “racist, xenophobic . . . homophobic”, Micheál Martin has claimed.

Mr Martin said Mr Crowley could rejoin the ranks of Fianna Fáil TDs and Senators if he were to leave the Tory-led European Conservative and Reformist (ECR) grouping and return to the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE).

Fianna Fáil now has no MEPs after the decision of the parliamentary party yesterday to expel Mr Crowley following his defection to the ECR.

Fianna Fáil is aligned with ALDE, and Mr Martin said the party did not share the ECR’s outlook on many policy issues. He said some of the ECR’s members opposed bailouts of euro-zone countries.

‘Anti-European Union’

“This grouping at its core is anti-European Union,” Mr Martin told RTÉ News. “Brian took his decisions and we had to react to that and by taking the decision he took, essentially removed himself from the party.”

When asked if there is a way back for Mr Crowley, Mr Martin said: “Well, if he is to rejoin the ALDE group, of course that would be reconsidered and if he was to leave the ECR, whose views, whose core principles on the European Union, are totally against and are not compatible with Fianna Fáil.

“The views of some of their smaller groups are so far right on a number of issues that they actually contravene equality legislation in Ireland.”

The Fianna Fáil parliamentary party met to discuss the move yesterday and passed a motion from Mr Martin to the effect that Mr Crowley had effectively expelled himself by his actions.

‘Totally incompatible’

In a statement released afterwards, party whip Seán Ó Fearghaíl and chairman Brendan Smith said it “it was agreed that the ideas and principles of the ECR group and its component parties are totally incompatible with the core principles of Fianna Fáil, The Republican Party”

“We do not believe it is in the interest of the Fianna Fáil party and its members to have any association with the ECR in the European Parliament, ” the statement said.

“As a direct consequence of Brian Crowley’s unilateral decision to join the ECR group he has removed himself from the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party.”

A further move to remove Mr Crowley’s party membership, which would have to go to the Fianna Fáil national executive, is not expected.

At the parliamentary party meeting, Kerry Senator Mark Daly, seen as close to Mr Crowley, said he did not support the motion and asked that his dissent be recorded.

A number of TDs said Mr Crowley, who is in hospital and unavailable for comment, should be allowed to address the parliamentary party.

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