Irish MEPs and climate actions


A chara, – Further to to the article “Assessment of Irish MEPs’ attitudes to climate actions reveals ‘shocking apathy’” (News, April 25th), I work closely with the Climate Action Network Europe and recently hosted the organisation’s climate litigation conference. This umbrella group of NGOs plays an important role in our common cause to tackle climate change, so it is with some reluctance that I highlight the limitations of their methodology in compiling the report referred to in this article.

Political parties were scored by the position they have taken on parliamentary votes relating to climate change. Sinn Féin ranked highest in Ireland, but was penalised in the report for some positions we have taken.

In a number of instances these were votes on propositions that were not compliant with the Paris Climate Agreement. Climate change is the single biggest global threat to humanity. Responses from MEPs must reflect this reality.

That is why we could not vote in favour of the renewable energy directive or the energy efficiency directive as neither was compliant with the Paris Agreement. Sinn Féin constructively engaged with both pieces of legislation and submitted ambitious amendments that would have, for example, ensured Europe met its responsibility to decarbonise faster.

I also cannot endorse legislation that promotes the privatisation of the energy sector, as was proposed in the Energy Union package. Abandoning energy transition to private companies and the vagaries of the market is just plain wrong.

We oppose the European carbon market for the simple reason that it acts as a subsidy to polluters whose emissions have actually increased as reported by the European Commission in its Carbon Market Report last December.

As the climate change spokesperson for the European Parliament’s left political grouping (GUE-NGL), I have been a champion for radical and deliverable climate action and recently published a climate emergency manifesto. – Is mise,


European Parliament,


Sir, – In the report on the Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe analysis, you focus criticism on Irish MEPs but do not mention the superior performance of the three Irish Independent MEPs in the CAN analysis. According to CAN, the three Irish Independent MEPs – Nessa Childers, Luke Ming Flanagan and I – had a combined average of over 50 per cent, making us the best performers on climate action, ahead of any of the political parties.

We are far from deserving a gold star but our contribution to EU decision-making on climate change is just as valid and more positive than that of the parties and should not be ignored. – Yours, etc,