Dublin, 11 May,2016: Today European Movement Ireland released its 6th ‘Accountability Report’. The 2015 report which tracks engagement with EU affairs by Irish politicians, using multiple indicators, for the year, also provides comparison for the previous 5 year period from 2010-2014. The institutions involved include:
- The Oireachtas
- The European Parliament
- The Council of the EU
- The European Council
Key findings for 2015 include:
- As in previous years, Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD again had 100% attendance at Council meetings of European leaders.
- Overall, Irish ministers were in attendance at 91% of meetings of the Council of the EU in 2015. This is an increase of seven percentage points on the attendance rate recorded in 2014.
- This rate puts Ireland in the top 10 across the 28 Member States. Germany is in number one position.
- Average Irish MEP attendance at plenary sessions of the European Parliament in 2015 stands at 81%. It should be noted, however, that one of Ireland’s 11 MEPs was excused from attending plenary sessions of the European Parliament in 2015 due to illness. The average attendance rate for the remaining 10 MEPs is 89%. This represents the second highest attendance rate measured in six years.
- 2015 saw the highest number of speeches by Irish MEPs ever recorded by the Accountability Report – a total of 1,741 speeches.
- It also saw a total of 524 parliamentary questions being asked by Irish MEPs, the third highest level recorded in the history of the Accountability Report, despite the fact that there is now a limit on the number of parliamentary questions MEPs can submit per month.
- Attendance by members of the Oireachtas Committee on EU Affairs varied from a low of 59% in 2010 to a high of 71% the following year. The 2014 rate was 61%. In 2015 this had slightly dropped to 60%.
- We also measure attendance by Ministers at various Oireachtas Committees to brief TDs and Senators on EU Council meetings, which was a commitment given in the 2011 Programme for Government. This had been improving since 2011, when it was first measured, at 36%, to 51% in 2014; unfortunately this dropped back to 42% in 2015.
Speaking about the 2015 Accountability Report findings, European Movement Ireland Executive Director, Noelle O Connell, said “As part of our mission to develop the connection between Ireland and the EU, and to promote transparency and accountability, EM Ireland has been tracking a variety of indicators since 2010. Our Accountability Report is an important aspect of our work in shining a light on Ireland’s engagement with Europe. It also offers a comparison between Ireland’s performance at an EU level with that of our European counterparts, and provides some context in which to base the findings by evaluating the Irish performance at an EU level.”
“The 2015 Report offers the first full year in which we look at the work of MEPs since the 2014 elections and it is clear that 2015 has seen a sustained high level of activity by them in the European Parliament, which is welcome”, added Ms O Connell.
“Turning to the Oireachtas and its role in scrutinising EU legislation, we hope that the next Programme for Government contains a commitment to strengthening the role of Committees, none more so than the important work of the Joint Committee on European Union Affairs”, concluded Ms O Connell.