PRESS RELEASE: Irish Ministers and MEPs Make the Grade Again

Dublin, 29 July 2014: Average attendance by Irish Ministers at meetings of the Council of the EU in 2013 stood at 99%, a new report by Irish NGO European Movement (EM) Ireland has shown.  The fourth annual ‘Accountability Report’, which was launched this morning (29 July) by EM Ireland Chairman, Mr Maurice Pratt has recorded the highest Irish ministerial attendance rate since EM Ireland began tracking this engagement in its inaugural 2010 Accountability Report.

Serving as an Irish-European ‘Report card’, eighteen indicators were tracked and analysed.  These include Irish ministerial attendance at European Council meetings; analysis of Oireachtas EU Affairs Committee meetings; MEP attendance and engagement at the European Parliament; and levels of Irish submissions to EU Commission Consultations.  The Report aims to analyse and measure the engagement of Irish political representatives and offers recommendations for improving the transparency and accountability of the Irish-EU political process.

Read and download EM Ireland’s Accountability Report 2013.

Ireland’s Report Card

Pre-Legislative Input

  • In the 60 European Commission consultations with a 2013 closing date reviewed for this Report, the percentage of the total submissions that originated in Ireland ranges from 0% to 6.25%; with an average of 1.1%.  This represents a decrease of 0.3 percentage points from the 2012 average of 1.4%, as calculated by a similar analysis in the Accountability Report 2012.
  • European Movement Ireland recommends that a consistent methodology be employed across all Commission Directorates-General (DGs) for the purposes of tracking and classifying consultation submissions.  The ability to consistently track and analyse the legal identities and origins of all submissions across the consultations published by all DGs would have a significant impact on the accountability and transparency of the system.  More accessible, thorough knowledge of the origins of submissions may also help increase the actual number of submissions by creating awareness among Member States regarding their national contribution levels.

European Parliament

  • Average Irish MEP attendance at plenary sessions of the European Parliament during 2013 was 93%.  This is an increase of 10 percentage points.
  • Irish MEPs asked 384 Parliamentary Questions in 2013.  This is a 15.6% drop from the 455 questions raised by Irish MEPs in 2012.
  • During 2013, Irish MEPs made a total of 890 speeches in plenary sessions of the European Parliament.  This is a significant increase of 143.8% compared to the 2012 figure of 365 speeches.
  • In 2013, there was Irish representation on 14 of the European Parliament’s 20 standing committees and on the Parliament’s only special committee.  Average Irish MEP attendance at the meetings of their designated committees in 2013 was 42%.  This is down from the 2012 figure of 76%.

European Council and Council of the EU

  • The average Irish ministerial attendance rate at 2013 meetings of the Council of the European Union was 99%.  This is an increase of two percentage points on 2012, when the Irish ministerial attendance rate was 97%, and is the highest Irish ministerial attendance rate since European Movement Ireland began tracking this engagement in our inaugural Accountability Report 2010.
  • Ireland ranked joint first – alongside Greece and Lithuania – in terms of average ministerial attendance at meetings of the Council the EU in 2013.
  • Taoiseach Enda Kenny attended all the meetings of the European Council which took place in 2013.  This 100% attendance rate has been consistent since European Movement Ireland’s first Accountability Report 2010.

Oireachtas Engagement

  • The Joint Oireachtas Committee on European Union Affairs met a total of 35 times during 2013.  The average attendance rate of Committee members in 2013 was 56%.  This represents a decrease of eight percentage points from the 2012 attendance rate of 64%.
  • Pre-Council briefings took place in relation to eight out of the 10 General Affairs Council (GAC) meetings that took place in 2013.  This represents a percentage total of 80%, an increase of 16 percentage points on the 2012 rate of 64%.
  • Of the 71 Council meetings that took place during 2013, 33 (46%) had pre-Council or post-Council briefings in front of the relevant Oireachtas Committee.

The Report’s key findings can also be read and downloaded here.

 

Ends.

 

Available for comment
EM Ireland’s Executive Director, Noelle O Connell is available for interview and comment.  Contact Frances Byrne at EM Ireland, on 01 662 5815, 086 814 3297 or email frances@europeanmovement.ie.

Notes for Editors
Founded in 1954, European Movement Ireland is a not-for-profit, voluntary, membership organisation working to make the connection between Irish people and the European Union.  For more information about European Movement Ireland’s campaigns, programmes, information briefings and events, visit www.europeanmovement.ie.

The EM Ireland Accountability Report acts as an Irish-EU report card; evaluating the engagement and performance of Irish representatives to the EU and assessing the level of scrutiny and discussion of European issues at an Irish national parliamentary level through the use of statistical indicators.  By tracking and analysing a number of key indicators, including Irish ministerial attendance at European Council meetings, Oireachtas Committees, and MEP attendance and engagement at the European Parliament, this report measures the engagement of Irish public representatives and provides recommendations to improve the transparency and accountability of the Irish-EU political process.

 

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