Dublin, 5 May, 2015: Today, European Movement Ireland released a 5-year ‘Accountability Report’, the first of its kind in Ireland, which tracks engagement with EU affairs by Irish politicians, using multiple indicators, over the 5 year period from 2010-2014. The institutions and processes involved have included:
- The Oireachtas
- The European Parliament
- European Commission Consultations
- The European Council
Key findings for the 5 years under review include:
- Both Enda Kenny TD and his predecessor Brian Cowen have had 100% attendance at EU Council meetings since 2010.
- Attendance by Irish MEPs at plenary sessions ranged from a high of 93% (2013) to 76% in the latter half of 2014, following last May’s European Parliament elections.
- Similarly the number of speeches given by Irish MEPs ranged from 944 (2011) to 200 in the latter half of 2014.
- It is worth noting though that already in 2015, published data has found an increase in both of these statistics: Attendance by the 11 Irish MEPs so far in 2015 has been 80%, with 328 speeches made by Irish MEPs up until the middle of April.
- Attendance by Irish Ministers has varied at the different Councils of the EU with a spread from 75%, to a high of 99% in 2013, during which Ireland held the EU Presidency, and down to 84% in 2014.
- Over the 5 years, the average Irish minister attendance rate at EU Council meetings stands at an impressive 90%.
- 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%.
- Attendance by Ministers at various Oireachtas Committees to brief TDs and Senators on EU Council meetings has been improving since 2011, when it was first measured, at 36%, to 51% last year.
Speaking about the 5-year Accountability Report, EM Ireland Executive Director, Noelle O Connell, said “As part of European Movement (EM) Ireland’s mission to develop the connection between Ireland and the EU, and to promote transparency and engagement, we have 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 at a number of different levels. It also offers a comparison between our 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 engagement at an EU level.”
“Although there has been a year on year increase in some of the findings, room for improvement still remains in many of the ways in which Irish representatives work with Europe and engage at an EU level and how, in turn, this work is communicated to Irish people”, added Ms O Connell.
“It is also important to note that our Report relies solely on data which is available in the public domain. EM Ireland acknowledges that, for example, analysing the daily activities of Irish MEPs in the European Parliament does not allow for a thorough analysis of the level of engagement of MEPs with the European parliamentary process, as much of work of MEPs happens behind the scenes. Applying this caveat is a useful precaution in interpreting parliamentary and institutional statistics of the sort under review in our Accountability Report. However it is not a reason to refrain from observing and commenting on the available data so as to play a vital role in promoting transparency and engagement at the highest levels of Ireland’s relationship with the EU”, concluded Ms O Connell.