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Tag Archives: EU

McNamara quizzes US whistleblower Snowden

By Owen Ryan CLARE TD Michael McNamara chaired a hearing of the Legal Affairs and Human Rights Assembly of the Council of Europe this week, which was addressed by US whistleblower Edward Snowden, who addressed the Strasbourg hearing by video link from Russia. The 30-year-old former US Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency contractor leaked thousands of documents revealing the extent of surveillance being carried out by US authorities. Now wanted in the US, he is in exile in Moscow. Mr McNamara said that what some of what Snowden told the hearing about spying on people involved in the protection of human rights. “He said the US Government had spied on human rights workers, had specifically targeted bodies like the International Human Rights Watch, the National Security Agency (NCA) had specifically targeted leaders and staff members in a number of NGOs, including some in the United States,” Mr McNamara explained. Mr Snowden addressed the hearing on the same day …

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UK truck tax ‘discriminatory’ – Higgins

IRELAND’S  representative on the European Parliament Transport Committee, MEP Jim Higgins has today called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to do “whatever it takes” to ensure that the new UK truck tax which he described as “discriminatory” does not come into effect on April 1.  “I have discussed the matter with Leo Varadkar over the past number of months, and he has been successful in getting small sections of the A3 near Clones exempted, but it is not enough. The Taoiseach now needs to tell the UK that the charge is going to hurt Irish hauliers, and furthermore that it is discriminatory. The Government should examine the possibility of lodging a complaint with the European Commission on the grounds of discrimination, since the tax will affect Republic of Ireland registered trucks, but not NI registered trucks.” “The Government has to send a clear unambiguous signal to London that this kind of discrimination is not acceptable.”   “We need a proper solution …

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Minister Pat Breen

‘Widely unrealistic’ that Ireland might draw €60m from EU

CHAIRMAN of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Pat Breen has been informed by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan, that it is widely unrealistic that Ireland might be in a position to draw down €50 to €60 million in funding from from the European Union’s Solidarity Fund in response to the recent storms. He said this position was based on the content of contact between Irish Officials and the Commission DG Regio on Monday. The clarification was sought from the Commission, solely in order to confirm the factual position, in light of statements issued by Irish MEPs, following their meetings with Commissioner Hahn on the margins of the EP Plenary in Strasbourg on Thursday of last week. “The total funding available under the Solidarity Fund for 2014 is €500m in 2011 figures or inflation adjusted, €531m. There is no additional funding available this year arising from any carryover of 2013 allocations, despite …

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EU flood fund still open

SENATOR  Martin Conway, on this Wednesday, welcomed comments from the office of the EU’s Regional Policy Commissioner, Johannes Hahn, that Ireland can still apply for assistance from the EU Solidarity Fund. “I am greatly encouraged that the Regional Policy Commissioner has advised that Ireland can apply for funding within the deadline provided if it informs the Commission that additional information will be submitted at a later point. “The EU Solidarity Fund was created in response to severe flooding in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and France during the summer of 2002. “It is possible to access this funding if the majority of a population of a region are hit by serious and lasting effects in living conditions and stability, a definition which could certainly be applied to the destruction which has been wrought on coastal communities and low lying areas around the country,” the Fine Gael senator stated. He urged the Government to push ahead with an application to this …

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Financial boost for Burren farmers

By Nicola Corless THE  Burren Farming for Conservation Programme will be included in new Rural Development Programme, it had been confirmed. Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Simon Coveney announced that €12.5 billion of funds will be sanctioned through the Irish Government and the CAP’s Pillar II programme to the agriculture sector in the period up to 2020. Clare TD Pat Breen said that inclusion of Burren Farming for Conservation Programme in the new Rural Development Programme and the proposals to introduce a new agri-environment scheme were particularly welcome. “I am in regular contact with the farming community and I am very much aware to the challenges facing farm families at this time. Indeed, the recent storm has placed Clare farmers under further pressures with thousands of acres of land now under water,” Deputy Breen said. “There was a very good uptake from Clare farmers for the previous REPS and AEOS scheme and the GLAS scheme will build on the …

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Seed Savers to harvest funding windfall

By CAROL BYRNE A REVISIT to the budget estimate by Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney has resulted in an unexpected financial fillip for the East Clare-based charity, Irish Seed Savers Association. “We have revised the estimate for Seed Savers and we have upped their budget by 15%. There are very few examples in my budget where I have made a decision to increase any budget by that amount,” said Minister Coveney. He was responding to a question posed by Clare Deputy Michael McNamara who had asked him to consider providing a multi annual funding approach for the East Clare based charity. Deputy McNamara said while he was grateful to the minister for the increased funding, which is subject to EU approval and for the interest he had shown in the organisation, “a large part of the difficulty they encounter is not just because of a reduction in funding”. “It is also because there is a reduction in sales, which they rely …

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