Deirdre de Burca supports elected EU President, opposes Irish companies seeking military contracts.

Deirdre de Burca: Surprisingly frank.

Deirdre de Burca: Surprisingly frank.

Adrian Weckler  and I recently dispatched a number of questions to the Dublin Euro Candidates, on questions we thought are never asked. Here’s what Green Candidate Deirdre de Burca, who has so far been the only candidate to reply,  said:

( I know, it is a lot of text, but in fairness, one of the reasons we engaged in this exercise is because we were fed up with empty slogans. That means giving the candidates a fair chance to explain their positions. As long as they don’t take the piss and send us  the collected speeches of  Cicero.)   

Q: What are the top three things that you will attempt to do as an MEP that you could not do as a TD?
DDB: I will make sure that the ‘Green New Deal’ economic stimulus programme is implemented across Europe so that thousands of new green jobs can be created in Ireland. 
I will also ensure that Ireland will benefit from any of the resources, funding and supports that will become available through the EU over the coming years, particularly where initiatives to tackle unemployment and support new job creation are concerned.
If elected I will make sure that I use my MEP office to make Irish voters fully aware of what is happening in Brussels that is relevant to them, and to engage them to a much greater extent with the broader debate about the European project and the direction it should take.
Q: Do you support a directly elected Commission President? If so, what will you do as an MEP to progress this?
DDB: Yes I do. I will campaign along with the European Green Party to ensurethat the current treaties are amended to allow for the direct popular election of the Commission President.
Q: Are you in favour of Turkey joining the European Union?
DDB: In general terms, yes, but Turkey still has a lot to do in a number ofareas to join. In particular there are human rights issues surrounding the use of torture in Turkish prisons and the application of the death penalty. There are a number of  territorial issues involving disputes with Cyprus, Greece and Turkey’s Kurdish minority. There are issues surrounding corruption and transparency within some of Turkey’s ministries. I know that these issues are resolvable over time, and that Turkey could become a vibrant new member of the European Union.
Q: Are you in favour, generally, of further expansion of the European Union within the next 10 years?
DDB: I believe that the EU needs to consolidate the expansion/enlargement that has occurred since 2004. I would not be in favour of any significant expansion for another 5-10 years at least.
Q: Do you agree that if Ireland exceeds the European average wealth level, it should be a net contributor to the EU?
DDB: Yes I agree.
Q: Are you in favour of tax harmonisation across the EU? If not, do you support the right of other EU countries to undercut us with lower taxes?
DDB: I do not favour tax harmonisation across the EU unless some other very effective instrument can be found to compensate Ireland for its periperality and for the trading disadvantages that our peripheral location confers on this country.
Q:  Do you believe that a joint European defence force is a good thing?
DDB: No I don’t wish to see a common European defence emerging. Instead I would like to see the EU maximise the use of the “soft power” instruments it has available to it (trade , aid , diplomacy) and to develop its civilian capabilities. I do support however, the range of ESDP missions undertaken by the EU at present under the Petersburg tasks as long  as participation in these missions respects the particular traditions of each Member State.
Q: Should we refuse to trade with countries that are at war or that have poor human rights records?
DDB: I think we should completely rule out trading with countries with appalling human rights records such as Colombia until they sign up to clear commitments to make measurable improvements in these areas. Then there are other countries with whom the EU could trade even though their human rights track records leave a lot to be desired. However in such instances, the trade agreements should have clear and binding clauses and timetables in relation to tackling these issues. I believe that trade agreements between the EU and countries which fail to fulfil these commitments should be suspended and in some instances completely terminated.
Q: Are you in favour of Irish troops training and coordinating operations with Nato countries?
DDB: I am not. NATO is a military alliance based on a common defence and a nuclear first strike principle. I think that even if one subscribes to a minimalist understanding of Ireland as a militarily neutral country, the implications of this status must be to rule out training and co-ordinating with an organisation whose members are in such a military alliance.
Q: Do you consider Irish companies bidding for Nato military contracts a breach of neutrality?
DDB: This is a complex issue and not easy to give a black and white answer to. I personally would prefer not to see Irish companies bidding for NATO military contracts – in fact any military contracts at all! However, I think it would be hard to prevent Irish companies from bidding for such contracts- they can do so at the moment as far as I am aware. However I believe the Irish state and its agencies should be legally precluded from promoting such procurement opportunities.
Q: France has proposed a European law that would give each country’s regulator the authority to shut off users’ Internet services if they they were caught illegally downloading movies or music. A vote in the Parliament will take place in six months. Do you agree with this proposed law?
DDB: No I dont. I think we need to be very careful about starting to try to interfere with what people are doing on the internet, and shutting down services unless there is very serious criminal behaviour involved that poses some kind of real threat to society.I would be in favour of trying to find some other kind of approach to deal with the problem of illegal downloading of movies and music on the internet.
Q: What would describe as the three most important messages in your EP campaign?
DDB: I will be part of bringing thousands of new green collar jobs back to Dublin. I will campaign for full transparency on lobbying and MEPs expenses in the EU and will publish my own every year.
I will work along with the European Green Party to make the EU more democratic and to give more power to voters in Brussels

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