Its been a busy two days so far during this plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Following the re-election of Martin Schulz (DE, S&D) as President of the European Parliament the focus turned to the election of the 14 Vice Presidents of the Parliament.
The Vice Presidents make up the Bureau of the Parliament, along with the President and Quaestors of the Parliament. They also chair sessions of the Parliament when the President is not present.
Of the 14 Elected Irish MEP Mairead McGuinness (EPP, FG) was elected on the first count along with five of her colleagues from the European People’s Party. McGuinness actually had the 2nd highest number of votes with 441 votes only being beaten by her Italian EPP Colleague Antonia Tajani (452 votes).
Tomorrow the focus turns to the committees where much of the work of MEPs take place and much horse trading and bartering goes on. The size of the committees where set yesterday for the 20 committees and Irish MEPs will sit on 9 of those. The committee with the highest number of Irish MEPs is of course agriculture with three MEPs on it followed by Environment committee on which two Irish MEPs will sit.
Budgets (BUDG): Liadh Ni Riada (GUE/NGL, SF)
Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON): Brian Hayes (EPP, FG)
Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL): Marian Harkin (ALDE, IND)
Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI): Lynn Boylan (GUE/NGL, SF), Nessa Childers (S&D, IND)
Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE): Sean Kelly (EPP, FG)
Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO): Brian Crowley (ECR, IND/FF)
Transport and Tourism (TRAN): Deirdre Clune (EPP, FG)
Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI): Mairead McGuinness (EPP, FG), Matt Carthy (GUE/NGL, SF), Luke “Ming” Flanagan (GUE/NGL, IND)
Fisheries (PECH): Liadh Ni Riada (GUE/NGL, SF).
No Irish MEPs sit on Foreign Affairs, Development, International Trade, Budgetary Control, Regional Development, Culture and Education, Legal Affairs, Civil Liberties Justice and Home Affairs, Constitutional Affairs, Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, or Petitions. How ever they may be appointed as supplementary members of those committees at a later point.
Ireland South MEP Brian Crowley, Fianna Fails sole MEP, is set to announce that he will be leaving the liberal ALDE Group in the European Parliament and instead will join the European Conservatives and Reformists according to Press Reports today.
If this does happen it will put in doubt Fianna Fails membership of the pan-European ALDE Party to which the party leader, Michael Martin is firmly in favour of.
Crowley’s decision to join ECR will mean that Irish MEPs are now spread across 5 European Parliament Groups.
EPP: 4 MEPs (Fine Gael)
GUE/NGL: 4 MEPs (3 Sinn Fein, Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan)
ALDE: 1 MEP (Marian Harkin)
ECR: 1 MEP (Brian Crowley)
S&D: 1 MEP (Nessa Childers)
With Crowley joining the ECR they are now represented in 15 countries. The UK (Conservatives) and Poland (Law and Justice) make up the largest delegations with 20 and 19 respectively and the rest of the group made of MEPs from Belgium (4), Bulgaria (1), Czech Republic (2), Denmark (4), Germany (8), Greece (1), Croatia (1), Latvia (1), Lithuania (1), Netherlands (2), Slovakia (2) and Finland (2).
Crowleys transfer also solidifies ECR as the 3rd largest group in the parliament with 69 seats and pushing ALDE back to 66.
It will be interesting to see now what happens to Fianna Fails membership of the ALDE Party and how often Crowley will be voting with his colleagues.
While a lot of attention is being focused on Senator David Norris’s attempt at getting 20 Oireachtas signatures, the Council route seems to have been neglected by the Senator.
That could change after tomorrow as Fingal County Council holds a special meeting to discuss motions for nominating a candidate in the Presidential Election.
The following have motions tabled for tomorrows Council meeting:
Senator Davis Norris
Dr Pat Jones
A motion in support of Sean Gallagher was also tabled, but the council decided that any candidate who has received the backing of four councils the motion in respect of that candidate would fall.
Fingal County Council was the only council to pass a motion in support of Senator Norris during the summer and it can be expected that tomorrow they will back him. That means he only needs to find three more councils before Wednesday 28th. That is doable.
Carlow County Council is due to meet today to discuss a motion supporting Sean Gallaghers bid for the Presidency. While Mr Gallagher has asked the council not to nominate him it is the only motion before them today.
Louth County Council today also became the 11th Council to endores Mary Davis’ nomination for Presidency. Later this afternoon, North Tipperary County Council will also vote on Ms Davis’ nomination. If passed she will have the backing of 12 councils.
Dana Rosemary Scanlon is also set to make an announcement today according to a number of media outlets. And it is being described as an “Important” one. It is known that one Independent TD is willing to support her and that is Mattie McGrath
It has also been confirmed who the four Independent TDs who nominated Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein are. TD’s Finian McGrath, Luke “Ming” Flanagan, Michael Healy-Rae and Tom Fleming all signed his nomination papers.