Flanagan criticises Malarkey’s comments on European Parliament mission to Donegal

MEP Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan has criticised recent comments made by MEP Colm Malarkey regarding the European Parliament mission to Donegal to discuss deleterious material in concrete products.

MEP Flanagan said, “I read and listened with astonishment to the comments of Fine Gael MEP Colm Markey. He states that it’s ‘quite significant’ that politicians from Europe are coming to Ireland and that ‘The EU is listening’.

“It’s quite significant alright. The reason they are here in the first place is because those people affected were not listened to and are still not being listened to by his Government. This is the very reason I, along with colleagues from the Left Group in the European Parliament, organised this mission. The very reason why I suggested to the campaigners in the first place that they should petition the European Parliament’s PETI committee.

“For three days MEPs have met with those families affected. They have sat in destroyed kitchens. They have stood in mouldy and damp bedrooms. They have listened to their stories. Stories laced with sheer frustration. Frustration that this happened in the first place. Frustration at what is an impossible puzzle of a redress scheme. Frustration and despair that this is still happening to this very day. Frustration at local and national government for a complete and utter failure to carry out market surveillance of construction products. A failure to properly implement a European regulation on Market Surveillance.

“Last May the head of the National Building Control and Market Surveillance offices said they are faced with a ‘national emergency’. They have pleaded with the government for ‘additional resources’ and warned of ‘severe staff shortages’. They have clearly stated that the NCBO has been ‘understaffed since its inception’.

“We heard many things throughout the three-day mission”, continued MEP Flanagan. “But one thing we didn’t hear from the two Fine Gael MEPs present, was an apology. An apology for the hell that their government has created for these people.

“When I first heard that Fine Gael MEPs would be attending, I was surprised to say the least. Given that the only reason the event needed to be held in the first place was because Fine Gael has let people down for years.

“Another reason why I was surprised to hear MEP Markey’s comments was because those attending had been requested not to speak to the press in advance of the mission”.

MEP Flanagan concluded, saying, “Now that the mission is completed, the committee has the information that it needs to write a report, which will help unlock people from the prison of despair that they have been put in. Particular thanks must be given to the PETI committee Chair Delores Montserrat MEP. Without her attendance this mission would not have taken place”.