Cuffe calls on Fine Gael MEP candidates to denounce political violence

Mike Finnerty 09 May 2024

Dublin MEP Ciarán Cuffe has called on Fine Gael MEP candidates to endorse a declaration that condemns political violence and rule out working with the far-right.

In late April, German MEP Matthias Ecke of the governing SPD party was assaulted and required hospitalisation for his injuries.

On May 8th, a declaration titled “In Defence of Democracy” which explicitly condemns political violence against candidates was signed by Socialists and Democrats (home of Labour and the Social Democrats European grouping), the Left (Sinn Féin’s and Clare Daly’s European grouping) the Greens and Renew Europe (Fianna Fáil’s European grouping).

Notably, the European People’s Party, home to Fine Gael, did not sign the declaration which has led to concerns from Cuffe.

Cuffe said “it is worrying that Fine Gael’s political grouping in Europe declined to sign this statement that rejects violence and endorses democracy. As some of their member parties strike deals with the far-right, it is important that EPP members show their commitment to defending democracy and rejecting violence.”

“I am calling on all of Ireland’s candidates for the forthcoming European Elections, including members of Fine Gael, to state their support for the ‘In Defence of Democracy’ declaration.”

The statement says there is a “clear link” between increasing political violence and the rise of the far-right across Europe.

The groupings that signed the statement have vowed to “never cooperate nor form a coalition with the far-right and radical parties at any level.”

Fine Gael’s placement within the EPP has been criticised in recent weeks, with Labour’s candidate Aodhán Ó Ríordáin saying that a vote for Fine Gael in June translates to a vote for Ursula Von Der Leyen’s policies surrounding immigration and the Gaza conflict.

Sinn Féin candidate Daithí Doolan said that Fine Gael are “dithering” on their support of Van Der Leyen.

“Von der Leyen has damaged the EU’s reputation on the world stage. Her comments have undermined any future attempts by the EU to facilitate a ceasefire or support a long-term peace process in the region,” Doolan said.

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