Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada said An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s address to the European parliament today had plenty of style but lacked any real substance.
The Ireland South MEP said his speech failed to address the very real concerns of citizens.
“In what has become the hallmark of his leadership, An Taoiseach delivered a slick sounding speech that used all the right buzzwords but actually said very little,” she said.
“He failed to address the genuine concerns of citizens regarding Europe, not even venturing so far as to offer a suggestion asto what his government would do to work towards a genuinely social Europe, that works in the people’s interests and not for private ones.
“I was horrified to hear An Taoiseach say he was pleased with his government taking the decision to
increase defence spending and their commitment to latch us to PESCO, a military alliance, which top EU officials have referred to as an EU Army.
“If abandoning our long standing policy of neutrality were not enough he then had the gall to speak about the importance of member state parliaments whilst his government suppressed any real debate on the issue of PESCO in our own national parliament.
“Given Ireland’s heightened profile in Europe at the moment due to the Brexit negotiations Mr Varadkar had a golden opportunity today to address the real concerns held by Irish citizens regarding the EU whilst outlining his vision for the future of Europe.
“Instead he continued with the long standing Fine Gael and Fianna Fail policy of not rocking the boat and seeking a pat on the head from officials.
“In the midst of what is perhaps the biggest existential crisis Europe has faced since the Second World War, instead of allaying the fears of citizens, he has shown his true colours.
“The future he wants for Europe is not a social Europe, where citizens come first, but a militarised one, where vested interests are protected.”