MEPs to debate SF links to the IRA and crime

It looks like an uncomfortable week ahead for the 2 Sinn Féin MEPs. Following the move by the Chairman of the College of Quaestors in the European Parliament, Jim Nicholson, to instruct the parliamentary services to consider removing SF MEPs allowances, the Irish Independent’s Conor Sweeney reports from Brussels that next week MEPs will debate Sinn Féin links to IRA and crimeThe report notes that –

The leader of the Socialists, Martin Schultz, will speak out on the issue, it was confirmed last night. Mr Schultz, from Germany, is the leader of the second largest party in the 732 member parliament.

While the largest party, the EPP, has appointed Fine Gael’s Simon Coveney to represent it in the debate at the start of business.

British Labour party members and Labour’s Proinsias de Rossa, who are all members of the Socialists in the parliament, will also speak.

The parliamentary legal services are also reported to be “scrutinising the grounds for cutting off the allowances and expenses for the two Sinn Fein MEPs.”

That particular action, may prove unlikely to be followed through on, although just because there is no precedent for the move doesn’t necessarily mean that a precedent cannot be set. While that issue remains unresolved, the debate itself should be interesting.. for some.. and uncomfortable for others.

As Richard Delevan noted earlier this week.. Sinn F̩in MEP Mary Lou McDonald was somewhat unprepared for the move by the College of Quaestors Рto date, there has been no reported response from SF to this latest news.

[According to the currently available European Parliament online briefing for next week, no specific debate appears to be scheduled, although on March 10th time has been set aside for “Debates on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law”.. ]