Adams calls for confidential EU/British Report to be published

Sinn Fein Louth TD Gerry Adams has welcomed the call by the EU Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly for the European Commission to publish the confidential study conducted by the British government and the European Commission in 2017 and which listed 142 cross-border activities on the island of Ireland that would be negatively impacted by a hard Brexit.

The Louth TD submitted a PQ on this issue in October and received a response from the Minister for Foreign Affairs last week in which the Minister placed the onus for publication on the British government and the EU.

Mr. Adams called on the Irish government to publicly press the EU to publish the report. The Louth TD said:

The 8 December 2017 Joint Report between the British Government and the EU Commission referenced the report of a mapping exercise which shows that “North-South cooperation relies to a significant extent on a common European Union legal and policy framework”. The report warned that the British “departure from the European Union gives rise to substantial challenges to the maintenance and development of North-South cooperation.”

The mapping exercise was a detailed examination of all those areas of North-South co-operation, as provided for by the Good Friday Agreement, which were underpinned by the EU membership of the British and Irish states.

The Good Friday Agreement established six North-South Implementation Bodies and “six areas for cooperation and implementation“. These covered a wide range of issues including, the environment, health, agriculture, transport, education/higher education, tourism, energy, telecommunications, broadcasting, inland fisheries, justice and security, and sport.

It is known that the report identified 142 areas of co-operation between the North and South. Some of these are very detailed. For example, the area of health. It requires equality of patient rights, but also things like single standards for medical devices, the approval of medicines at EU level, mutual recognition of medical qualifications, mutual acceptance of cross border ambulance activity. Cross border health co-operation also includes heart surgery in Dublin for children from the North, as well as cancer treatment in Derry for people from the South. 

There are also joint initiatives on shared waterways and agreement to treat the entire island as one epidemiological entity for the purpose of animal diseases.

I am calling on the Minister for Foreign Affairs to urgently press the EU Commission to publish this confidential report. In the context of the Withdrawal Agreement reached last week between the British government and the EU it is imperative that citizens on this island understand fully the consequences of Brexit and especially of a bad Brexit on matters that affect their daily lives. 

Adams – Effective Action Needed To End Fuel Laundering

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has condemned the criminal gangs involved in the fuel laundering scam and has said that “the only effective means of closing down this illegal activity is to end the differential between agricultural and non-agricultural diesel. The government needs to introduce in its place a system where farmers can reclaim a rebate on their fuel costs based on vouched expenditure”.

Teachta Adams has accused the gangs involved in diesel laundering of “causing serious environmental and health problems, putting at risk legitimate business and jobs, as well as imposing significant financial costs on local councils and the tax payer”.

The Louth TD was commenting after he received written responses from the Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan and from the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan to a series of Dáil Questions he submitted on this issue.

Mr. Adams said: “The responses from Minister Hogan and Noonan make bleak reading and confirm the adverse impact fuel laundering is having, especially in border counties.

· 900 incidents of diesel laundering and waste dumping

· 490 in Louth

· 406 in Monaghan

· €4,959,005 spent since 2008 on the clean-up of fuel laundering sites

· €4,093,979 of this spent in Louth

· 33 oil laundry plants detected and closed since 2010

· 10 oil laundry plants detected and closed in Louth in this period.

· 87 filling stations closed for selling illegal fuel between 2012-13

“While I welcome the increasing cross border co-operation on this issue and while I accept that the new marker being introduced both in Britain and across Ireland should greatly assist the process of identifying and prosecuting those involved in this activity, the danger is that the fuel launderers will find a way to remove this marker also.

“It is Sinn Féin’s view that the only guaranteed means of ending this lucrative trade is to have a single tariff for diesel. A common approach could then be adopted to rebate to farmers the additional costs incurred in fuel purchases.

“The Irish Petroleum Industry Association has estimated that there may be as many as 120 illegal sites in operation (south of the border) and that these are costing the exchequer as much as €155 million per annum in lost fuel duty.

“Until an effective and sustainable solution is agreed and implemented, penalties against these criminal gangs and those who distribute the illegal fuel need to be increased. More resources should be provided to the Garda and PSNI and the Irish government and Executive should urgently review how they can maximise co-operation between policing, customs, justice and environmental agencies.”