Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy and member of Cork City Council has criticized the burning of the EU flag outside Cork City Hall by recently elected County Cork Councillor Diarmuid O’Cadla. Cllr McCarthy, who is a member of the European Committee of the Regions in response to Cllr O’Cadla’s actions, noted; “it is very strange that the Councillor continues to pick on Cork City Council despite having a mandate on a much larger Council, where he can put down a motion calling for an Ireland exit and have a proper debate and vote on it; There are more democratic ways of voicing concern on the work of the EU than staining the ground with a burnt flag outside Cork City Hall”.
“Ireland has benefitted from membership in so many ways – from receiving vast EU structural funds to having a voice on the future of large scale regions like the Atlantic and the associated Atlantic Maritime Action Plan. The annual Europe Day allows citizens to reflect on the four freedoms of the EU and its range of positive work, which needs to be communicated more effectively. Recently I presented Cork’s story of the Erasmus Plus programme in UCC and CIT to Committee of the Regions colleagues – Erasmus allows for the exchange of thousands of students between colleges per annum across the continent. I also certainly value the opportunity to be able to travel, live and work across 28 member states (Britain still included). There are many many Irish companies who travel back and forth across the continent with successful businesses under their belt”.
Cllr McCarthy continued; “the EU is not the silver bullet to solving all problems within member states; that’s not its job; it was born after a crisis, has fought crises and remains to fight crises – it has brought peace to the continent and it has brought together member states to work together”.
“Cork has also benefitted so much from European Structural Funds. All of our dual carriageways and motorways were part funded by EU money as well the regeneration of our streets and even the insulation of attic spaces in our social housing units are paid for by EU taxpayer’s money. To jeopardise our trade links, access to the four freedoms, research grants such as Horizon 2020, Erasmus Plus programme and future partnerships with EU members is one that shouldn’t be made likely. Burning the EU flag is like burning up the four freedoms and would reduce Ireland to isolationalism, which in a globalized world is not useful to any Irish citizen”.