26 May 2024

Re. Liam Campbell

It's a backhanded compliment of sorts that the Murdoch press is expending so many column inches on smearing me on the eve of a very important election.

The details of the Sunday Times article are with my solicitor for review. Pending review, I can say the following:

Any involvement I have had with any Irish political prisoners has always been anchored in the work of the Oireachtas Ad-hoc Prisoner group, a cross party grouping on prisoner and justice issues in the framework of the Good Friday Agreement and reinforcing the peace process. I was member of the group throughout my time in the Dáil. Our work has been recognised by the Independent Reporting Commission, a statutory body established in 2015 to report on measures aimed at ending paramilitarism.

We met Liam Campbell in 2012 as part of the work of that group. In 2013 I, along with Eamon Ó Cuív, Maureen O’Sullivan and Martin Ferris, travelled to Lithuania to attend at the trial of Michael Campbell. As an MEP I have continued to work on fundamental rights and prison conditions on the European Parliament's Civil Liberties committee, in which capacity I have worked with prisoners and defendants in numerous EU countries.

There is nothing whatsoever either surprising or untoward about public representatives who work on fundamental rights and prison conditions interacting with persons accused or convicted of criminal offences, and taking steps to help them when they and their legal teams seek to ensure their rights are vindicated. Human rights are universal, or they are meaningless.

Against the backdrop of Israeli threats against the Irish state, it is deeply troubling that the Murdoch-owned British press is collaborating with a website controlled by a Russian oligarch with links to Israel on a piece that is deeply invidious to the peace process, and publishing what can only be described as a political hit-job on an Irish politician less than two weeks out from an Irish election.
08 Feb 2024

European Parliament’s “Russiagate” Resolution

Read the resolution here.
See our main amendment here.

In democracies, the rule of law and the universality of human rights are supposed to be fundamental. Not in the European Parliament, where you only have to say the magic word, "Russia," and brains switch off, principles are suspended and due process goes out the window.

But smears about ‘foreign agents,’ ‘terrorists’ and ‘subversives,’ and the suspension of respect for due process and universal rights to address "external threats" - these are some of the oldest tricks in the book. Guilt-by-association is another.

Authoritarian in character, these are multi-purpose weapons for the centre to delegitimise opposition and target everyone it doesn't like: populists and Eurocriticals, Catalan and Basque independence, the left, Irish republicans, political dissidents, the anti-war movement. The list goes on and on, and changes according to the elite political priorities of the day. And when the drift towards authoritarianism is left unchecked, it slides towards active repression.

Democracy, the rule of law, and fundamental rights are non-negotiable. Human rights are universal. A genocide is ongoing in Gaza. The European Union is complicit in it. At a time when it has become blindingly obvious that the EU establishment doesn't give a damn about international law, or the law in Europe either, they would like nothing better than to create a giant distraction. Don't let them.

19 Jan 2024

Press Release: Israeli spokesmen celebrate as 5 Fine Gael MEPs help torpedo a European Parliament call for a ceasefire in Gaza

Clare Daly: ‘Fine Gael MEPs have serious questions to answer over Gaza vote... The fact the Israelis spent yesterday trumpeting their satisfaction with the Parliament’s text shows you that far from a call for a ceasefire, this text is yet another example of EU support for Israeli genocide.'

 

MEP Clare Daly has said that Fine Gael MEPs have ‘serious questions to answer’ regarding their vote yesterday on a Gaza resolution at the European Parliament.

 

Said Daly, ‘Yesterday, Ireland’s five Fine Gael MEPs voted in favour of an amendment to effectively remove the call for a ceasefire in Gaza from a European Parliament resolution on the humanitarian situation in Gaza and “the need to reach a permanent ceasefire”. The word ‘ceasefire’ might still be there in the text, but the effect of the amendment was to tell the Israeli government the European Parliament is happy for them to continue until their goals have been achieved, a position that has brought us 105 days of slaughter and atrocity in Gaza.

 

‘The  language of the amendment, and of the resolution that was passed, exactly mirrors the position of the Israeli government - the killing will not stop until Hamas is ‘dismantled’ and all hostages unconditionally released.

 

‘The “Netanyahu amendment”, which lifts its text almost directly from a statement by the Israeli Prime Minister, was carried by 257 votes to 242, with all five Fine Gael MEPs voting in favour of it. The fact the Israelis spent yesterday trumpeting their satisfaction with the Parliament’s text shows you that far from a call for a ceasefire, this text is yet another example of EU support for Israeli genocide.’

 

The resolution has been welcomed by Israeli spokespeople and Israel’s ambassador to the EU, who told Politico.eu, “We are happy to see that the European Parliament understands the need to release the hostages and disarm Hamas before any cease-fire.”

 

Netanyahu spokesman Eylon Levy wrote on Twitter: ‘The European Union wants Israel to win this war against Hamas. 🇪🇺🤝🇮🇱. The European Parliament just demanded the immediate and unconditional release of the hostages and dismantling of Hamas. It said no permanent ceasefire until then.’

 

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Said Daly, ‘We said yesterday that Israel would understand this resolution as a green light to continue the slaughter - and that’s exactly how it has been understood by them. Fine Gael has extremely serious questions to answer about this vote, which undermines the repeatedly stated position of the Irish government that a ceasefire should be immediate. This kind of division in the Irish position will be exploited by the Israeli government and by those in the European Council who are determined that Israel’s genocide should be allowed go on.’

 

Said Mick Wallace, ‘Ireland has consistently said that it supports an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. The fact that five Government MEPs voted yesterday to sabotage a call for a ceasefire will have repercussions for how Ireland is perceived globally. The fact this resolution, and this amendment, has been delightedly welcomed by the Israelis tells you exactly what it is.

 

‘In statements yesterday Fine Gael pleaded that in the same voting session they also supported a call for an immediate ceasefire, but you can’t have it both ways on this issue. That amendment failed, and the “Netanyahu amendment” passed. Fine Gael voted for that amendment, one that without question supports the Israeli position that the genocide should go on. That will be seized on by the Israeli government. Fine Gael have serious questions to answer on this.

 

‘Media reporting on this so far has characterised it as a difference of opinion between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael regarding the degree of conditionality that should attach to a ceasefire call, completely missing the fact that this is not what’s at issue. The truth is that the vote to attach the particular conditions they did to the ceasefire call renders the word ‘ceasefire’ in the text null and void, and the Israelis very clearly understand it that way. This text grants permission to Israel to continue its genocide until Israel decides it should stop. You’d imagine that government MEPs supporting that move would face some questions, but so far a code of omerta appears to have prevailed.’

 

Links: https://claredaly.ie/press-release-on-behalf-of-meps-mick-wallace-and-clare-daly-meps-wallace-and-daly-denounce-fine-gael-meps-for-torpedoing-european-parliament-call-for-unconditional-ceasefire-in-gaza/

18 Jan 2024

Press release on behalf of MEPs Mick Wallace and Clare Daly: MEPs Wallace and Daly denounce Fine Gael MEPs for torpedoing European Parliament call for unconditional ceasefire in Gaza

Independents 4 Change MEPs Mick Wallace and Clare Daly today denounced Ireland’s five Fine Gael MEPs for voting in favour of an amendment tabled by Fine Gael’s EPP Group to a resolution on the war in Gaza that torpedoed what should have been a clear, unconditional call for a permanent ceasefire.

 

Statement by Mr Wallace and Ms Daly:

 

The resolution passed by the European Parliament today is not a "call for a permanent ceasefire." It is an open-ended license for genocide.

 

Reporting characterising it as "the European Parliament calls for a 'permanent ceasefire'" is a misrepresentation of the text that has actually been passed. Under no circumstances should it be allowed to go unchallenged.

 

Thanks to an amendment by the EPP, Fine Gael’s European Parliament group, the Parliament’s chance to finally stand up and call for a ceasefire has been shot down. Outrageously, all of Ireland’s Fine Gael MEPs voted in favour of this amendment.  Those five MEPs should be ashamed.  We have been inundated with emails from Irish people since October, asking us to do whatever we can to call for a ceasefire or bring one about.  And today Fine Gael MEPs have absolutely torpedoed the only formal, official chance MEPs have to do so, which is via a European Parliament resolution.  Far from being a call for a ceasefire, the text that was passed calls for an end to Israel’s genocidal assault on Gaza on precisely the same preconditions that Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted on before a ceasefire takes place: the "dismantling of Hamas" and the unconditional release of hostages. Netanyahu has said, ‘We are committed to continue until the end, until we dismantle Hamas, until we return all our hostages." The resolution says the same thing, saying a ceasefire should only come ‘provided that all hostages are immediately and unconditionally released and the terrorist organisation Hamas is dismantled.’ So no talks, no ceasefire, and the killing continues until Hamas is gone. This is Israel's repeatedly stated pretext for genocide, plain and simple, adopted by the European Parliament. It is not a call for a ceasefire. It is an open-ended license for genocide, and will be understood by Israel as such.  The people of Gaza who are being murdered in their thousands by Israel are not responsible for the actions of Hamas.

 

In every respect, this resolution is the opposite of what is needed. While the text claims to be a call for a ceasefire, it is a green light for butchery to continue. While it pretends to regret the humanitarian situation in Gaza, MEPs voted down amendment after amendment calling for meaningful steps to address it. While it feigns concern about "regional escalation," it in fact cheers on US-led military operations and calls for EU naval operations that will only bring the Middle East closer and closer to wider war. It is a disgraceful text and a shocking missed opportunity.

 

ENDS

 

See below the content of the relevant amendment, AM 26, and the result of the roll call vote showing how all Irish MEPs voted.

 

01 Dec 2023

Press Release: Government talking out of both sides of its mouth on EU’s child sexual abuse regulation

A cross-party group of MEPs has today written to the Oireachtas Justice Committee to highlight their concern at the approach being taken at EU-level by the Irish Government in regard to the European Commission’s proposed Regulation laying down rules to prevent and combat child sexual abuse.

 

The letter, signed by Irish MEPs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace, along with Cornelia Ernst (Left Group Shadow on the file); Patrick Breyer (Shadow for Greens/EFA) and Paul Tang (Shadow for S&D), highlights that the proposed regulation ‘represents a severe and thoroughgoing risk to a range of fundamental rights’. It goes on:

 

‘We have been very surprised, in light of the clear and deep concern in regard to the proposed regulation expressed by the [Oireachtas Justice] Committee (a concern which we share), that the Irish government’s position in Council has been one of unqualified support for the proposal. Indeed, Ireland has led the charge for the most extreme version of the proposed regulation in Council, in opposition to what became a blocking minority of states (who share many of the concerns expressed by a majority of members of the Oireachtas Justice Committee, including members of the government).’

 

Said Clare Daly, ‘It is absolutely shocking that the Irish Government has not taken a stronger position at Council against this ill-conceived, unprecedented and dangerous regulation. Given its own Justice Committee, which contains a majority of government TDs, was unequivocal in its opposition to the legislation, it’s hard to shake the concern that the Irish government is doing one thing in public, and something else entirely behind the closed doors of the Council. We need answers on this, and we need the government to come clean and tell us why they’re not supporting Germany, Austria, France and others in trying to make this regulation compliant with fundamental rights. The need for this is all the more acute given recent scandalous revelations in regard to the most staggering levels of shady dealing that went on in the Commission before this regulation was proposed.’

 

On 19 October, the European Council failed to adopt a position on the proposed regulation, as the required qualified majority of Member States for the highly controversial and unprecedented regulation could not be found. This was the second time the Council had failed to adopt a position on it. States such as Germany, Austria, Poland, Estonia and France are opposed, while Ireland, to date, has been very much in favour.

 

The so-called ‘child sexual abuse regulation’ is one of the most controversial pieces of legislation ever to have been tabled by the European Commission. The legislation will, if enacted in its current form, mandate mass, indiscriminate scanning of all private communications in the EU, including encrypted communications. It has faced unprecedented pushback from human rights and privacy campaigners, as well as the public. As well as campaigners, the proposal has been trenchantly criticised by the European Council’s own legal service, which - in a rare major critique of a legislative proposal – warned of a ‘serious risk’ of generalised monitoring, undermining encryption and violating the very ‘essence’ of the right to privacy. It has been heavily criticised by the European Data Protection Board, and the European Data Protection Supervisor, and the European Commission’s own regulatory scrutiny board (RSB) warned before the law was officially proposed that it might amount to unlawful general monitoring.

 

In May 2023, the Oireachtas Justice Committee submitted a political contribution to the European Commission on the proposal. It is extremely rare for an Oireachtas Committee to take such a step in regard to a piece of European legislation. The Committee outlined a wide range of concerns in regard to the law, stating that ‘it is extremely intrusive in terms of people’s right to privacy, confidentiality of communications, data protection and right to freedom of expression,’ and adding, ‘The Committee believes that effective child protection will not be served by a counter-productive regulation, only for it to be later struck down by the courts.’

 

Despite this, the Irish Government has not taken a position at Council in opposition to the most controversial parts of the law - mass scanning of private communications, and the breaking of encryption to do so. It is these aspects that pose the gravest threat to ‘the essence of the right to privacy’, as the Council legal service put it. The records of Council Working Group meetings published by German outlet Netzpolitik show that Ireland is systematically the first Member State taking the floor to support – unconditionally – the presidency’s proposal, even though such proposals always go in the direction opposite to the Oireachtas Justice Committee’s opinion.

 

Said Daly, ‘It looks very much like the Irish Government is trying to have its cake and eat it in regard to this deeply unpopular law, with one position being taken by the Justice Committee (with the support of Government TDs), and a wholly different one being taken when nobody is looking. It’s not good enough. Apart from the gross violations of basic rights this law will bring about, the degree of scandal that has now emerged over the drafting of the law by the Commission means the Government now has no option but to change course at Council.’

 

In October, a group of NGOs wrote to the European Commission to express their concern at allegations of undue and privileged access for certain stakeholders - including AI companies who stood to profit from it - to the Commissioner and staff drafting the regulation, as well as additional allegations that DG HOME engaged in the unlawful and unethical micro-targeting of adverts on social media platforms in relation to this same law. They describe ‘what seems to be a systematic failure of DG HOME to abide by Commission rules and principles around ethics, the better regulation agenda, and the protection of personal data’.

 

At issue in the NGO letter were two articles - in the first, on 7 October, an investigative journalist published evidence indicating that the US ‘not-for-profit start-up’ Thorn played a significant role in the drafting of the text of the CSA Regulation. As well as being a ‘charity’, Thorn also develops and sells the scanning software that would be needed to scan communications if this regulation became law. The 7 October article includes evidence that DG HOME officials and Thorn staff collaborated closely, and that Thorn was able to influence the draft regulation in order to fit their commercial interests. A second article, published five days later, revealed that the Commission had paid for a micro-targeted social media advertising campaign in support of the Regulation, targeting specific Member States right after they declared scepticism in regard to the law. These ads have been described as ‘manipulative’ and suggest that critics of the proposal don’t want to protect children from abuse.

 

These were not the only allegations being levelled at the Commission. A lengthy investigative piece by a consortium of journalists, published in September, related a hair-raising narrative of conflicts of interest and undue influence, with the Commission working hand-in-glove with vested interests in drafting the Regulation, and caught in a web of big money, front groups, and security agencies, all away from public view. Were this a story about a national government rather than the European Commission, that government would be facing street protests and motions of no-confidence, such is the level of scandal involved.

 

Said Daly, ‘My own view is that this proposal should be torn up and binned - there’s no salvaging it, and the revelations in regard to the circumstances in which it was conceived and drafted are such that it will be forever tarnished. The Irish Government needs to stop talking out of both sides of its mouth on this, and at the next Council vote pledge its support to the blocking minority of states who are, rightly, against this madness.’

 

The European Parliament last week adopted its mandate for negotiations with the Council, with a comprehensive majority showing strong support for a position that removed many of the thoroughgoing risks to fundamental rights in the Commission’s proposal. German MEP Patrick Breyer,  who has been one of those leading the fight against the proposed regulation, and who is Shadow Rapporteur on the file for the Greens/EFA Group,  said of the Parliament’s pushback against the regulation:

 

‘Governments must finally accept that this highly dangerous bill can only be fundamentally changed or not be passed at all. The only way forward with this dystopian Chat Control bill, both politically and legally, is to remove indiscriminate mass scanning and end-to-end encrypted services from the proposal. No child is helped with legislation that will inevitably fail in court even before its implementation.  The suspicionless, error-prone screening of private messages is the most toxic part of the draft regulation, but the problems go far beyond that. We therefore need a new approach that focuses on preventive child protection instead of mass surveillance and paternalism!’

 

Read the MEPs' letter here.

 

See also:

Annex 1 – 2023-04-26_Council_Legal-Service_CSAR_8787

Annex 2 – CSAM-Joint-call-for-safeguarding-encryption-and-limiting-detection-orders

Annex 3 – Who Benefits – Child Sexual Abuse Regulation

Annex 4 – EP mandate child sexual abuse regulation

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 May 2023

Official statement by Clare Daly and Mick Wallace on the outcome of the Brussels Activist Peace Forum, May 13, 2023

On May 13, 2023, representatives of a number of peace and anti-war organisations from 11 different European countries met in Brussels, at a conference hosted by Clare Daly and Mick Wallace MEPs, to discuss the situation of the peace movement in the context of the war in Ukraine.

 

 Those present deplored the suffering and loss of life caused by the war, and shared a profound concern about escalation of the conflict. There was a strong consensus around the need for anti-war forces in Europe to call for a ceasefire, peace negotiations and efforts to diminish the possibility of nuclear war in Europe.

 

-- Clare Daly & Mick Wallace MEPs