IRELAND’S three Fianna Fáil MEPs have stood over their decision to abstain from a key vote in the European Parliament this week, against the wishes of their new group, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats. The Liberal group was pushing for new legislation to guarantee media pluralism, because of concerns that Italy and some other EU countries might only have “partially free” media. But Munster MEP Brian Crowley, along with his Fianna Fáil MEP colleagues Liam Aylward and Pat “the Cope” Gallagher, failed to back the party line. As a result, the motion was defeated by just a handful of votes.
Mr Gallagher, leader of the Fianna Fáil delegation, said they abstained as they did not want to meddle in the internal affairs of other member states.
“It’s a long-standing view we have in Fianna Fáil that we should not interfere with domestic matters in other countries, and I wouldn’t want to change that,” he said.
The move has landed the MEPs in hot water with their new group, prompting Mr Gallagher to admit that he should have warned of their decision ahead of time.
“It was possibly my fault that I didn’t flag it in advance but even if I did, we would still have abstained,” he insisted.