Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, hosted a debate with MEP candidates for the Midlands North West constituency at the Clayton Hotel, Galway.
Participants included: Maria Walsh (FG), Anne Rabbitte (FF), Brendan Smith (FF), Dominic Hannigan (Labour), Michael O’ Dowd (Renua) Peter Casey (Independent), Fidelma Healy Eames (Independent), Diarmuid Mulcahy (Independent).
The debate is part of Ibec’s European Parliament elections 2019 campaign and provided an opportunity to hear what candidates had to say on the key concerns for the Irish business community in the region. Debates will also take place in Cork and Dublin.
At the event, the group set out key business priorities (click HERE for full details) and said that the elections were an opportunity to strengthen Ireland’s influence in the European Parliament, in its political parties and on its policy committees.
Ibec said the EU remains a model of global co-operation, but further progress is required in the areas of digitalisation and global trade. A deepening of the Single Market will open new economic opportunities and drive job creation. In other areas, member states that are best placed to act, including on taxation, labour market and social legislation.
In the key area of trade, the EU should continue to advance ambitious, balanced trade agreements with its partners. This should include a comprehensive and ambitious future trading relationship with the UK post-Brexit, in addition to closer trading and investment partnerships with the US and China.
Speaking at the event Ibec Director of Policy and Public Affairs Fergal O'Brien said: “The success of business will determine the ability of the EU to grow, improve job opportunities and living standards, and generate the resources for public services and infrastructure investment. It is vital that the needs of business are a priority for candidates.
“The 2019 elections are taking places against the back-drop of a wave of populism sweeping across many parts of the EU. It is extremely important, therefore, that the electorate in Ireland takes seriously what is at stake on May 24. The overriding message from Ibec is to turn out and exercise your democratic right to vote.”
In a call to action, Ibec encourages members and citizens to:
* Find out more about the European Parliament and how its decisions impact your business and your jobs.
* Tell the candidates how creating the right conditions for business can improve living standards, generate tax revenues, and lead to new jobs.
* Inform your employees of the benefits that the EU provides for your business.
* Encourage voting