11 june 2014
Irish MEPS have been urged to speak out against a decision by the EU Commission to ignore a European Citizen's Initiative petition which gathered support from 1.8 million EU citizens. The Life Institute said that the EU Commission's decision was "a clear example of the undemocratic nature of EU decision-making which had caused so many voters to express their dissatisfaction with the European project in the last election."
The petition was brought by a group called One of Us using a provision of the Lisbon Treaty which allowed petitions gaining more than a million signatures to be used to call on the European Commission to make a legislative proposal.
The One of Us petition urged an end to EU funding for research involving the destruction of human embryos, but the EU Commission last week refused to do so.
"Whatever your views are on embryonic stem cell research, the decision by the EU Commission to ignore a petition signed by 1.8 million EU citizens, including more than 10,000 Irish people, is grossly undemocratic and elitist," said Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute. "It makes a joke of the Citizen's Initiative which was used to try to sell the Lisbon Treaty, since the Commission have shown that they will simply ignore those initiatives when that suits them."
She called on Ireland's MEPs to stand up for democracy and for the right of the people to be heard. "We need Brian Crowley, Ming Flanagan and all the other MEPs to ensure that 1.8 million people cannot simply be ignored," she said.
Ms Uí Bhriain added that it was clear that the scientific community had now turned away from human embryonic stem cell research because it did not help patients and did not produce successful treatments.
"Dr James Thompson, the scientist who had first isolated embryonic stem cells, told the Financial Times on March 1st of this year that he does not see a future in embryonic stem cell research, yet we have the EU's Research Commissioner, Máire Geoghegan Quinn, still claiming that embryonic stem cells 'offer the potential for life-saving treatments', and the EU has spent €156.7 million on projects research involving the use of hESCs in the past 6 years. "
"Our MEPs should be saying: 'Stop wasting public monies, and start listening to the people', or the Citizens Initiative will be exposed as a farce designed to fool people into supporting the Lisbon Treaty," said the Life Institute spokeswoman.
"Failure to speak out would imply that they support the EU Commission in their crass denial of the petition of 1.8 million of its citizens," she concluded.
The One of Us initiative is considering appealing the EU Commission's decision to the European Court of Justice.
Please contact Niamh on 086 1729008 for more information
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