Survey Highlights A Dangerous Disconnect Between Electorate and Brussels
More than 90% of people can’t name a single MEP in the Dublin region, according to survey results released today. The survey, which was carried out by the office of Senator Catherine Noone in Dublin City Centre, highlighted the fact that 91.1% of people couldn’t name a single MEP. Out of 301 people surveyed, only 9% could name an MEP, and of those, only 2% could name two MEPs and only 1% could name all three MEPs for the Dublin region.
“This highlights a dangerous disconnect between MEPs in Dublin and their electorate,” Senator Noone, Fine Gael spokesperson on European Affairs, said, “Awareness of the functions and roles carried out by MEPs needs to be raised. You can’t blame an individual but certainly given that two-thirds of our MEPs are co-opted doesn’t help matters. Perhaps MEPs need to be holding more public meetings and forums regularly, and working more visibly on the ground throughout the country during this vital time. One person during the course of our surveying sincerely believed that even Angela Merkel was an MEP”.
Senator Noone continued: “I carried out this survey as it became apparent that – in the run up to the European elections – it was clear many people didn’t know who their MEPs were, and I thought this would be worth quantifying. In Dublin, we’re in the unique situation of having two people co-opted into two seats, which means that only one person was directly elected in Dublin who is still an MEP today, therefore it’s no surprise that Gay Mitchell was the most popular name in the survey”.
Senator Noone concluded: “The survey shows a real need to increase dialogue between MEPs and locals. The system of co-opting is here to stay, but I’m not entirely sure it is something which is beneficial to the democratic process, a quarter of MEPs are co-optees and this helps contribute to over 90% of people not being able to name an MEP. We need to do something to remedy this, and shared quarterly forums between all MEPs in a given region might be an idea. We need to do more so that people know about what’s happening in Europe that’s of interest to Ireland and, while I try to do that in my role as European Affairs Seanad spokesperson, I feel there is definitely more that can be done”.
The breakdown of named Dublin candidates:
Mitchell – 6.65%, Costello – 2.99%, Murphy – 3.32% with 9% of people naming one MEP and, of those, 2% of people named 2 MEPs and 1% of people were able to name all 3.