Public Policy Bulletin, 10 June 2019

Jun 10, 2019

Read about the public policy issues making headlines this week which include the results in the European Parliament elections in Ireland’s South constituency, a plea for no more Brexit delays from French President Emmanuel Macron and calls for the EU to limit greenhouse gas emissions to protect human health.

EU elections update

The proposed recount due to take place in Ireland’s South constituency was called off last week with Sinn Féin’s Líadh Ní Riada conceding defeat.   Independent’s for Change Mick Wallace, Green Party senator Grace O’Sullivan and outgoing MEP Deirdre Clune (Fine Gael) all join Sean Kelly (Fine Gael) and Billy Kelleher (Fianna Fáil) as the five MEPs elected.  Deirdre Clune took the last remaining seat which will not be taken up until the UK leaves the EU.

Northern Ireland talks

Referring to the new phase of political talks in Northern Ireland that was announced on 26 April, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Karen Bradley and the Tánaiste Simon Coveney gave an update recently to the Taoiseach and UK Prime Minister on progress since then. Welcoming the constructive engagement shown by all parties, both noted that while broad consensus has been reached on some issues, other areas remain to be resolved.  Therefore in order to capitalise on a “narrow window of opportunity”, talks must be intensified in order to “shape a final agreement”.

No more Brexit delays, says French President

French President Emmanuel Macron has said that 31 October should be the "final" deadline for the UK’s departure from the EU. The French President was opposed to the EU granting the UK a long extension when the departure date was delayed from 29 March until the end of October.  Speaking in Paris with members of the International Monetary Conference, Mr Macron said "I think this is the final, final deadline."

Limit greenhouse gas emissions urgently

As climate change intensifies, health risks will increase particularly among the elderly and sick children.  That’s according to a new report carried out by the Royal Irish Academy and the European Science Academies Climate Change working group.  The report says there are seven million infants in Europe who are living in areas where air pollution exceeds World Health Organisation recommended limits.  The working group is calling on the EU to intensify its efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions to protect human health. 

And finally…

Do you read the terms and conditions when signing up for free Wi-Fi in public places? Looks like few do.  The result: 22,000 people unwittingly agreeing to do 1,000 hours of community service including scraping chewing gum off the streets and cleaning toilets at festivals.  The joke clause was included in the terms and conditions of a Wi-Fi company in Manchester to show the lack of consumer awareness when signing up to free things. Only one beady eye subscriber noticed the terms and was rewarded with a prize!

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