Those who voted for this man need to reflect as to whether or not he is the calibre of person to represent them in Europe.
Mick Wallace, MEP (Member of the European Parliament) for the Ireland South Constituency is no stranger to controversy. However, in the last few days, his behaviour in the Parliament has been completely unprecedented, to the extent that the parliamentary chair was forced to intervene and apologise for his antics.
You can listen to the RTÉ Drivetime program report here. At a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Security and Defence on April 15th, he claimed that the Assad regime didn’t use chemical weapons against the Syrian population, alleging that an attack in 2018 in the town of Douma was a “set-up” and that it was used by western countries as a pretext for bombing the regime. This was during a meeting with the head of the OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons).
Nathalie Loiseaux, the French chairperson of the Committee intervened at that point, apologising to the head of the OPCW, Syrian human rights groups, NGOs, doctors and the victims of the attack for Wallace’s “calling into question the word of the victims”. Saying that she was concerned about “the credibility of the European Parliament”, she stated that there was “no peace with fake news”.
At this point, Wallace completely loses his cool, shouting and roaring that “he was the only one interfered with (sic) here”. He goes on to shout questions about “freedom of speech” and being “entitled to our opinion”. Going by the exchanges, it seems that Wallace’s colleague, Clare Daly tried to intervene too before both of them were cut off by the chairperson.
Readers may recall how Daly and Wallace foolishly allowed themselves to be used for propaganda by an Iraqi militia group last month during a visit to the country. The militia group posted online a video of their visit claiming that what the two MEPs said was “what [the] European Parliament said”. However, the visit by Wallace and Daly was in a private capacity and it has been pointed out that all European Parliament committee trips and inter-parliamentary delegations inside and outside of the EU are cancelled due to the pandemic.
Nathalie Loiseaux also expressed some puzzlement in the above report that Daly had worn a hijab during the visit. Like Daly, Loiseaux describes herself as a feminist, she knows about the struggle of women in the Middle East for equality and – in a pointed remark about Daly’s choice of headgear – she says that one should support this fight rather than copying the “habits” of the “Middle Ages”.
With regard to Wallace’s tantrum, Irish politicians have been taking part in the European Parliament since its inception as a directly elected body in 1979. Never before has a representative of this country behaved in such an undignified manner and people who voted for this man need to reflect as to whether or not he is the calibre of person to represent them in Europe.