On Friday, when you vote in the European elections, you’re not just voting for Irish political parties. All of the main parties in Ireland also belong to European political groupings. Fine Gael belongs to the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats (EPP-ED) – currently the largest grouping in the Parliament. Labour is a member of the second largest grouping, the Socialist Group, and Sinn Fein belongs to the European United Left-Nordic Green Left Group. As for Fianna Fail? Well, that is less clear. Fianna Fail MEPs are listed on the European Parliament website as belonging to the Union for Europe of Nations (UEN), one of the Parliament’s smallest groupings, with members in only six countries (Ireland, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Denmark and Italy). However, Brian Cowen announced at the Ard Fheis that Fianna Fail was to join the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), though there is no mention of this on the Fianna Fail website. It might also come as a surprise to UEN, who still list Fianna Fail as a member. This great interactive map from the Guardian website shows Ireland’s position relative to the rest of Europe, and you can check out results from across Europe here.
Change your party, not your lifestyle