Thomas Pringle TD
Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, said links between the rise of conspiracy theories and the far-right across Europe must be addressed.
Deputy Pringle was speaking in the Dáil yesterday (Wednesday) in relation to the European Council meeting held earlier this month.
He said one of the conclusions from the recent council meeting mentioned the importance of preventing radicalisation online.
“There are calls for illegal content online to be addressed, as well as the dissemination of terrorist online content. A point here says that the council calls for the supporting of ‘initiatives to better understand the spread of extremist ideologies’.
“This is a very important point, Minister, and links to the measures that will be taken around Covid-19 and vaccinating the population. The rise of conspiracy theories, anti-mask/anti-lockdown protests across Europe have links with the far-right and must be addressed,” he said.
Deputy Pringle addressed a number of different aspects of the council recommendations.
He said a section of the climate change discussion talked about delivering “the most cost-effective manner possible”.
Deputy Pringle said: “Earlier this morning, I was talking about the €50m that we are spending on statistical transfers of renewable energy for missing our targets. Our climate change actions will not be cost-effective for us if we keep missing our binding targets.”
He said the council also addressed Covid, and invited the commission to present a proposal on rapid antigen tests and the mutual recognition of test results.
“It is welcome to see that the council is looking for a co-ordinated approach around vaccination certificates and common frameworks. It makes sense that we should be working together on this if we want to re-open cross-border tourism.”
He added it was important for the European Council to use accessible language when presenting its conclusions and recommendations.
“Something that strikes me in how the conclusions are presented is the unnecessary language used. Does the European Council, Commission and other EU bodies produce materials in accessible format?
“We hear about civic engagement and involving citizens in our democracies, yet reports are produced in a way that would exclude people from understanding what is going on. Write in plain English and plain languages.
Deputy Pringle concluded: “Our legislative processes and policy processes can exclude people and make it seem like local, national and European level isn’t for us, the people. I know that parliamentary language will be used but there should also be concurrent, accessible information for people interested.”
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