MEP performances

NICHOLSON James UK Groupe GUE Diane Dodds portrait GUE NGL, UK

agendaNi compares the track records of Northern Ireland’s European representatives over the last term.

The non-profit website tracks how MEPs vote and speak in the European Parliament. Its data for 2009-2014 show that Diane Dodds was the most frequent speaker (and questioner) among the Northern Ireland members but had a low voting record compared to other local MEPs.

Jim Nicholson spoke and asked questions less frequently than Dodds but signed 18 motions. He also put forward 113 report amendments, mainly to change agricultural policy, compared to 87 amendments by the Sinn Féin MEPs and 64 by Diane Dodds.

Bairbre de Brún signed motions more regularly than the others from Northern Ireland, mostly on foreign policy and climate change. Her speeches were less frequent than the regional average but Martina Anderson has been more vocal.

Local MEPs rarely sign written declarations (formal petitions within the Parliament) but they regularly support campaigns by NGOs and other interest groups. Written declarations may be less effective than petitions in national legislatures as the Parliament has no power to bring forward laws. It can, though, draft reports which may then be considered by the European Commission.

De Brún drafted a law on moving pet animals within the EU, Dodds sought to relax restrictions on cod fishing and Nicholson took the CAP dairy package through the Parliament.

An MEP can also put forward an opinion when a parliamentary committee is debating a law. Nicholson published opinions on the electronic tagging of farm animals. De Brún produced an opinion on the impact of climate change on women in the developing world while Martina Anderson’s opinion focused on improving the EU’s youth strategy.

Activity in numbers

Type Nicholson Dodds de Brún Anderson SF Total
Questions 199 437 40 35 75
Motions 18 0 31 12 43
Planary speeches 175 324 33 103 136
Written declarations 0 1 1 1 2
Reported amended 113 64 38 49 87
Reports drafted 1 2 1 0 1
Opinions 2 0 1 1 2
Turnout at votes (%) 87.8 76.1 74.9 88.5 83.0

Martina Anderson succeeded Bairbre de Brún as MEP in May 2012

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